A former game journalist has claimed Square Enix is concerned over Final Fantasy XVI having lackluster preorder numbers.
The claims come from Imran Khan — former Senior Editor of Game Informer and Fanbyte, Kinda Funny co-host, and Head of PR and Producer at MyDearest — who, in a recent Patreon post, discussed the announcement of Everybody 1-2 Switch, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s interview with Variety.
While discussing the potential release window for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, predicting a winter 2023 launch, Khan also talked about Final Fantasy XVI.
“I bring this up because I had heard recently that Square Enix is panicking slightly over Final Fantasy XVI preorder numbers, which are tracking behind FFXV even accounting for the lesser number of launching platforms,” he revealed.
While Final Fantasy XV launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Final Fantasy XVI is a timed exclusive to PlayStation 5.
“Granted, those are pre-order numbers and they’re usually only useful to gauge guaranteed day-one sales (versus potential day-one sales), so the actual number could blow everyone away,” Khan relents. “But with the current tracking, I wonder if they want to remind people the next chapter of Final Fantasy VII’s remake trilogy exists and give it more marketing time than they had planned.”
“The initial sales of Remake were quite good, but it slowed down faster than Square Enix seemed to expect, so I imagine they really want Rebirth to sell as well as possible. Well, of course they do, but I imagine they’re really, really hoping for an uptick in sales,” Khan emphasizes.
As Khan briefly mentions, Square Enix has had some poor results and high-profile bombs recently. GamesIndustry.biz’ Jeffrey Rousseau reported in May that Square Enix’ full-year sales had dropped 6% year-on-year. In addition, profit was down 3% year-on-year, digital entertainment revenue was down 12%, HD games were down 10%, mobile/PC browser games were down 13%, and MMOs were down 14%.
Forspoken,Marvel’s Avengers, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy all had disappointing reactions from players and lackluster sales. Even so, these shouldn’t entirely overshadow the sales of Final Fantasy VII Remake, continued sales of Nier: Automata, and Final Fantasy XIV‘s resurgence.
Further more, Square Enix sold many of its western studios to the Embracer Group last year — a deal that included IPs such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex.
The story caught the attention of YouTuber YellowFlash 2, who initially felt the comparison to XV was unjust. “If anything, I think it’s the fact that — at least in my opinion — Final Fantasy XV wasn’t that good.”
While the game had an infamous showcase on Conan, and a fair share of YouTubers denouncing it as disappointing, the game currently has “generally favorable reviews” from both critics and users on Metacritic — which YellowFlash showed.
After briefly speculating that limited platforms were the cause of the allegedly low preorder numbers, YellowFlash blames the state of the franchise.
“So, either the sales orders are down because it’s not on Xbox, or they’re down because — I mean honestly, let’s be real — the past couple of Final Fantasies haven’t been that good. I didn’t even think Final Fantasy VII Remake was that impressive — it wasn’t even a complete, full, done game, it’s a three-part game, which I’m not a fan of but… Whatever.”
YellowFlash also notes the aforementioned drop off in Final Fantasy VII sales would give Square Enix a good reason to be concerned, and anecdotally saw discussions of that game stop a few weeks after launch. After re-iterating his distaste of recent games in the series, he admitted Final Fantasy XVI had generated a lot of discussion with its more mature tone.
Regardless, YellowFlash lamented that preorders tempt consumers before more is known about a game’s quality. “Preorder numbers are a big thing in this industry, and I wish they weren’t, because this lets these people make s—tty games, and they’re always half the time broken — you preorder it to be a beta-tester at this point!”
After expressing confusion over the timed exclusivity — feeling any deal to remain exclusive was unlikely to be lucrative enough — he emphasized he would wait to see what trusted reviewers said about Final Fantasy XVI, and insisted that the brand wasn’t what it used to be.
“Square Enix has taken a lot of Ls lately. A lot of Ls. Their name doesn’t mean ‘quality’ anymore.” YellowFlash then added this was after Square’s merger with Enix in 2003.