Square Enix engaged in "exploration" of social games business

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Japanese mega-publisher Square Enix is best known for sprawling, story-filled single-player RPGs like those in the Final Fantasy series. So it's a bit surprising that the company is reportedly looking into the relatively confined, story-free area of social games as a way to expand.

"There's a lot of exploration that we're doing in terms of social media, and social games," Square Enix new U.S. president and CEO Mike Fischer told Gamasutra in a recent interview. Without going into details on specific projects, Fischer seemed very bullish on the new opportunities offered by social and online gaming. "You talk to the video game industry, and this is all upside," he said. "You can now add DLC revenue to our retail sales, we can now bring online subscriptions into play, we can make new money from social networking. It's such a positive, optimistic view."

Fischer is even optimistic that Square Enix's experience with epic RPGs might actually help the company in the more self-contained social gaming arena. "There's a storytelling component that is continuing to become more important [in social games] over time," Fischer said. "I think that gives us a very strategic advantage." Fischer also noted that the company has experience catering to female players through games like Final Fantasy. "If you look at the people that are playing Facebook games or iPhone games, you see more of the 50-50 gender mix," he said. "I think that speaks to the opportunity to grow our audience."
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