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Square Enix intends “to be aggressive in applying AI” this year

Those New Year’s letters just don’t get any better
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The traditional New Year’s letters from Square Enix have been subject to controversy in the last two years due to former president Yosuke Matsuda’s infatuation with blockchain technology and NFTs and his willingness to highlight the company’s efforts in that direction in these messages. When Takashi Kiryu replaced him as Square Enix president in the summer of 2023, people hoped for some directional changes, but the new chief’s first New Year’s letter is not exactly encouraging – though for different reasons.

“I believe that generative AI has the potential not only to reshape what we create, but also to fundamentally change the processes by which we create, including programming,” he wrote after reviewing some of 2023s biggest tech trends and developments. Describing what Square Enix will focus on in 2024, he stated: “We also intend to be aggressive in applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions.”

Square Enix logo.

The New Year’s letter for 2024 from Square Enix was slightly better than its two predecessors.

“In the short term, our goal will be to enhance our development productivity and achieve greater sophistication in our marketing efforts. In the longer term, we hope to leverage those technologies to create new forms of content for consumers, as we believe that technological innovation represents business opportunities,” Takashi Kiryu continued.

The industry already suffered devastating job losses last year, which hit employees in marketing and PR roles the hardest, so the prospect of AI-generated marketing is not great in any way.

AI might have taken over the spotlight in this year’s presidential message, but fear not about losing your annual game of techbro buzzword bingo. Naturally, the dreaded blockchain wasn’t entirely left out of the equation: “In terms of new business domains, we previously identified three focus investment fields, namely blockchain entertainment/Web 3.0, AI, and the cloud. Last year we redefined our overarching mission and goals for these three fields. We are currently working to modify our organizational structure and optimize our resource allocations to support these efforts.”

On the bright side, we didn’t get entire paragraphs about how NFTs will definitely revolutionize gaming this time around. Small victories, eh?

While the president did not mention any specifics about this year’s release plans – he didn’t mention a single Square Enix franchise by name, in fact – he stated that the company was “working not only to vet our existing pipeline of titles under development, but also to put the capabilities in place to ensure that development efforts that have yet to begin result in products and services that meet the expectations of our customers more than ever before. Specifically, we have begun optimizing our resource allocation across our entire development chain in order to accelerate an effort that was already underway to strengthen our internal development capabilities. We are also expanding knowledge sharing with the goal of standardizing our processes and enhancing our efficiency.”

The emphasis on meeting customer expectations may be a reaction to the streak of duds that were released towards the end of Yosuke Matsuda’s aegis. Takashi Kiryu also mentioned that Square Enix was working “to promote the shift to digital” products and was looking to deliver more of its rich back catalog to users to expand its fan base – in effect confirming that even more remakes of older titles are definitely being prepared.