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The creators of FINAL FANTASY warn about pandemic hits to game development

Head of the Japanese game group behind the hit Final Fantasy The series warns that Covid-19 could create a “stop time” in the production of new titles and undermine the revitalization of the industry due to the global blockade.

Yosuke Matsuda, CEO of Square Enix, told the Financial Times in an interview. The blockade of the coronavirus has increased the $ 145 billion sector where people spend more time at home, while social distance restrictions have hit the new game development pipeline.

“It also has a significant impact on the production side. It will resonate in the future. What we are currently selling may have provided some positives, but on the negatives, production. Time has stopped in terms of. We couldn’t develop anything. That will have an impact, “said Matsuda, whose annual sales are $ 2.5 billion.

The candid evaluation by one of Japan’s top game executives is different from the rosy paintings so far by people from other major industries. This suggests that the current game release schedule, which focuses on the hyped November launch of Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, may be at stake.

Mr. Matsuda’s comments are submitted as shares of Square Enix. Dragon quest Franchise — Up 68% from a low hit in mid-March in the worst turmoil of the coronavirus market.

Many people are on the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 5. This represents the “console war” reprise that fought Microsoft in recent years © via Reuters

Securities companies such as Mizuho, ​​Daiwa, and SMBC Nikko Securities have raised their stock price targets after increasing digital sales of games. FINAL FANTASY VII Remake — First quarter operating income more than tripled.

Square Enix’s specialty of developing blockbuster games has much in common with filmmaking, requiring close interaction between motion capture and voice actors in the studio. Artists and programmers also need to work on sophisticated machines that cannot be easily taken home.

Executives at a major game company have not yet approved a specific postponement of the production schedule. However, Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said the Japanese group is paying attention to potential delays, and game developers are more productive when working under “various constraints.” He pointed out that it could decline.

Square Enix on Friday Marvel Avengers The new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games will be postponed to an unspecified date next year.

Many are on the launch of two platforms. This represents the Ripley of the “console war” that fought between pairs in the past, creating scrambles to ensure the best exclusive content.

Analyst NewZoo says global gaming industry revenues, including significant contributions to smartphone-based titles, will increase by more than 9% this year to $ 159 billion with the Covid-19 lockdown and the launch of a new console. I’m predicting.

However, Matsuda said the pandemic casts uncertainty on the prospects for the important Christmas season, and gamers are more likely to buy new consoles online as physical queues become more difficult. ..

“Customers are less likely to go to the store and buy online. We still don’t know how much it will affect us,” Matsuda said.

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