Square Enix Snubbing 3DS And Vita For iOS, Android?
Only a handful of console game publishers have embraced iOS more than Square Enix, the company behind the respected Final Fantasy series. Armed with a historic back catalogue of hits and plenty of new IP, Square Enix has been quite aggressive in the smartphone and tablet markets. In fact, it routinely prices games well above the comfortable $0.99 mark that most apps fall into. In a virtual world where you can download a quality title for a dollar or even better, free-of-charge, it's not uncommon to see Square Enix games for $12.99 and higher.
That said, the publisher played a big role in the success of more traditional handhelds, specifically Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, with both platforms receiving a solid lineup of classic and original efforts that drew millions of fans to those respective machines.
Recently, however, we've noticed a trend away from those devices, as Square Enix focuses primarily on smartphones and tablets. The issue is how this will effect Nintendo's 3DS and Sony's PlayStation Vita moving forward. Had this been three or even two years ago, titles like Symphonica, Demons' Score and Chaos Rings (along with its sequel), would have found homes on Nintendo and Sony platforms. Instead, these new intellectual properties made their way to iOS and Android, with no signs of the company porting its games outside the mobile space.
Meanwhile, past exclusives lost exclusivity. Consider the most recent release of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, the 3DS musical effort that debuted in July. We can certainly debate Square Enix's decision to lock away much of the soundtrack behind in-app purchasing, as opposed to having the majority of songs available from the start on 3DS, but it's quite surprising to see the game ported so quickly.
This, of course, is but one example. Square Enix didn't hesitate to bring the PSP favorite, Final Fantasy Tactics, to iPhone and iPad, while the re-imagined Final Fantasy III, once exclusive to DS, made a big impact on iOS and Android, with Final Fantasy IV not far behind. Even DS RPG The World Ends With You is currently available on the App Store, with the HD version sold for the same price ($19.99) as the DS edition. Then we have Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, the Xbox 360 and PS3 adventure, now downloadable to Apple gadgets.
It's getting to a point where Square Enix's iOS and to a lesser extent, Android libraries look better than what's available and upcoming on 3DS and Vita, and nothing appears to be safe. It wouldn't surprise us to see Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep go to iPad. Sure, Bravely Default: Flying Fairy debuted on 3DS in Japan to critical acclaim. Square Enix hasn't abandoned gaming systems completely. It would appear, at least for now, though, that the publisher has put more resources into mobile. Taking that into account, it remains to be seen whether its weak 3DS/Vita support will eventually stunt the growth of those respective handhelds.