Accelerating globalization and transforming corporate culture
First move in mainland China – the next step is plan execution
You entered into a strategic alliance with Shanda Games this autumn.
Yes, I have been following the Shanda Group since I became president at SQUARE in 2001. They have great content and were quick to offer network-based games. Among the different corporate groups offering online gaming in China, I believe they have had the most consistent growth. Shanda came more into the spotlight since about the time they listed on the NASDAQ in 2004. Founded in 1999, Shanda Group has at its center Shanda Games, which is offering a wide range of game genres in China from MMORPG to casual games.
This strategic alliance in online gaming starts with the offering of FFXIV in mainland China. Regarding FFXIV, it is essential that we first gain customer satisfaction before introduction into the Chinese market, which will be based on thorough discussions with Shanda that place quality as the top priority.
Lastly, can you share your thoughts on how you see the game market in China, both in terms of current and future potential?
In China, the custom of playing games regularly has become commonplace and I think the market has potential for high growth ahead. Compared to users in Japan who began gaming on home consoles, users in China are different in that they started their gaming experience on the internet. Going forward such internet users will be the ones who create game markets. It's often mistakenly thought that this will result in lower revenues per customer when in fact they shouldn't be that much different from those in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. The fact that gamer tastes are becoming more and more sophisticated represents a challenge on one hand, but also a factor for market growth. And with an internet population said to have already exceeded 400 million, the market size is also attractive.
Compared to the console game business, piracy and the used game market are less of a concern, so I feel confident about China as the consumer market. Further, I don't see technical issues in the market as the power of PCs used in China is increasing rapidly.
In the coming years, we will start to approach markets in Asia outside of China as well. Markets in the Asian region are substantial in size. And growth is likely in, for example, Korea and Southeast Asia. As a result, we have these regions on our business horizon as well.
(Interviewer: Motoshi Isobe, Journalist.)
Interview conducted on Nov 8, 2010