Doom and gloom was the talk of many industry analysts in 2012 and heading into the year of 2013, as many people were cursing gaming with the end of living room consoles. The Wii U was struggling in its first few months and the other two had yet to unveil or announce new consoles. Even with that, it didn’t take long for the tides and tones to change.
Sony and Microsoft launched the PS4 and Xbox One, respectively, in November 2013 and the gaming industry has been thriving ever since. The negative, damning voices have vanished and optimism is ripe throughout the industry as both the PS4 and Xbox One are smashing precedents previously set by predecessors of years past.
“What’s been amazing is the rate at which Gen 8 (PS4 and Xbox One) has picked up. I think it’s gone ahead of anyone’s expectations. If you dust off market reports from three years ago, [analysts] would be embarrassed about how wrong they were on both devices. It’s been an amazing start,” Phil Rogers, Square Enix CEO of the Americas and Europe, told atombash.com.
This generation has had an amazing start for the sales of both consoles and now we are finally getting into a sweet spot with the games arriving for each system. Technology is pushing technology and the software we are seeing is beginning to astound; just ask players of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Batman Arkham Knight.
The vast majority of Square Enix’s upcoming games are generation eight exclusives, with an exception being Life is Strange, which launched in January of this year and is a cross-generation title. From the outside looking in, Square has moved off of generation seven almost completely, but Rogers said there was never any deliberateness to that happening.
“I think last-gen for us, we have naturally moved off, but I don’t think we’ve ever made a [purposeful] decision to not support it. We just decided to take a more [purposeful approach] in moving forward with Gen 8,” Rogers said.
The gaming industry certainly had a large amount of swag and confidence at E3 2015. The usual amount of press conferences we see typically checks in at five, but this year’s saw a total of seven briefings, or eight if you count the PC event. Publishers are excited about what they have coming up and so are gamers.
As you look into this fall and what’s coming during 2016, it seems as though gaming is stepping into a major groove with development and releasing software. Square Enix is among the companies that are taking advantage of the powerful, new hardware and Rogers described how the firm feels about these new consoles.
“We are really most excited about Gen 8 and really hitting that sort of stride, and I think people were feeling that [at E3]. The technology is there, the pipeline, the creativity; it’s all good for us. I think there’s a confidence [in the industry] and business needs confidence and creativity needs confidence,” Rogers said.
Digital has been a new frontier for Square Enix and they are embracing it as the model they are using for the next installment of Hitman. It’ll be very interesting to see how the game evolves and people become attached to it, especially when you consider the game will be only available digitally.
“Digital is such a new paradigm for us in terms of how we connect to consumers and how we create and deliver content, so I’ve been really pleased with how digital adoption and acceptance has gone ahead as planned. I think consumer [support], in terms of store, consumption and time spent on the machine, has been really encouraging,” Rogers said.
People who have adopted the PS4 and Xbox One have shown extraordinary passion and excitement for them, not that any previous generation of players didn’t. It’s a very unique time for gaming with a slew of different business models for companies to choose from. Different audiences can be found inside of each model, creating more options for developers and publishers.
“I think this early wave of gamers are really going to blaze an incredible path for people. It really feels like these machines are truly delivering. I think for us, digital has had a really encouraging start,” Rogers said.
Square Enix’s big foray into the digital only realm of gaming will begin this December with Hitman. The game will be arriving digitally on PS4, Xbox One and Steam Dec. 8.