Despite the overall weak economy, video game sales have done comparatively well.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Square Enix Chief Executive Yoichi Wada spoke on the future of the video game industry. Wada began by discussing the major role Sony and Microsoft's upcoming motion control solutions are taking at the annual Tokyo Game Show this week. Complementing Microsoft's upcoming Project Natal, Wada noted that while it is a good product and could become standard as a user interface, it is unlikely to move the industry much. “Present gaming machines already have a lot of functions: they are a network terminal, a Blu-Ray or DVD player, and a gaming machine. Compared to these three pillars, [the new] motion controls are quite limited.”
Wada also said he believes Nintendo will release their next console by 2011, and that he expects it to have functionality closer to that of the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360. He noted that it is possible that this new system may even come with a new input device.
Speaking on the state of the industry, Wada stated that despite the global recession and softer industry sales, year-on-year sales are only down 16 per cent as of this August. He points to the slowdown in sales for Nintendo games this year as the biggest contributor to the weaker sales numbers, noting that Nintendo has not released many major titles in the first half of 2009.
By comparison, Square Enix has already had a strong year. Dragon Quest IX for Nintendo DS has sold four-million copies in Japan, and Batman: Arkham Asylum (co-published by Square Enix subsidiary Eidos Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive) has also experienced strong sales. Wada expects another strong showing when Final Fantasy XIII releases in Japan later this year.