We got some insight into two Japanese companies’ short-term plans.
Yosuke Matsuda, the CEO of Square Enix, posted a lengthy New Year’s letter, which we will quote: „From a game development perspective as well, we will strive to create gaming experiences only possible in the cloud, meaning developing cloud-native or cloud-centric games. For cloud streaming to enjoy mass adoption, there will need to be innovation not only in terms of distribution but also in terms of gaming experiences. We believe that new gaming experiences that would have been impossible on traditional game consoles will be a major driver of cloud gaming adoption. Our efforts to develop cloud-native or cloud-centric titles are already underway, and we will strive to create new gaming experiences. We naturally face a mountain of challenges, including technological hurdles that must be overcome and issues with telecommunications costs. However, we do not doubt that cloud gaming will represent a major trend over the next five years as we enter the age of 5G and that our strategies for flexibly responding to that trend will be key. We intend to stay on top of new developments and leverage cloud gaming to drive new growth,” Matsuda wrote.
Meanwhile, the other company whose plans were somewhat revealed would be Nintendo. Shuntaro Furukawa, the president of the big N, told Nikkei that he believes cloud gaming will need even as much as a decade to go mainstream: „It’s possible that cloud gaming could capture the public’s interest in 10 years from now, however at this point, I do not think that dedicated hardware will go away. It’s a long way off before we’ll know the outcome. With that said, it would be pointless to solely focus on methods of play that can only be had on dedicated hardware. Once your audience starts saying they can play on other consoles or smartphones instead, you’re finished.
Something I do not want the public to misunderstand is that we are not turning our backs on new technologies – we are constantly researching and developing. Our hardware development teams evaluate all kinds of new technologies available thus far and consult with our software developers. If they determine that technology can be used with a game, then they will utilize it. We will not be changing this fundamental approach moving forward.
As for AR (augmented reality), it is one of the many aspects we are interested in. We are currently researching what interesting ways we can utilize it.”
Matsuda also talked about AR, and even XR (extended reality, pretty much a combination of AR and VR): „Also, as the world looks forward to the arrival of new devices like AR glasses, we are continuing our R&D efforts into technologies such as XR. We believe that we will be able to start unveiling the achievements of such efforts in some projects as early as this year.” He also went into the blockchain, too: „Meanwhile, games using blockchain are no longer in their infancy and are gradually coming to represent a more significant presence. Rather than treating blockchain gaming as an opportunity for speculative investment, we believe establishing whether it is capable of bringing something new to our customers’ gaming experiences will be the key to growth.” Blockchain games are decentralized, and their assets are distributed between the players. These games either use a new, custom token, or use an already existing one (like Ether with Ethereum, and you can think towards Bitcoin by this point).
So Square Enix is going experimental, while Nintendo tries to be a voice of reason.