Japanese gaming giant Square Enix has closed their office in India and laid off all six employees it had here, reports MCVIndia.
The company had selected 10 Indian studios it wanted to work with on games after organising a contest. Most of these studios were dropped later on and the first game made by an Indian developer and published by Square Enix, was expected to come out in 2014. At least that’s what the company told Medianama when we spoke to Square Enix Chairman Yoichi Wada in November last year.
This report however claims that none of the games were given the go-ahead by the company. It is rumoured that, Square Enix will close down similar venture it has in Latin America as well, and multiple greenlit projects will be cancelled.
According to MCV, the shut down was partly due to the frequent changes in management. It is also worth noting that 2013 was disastrous year for the company financially and it seems to have bounced back this year only due to the success of its traditional JRPG games such as Final Fantasy. The company had recently announced that it will focus more on such games instead of western-oriented AAA titles. It is possible that the company is following the same policy on mobile too, with a focus on traditional markets such as Japan and the west where APRUs are high, rather than emerging markets.
How it all began: The idea of setting up offices in developing markets to make Square Enix a bigger publisher of mobile games, was that of Enix founder Yasuhiro Fukushima, who is now only an honorary chairman at Square Enix. The offices in India worked with local developers with an aim to publish their games, instead of setting up a whole studio to create localised games. This was supposed to be a long-term project with time frames of five to ten years thrown around.
The emerging markets business was later handed over to Wada, who visited India last November, when Square Enix sponsored the Nasscom Game Developer Conference (NGDC). During that visit he spoke at length with multiple publications on the company’s intent to release localised free to play games.
Continuing trend: Square Enix might be the only big player to have bailed on India entirely, as Gameloft had also shut down its Hyderabad studios. According to our sources even EA and Disney have scaled down their operations here over the past two years. A few companies have setup funds and incubators for game developers and that seems to be the only help indie game developers will get as of now in India.
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