Square-Enix recently announced that they had lost about 5.7 billion yen over nine months in 2012. According to a statement issued by the company, this is “primarily due to the increasingly difficult condition of the world-wide console game market.” Analysts have long theorized that the console market had become too big for its own good, requiring massive AAA blockbusters on a yearly basis just to stay in business, but Square-Enix is the first company to come right out and say it. This is despite very successful launches of Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, and a publishing deal for Black Ops 2 in Japan. That’s three well-received games and the company is still down.
On the flip side, Square-Enix had made a boatload of money in the mobile market. Browser games and mobile games developed by Square have become huge hits. “newly released game titles, such as 'Kaku-San-Sei Million Arthur,' a social networking game released in April, 2012 serving more than 1 million registered users, have been expanding at a satisfactory pace. Registered users of Final Fantasy Artniks,' a social networking game released in November, 2012 for Gree, exceeded 1 million at the end of December, 2012.”
So the next time you ask yourself why all the big publishers are fleeing to the mobile market, that is why. One mediocre hit can spell the death of a company in the console markets, while several simple casual hits can bring in a fortune.