Square Enix Producer Says It’s Time To Say Goodbye To ‘Social Games’

Square Enix Producer Says It’s Time To Say Goodbye To ‘Social Games’

There’s nothing wrong with social games, m’kay? Social games are fine. But maybe it’s time to ditch that moniker. According to Takehiro Ando, a mobile game producer at Square Enix, recently did a post on Famitsu titled “Sayonara Social Games”, that might not be a bad idea.

Social games are suffering from some bad PR. “It was often the case that the emphasis wasn’t on how to make a game better, but rather, how to get money from customers,” Ando wrote. As previously noted, social games in Japan used a game system that was kind of like gambling. The backlash caused social game companies to phase out controversial /”complete gacha” elements in their games.

Thus, the word “social game” in Japan has come to mean card based games that people spend lots of money on in hopes of getting rare digital cards. That’s not a very good image.

“This year, what we are going to do is push ourselves to find various new, fun things,” explains Ando. Therefore instead of focusing on “social”, Ando points out that the goal is “Fun games that run on smartphones.”

The game producer also points out something else that’s very interesting: A recent game that has the some of the best social aspects is Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but nobody calls it a social game.

“That’s why, if a social game is interesting, I think it’s good as a game,” said Ando, adding it would be good if there was even a new way of referring to them. The example that Ando gives is that in Japan, the word “game center” had a bad image. And that’s when game companies started opening “amusement centers”, which conjured a very different and much better impression.

At the bottom of the article, Ando points out that this year, Japanese game companies will release big titles one after another. And he goes on to mention how prominent game designers are selected smartphone games as a platform.

“Because, increasingly, I’ve also had the chance to talk to many hardcore game creators about smartphone games,” Ando writes, “the age of smartphones blossoming into video games is coming at last.”

スクエニプロデューサー安藤武博氏のブログ”スマゲ★革命 シーズン2″第一回 「さようなら、ソーシャルゲーム。」 [ファミ通 via ゲーム情報!ゲームのはなし]


  • This started off on a high note, mentioning that social games were mundane and trying to extract money from consumers (I won’t say gamers).

    Then they started talking about mobile games and I died a little inside. I clicked this thinking they were denouncing shitty mobile games like All The Bravest, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Typical Square just hates the idea that their ideas could be bad.

    • MOST of their smartphone games are great, if overpriced. They’ve got Chaos Rings, FF dimensions, ports of Chrono Trigger and FF3, and a couple of comic/game hybrids. I couldn’t even find All The Bravest in the Play Store (if it was ever on Android), so it looks like they’re not stupid enough to keep flogging a dead horse (on THIS platform at least). To me, as long as they don’t take developers away from their main series, more power to them. Except, they should charge less. No games should be more expensive than GTA3 and Vice City

      • I’m not saying all of their mobile games are inherently bad, but it’s not a good thing for the consumers in the long run. They seem more interested in making ports and games designed to milk you of money, rather than focusing on the integrity of their core games, which is what put them on the map in the first place.

        I never played Chaos Rings, because the game is supposed to be too short for what you’re paying, however it seems to be the exception. FF Dimensions was a good game, however it was designed to feed you increasingly overpriced chapter packs, which I strongly feel affected its quality and integrity. I felt hesitant to progress because I was constantly wondering when I was going to be paying more to continue my journey. That’s not a good mindset for RPGs – you want to be excited to progress and find out what happens. It’s supposed to take you into another world, not murder the immersion by bringing you to a real-world-money store every few hours. Yes, you can purchase up-front, but it’s obscenely expensive for an unknown quantity.

        The rest of their games that I can remember off the top of my head are all ports or too poor to consider. Didn’t they make some other monster-fighting games that basically charges you for everything?

        If they stopped focusing on gimmicky remakes and spinoffs of their main franchises, we would be fine and they would be selling AAA games again. Instead they ignore what they do best and focus on gambling on a wierd combination of gimmicks, spinoffs and remakes it is disheartening.

    • I agree. If they just cancelled it, it’d be better than waiting for any news stories in the next three years.

    • It’s games like this that make the industry so awesome. As long as there aren’t too many, I love it when occurrences like Duke Nukem, Last Guardian and FFXIII vs happen. It adds to the experience of gaming.

      • …how?

        I’m 35 now and I’ve never seen a game that long in production ever turn out worth playing. The hype around them just isn’t worth it. By the time they come out, their play mechanics are old, their engines may be updated, but their once revolutionary gameplay is dated, DNF was a prime example of this. HL3 isn’t even confirmed to be in existence yet, so that doesn’t actually count (I know you didn’t list it but someone will…)

        I remember years back, the PHANTOM console, where people hyped and hyped and hyped, then it disappeared, a conjob, the only thing it added to the industry? Jaded gamers. Like these games will.

        • Yeah I played DNF, it was shit, however I wasn’t Jaded. I enjoyed the rumors and the hype around the game more than the game itself, which is enough. However what you’re saying about outdated engines, mechanics and gameplay isn’t necessarily true. DNF original work was completely scrapped and reworked anew for the release version we played.

          As for HL3, you cannot for one second, doubt that game. It could be released after I’m dead and I still know it’s going to be GOTY 11/10 because that’s just what Half Life does.

          I don’t mind waiting ten years for a game, because there’s over 1000 I can play within that time. That and I’m a very patient person.

          • I don’t include HL3 at all there. Valve has the foresight to improve gameplay mechanics, the engine, sound, everything, as they should as time goes by, we’ve seen them do it. Others just don’t. Again, DNF…

        • DNF is different because it didn’t sit with any one developer for the whole period of time, which is generally the problem with games that have extremely long production periods. FFXIII Versus has stayed with the same dev team over the past however long it’s been, it’s more likely to be good… I mean, it’s in the hands of Tetsuya Nomura, he’d sooner cancel a game than release it in a bad state.

  • Here’s an idea Squenix: cancel all your side projects, put together a core crack developement team, and start pumping out titles that don’t suck.

  • That’s all fine and dandy as long as it isn’t just a name change. Roses by any other name may still smell as sweet, but shovelware cash grabs by any other name will still stink.

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