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Why Nintendo Needs Square Enix on Board for the NX

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There is no doubt that Nintendo has struggled in recent years partly due to their frequent lack of third party support. With the next Nintendo console seemingly on the horizon and the flailing Wii U floating down the river, it bears repeating that Nintendo desperately needs the support of certain third parties in order to make the NX a success. Square Enix, publisher of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and a veritable treasure trove of modern and classic RPGs, is one of the most important third party developers that Nintendo needs to woo back into their good graces in order to successfully launch the NX. In order to accommodate such a feat, each company should realize what they have to gain from each other.   

Nintendo’s Needs

With Dragon Quest XI being considered for the NX and Cloud Strife being present as DLC in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, a new era of positivity and renewed interest has begun between the two companies. There are no guarantees, however, that Square Enix will release any of its other big budget AAA titles on the NX. With Final Fantasy XV and the Final Fantasy VII Remake on the horizon, as well as the continuation of their wildly popular MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, the need for Square Enix to port its popular franchises to the NX is palpable. Without Square Enix’s own Dragon Quest games (which are very popular in Japan) and lesser titles published by them, such as Deus Ex and Just Cause (which are popular in the West), a significant portion of the NX’s possible market-share is reduced and its propensity to be an all-in-one console for some gamers is severely hampered.

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Final Fantasy XV could land on the NX if the two companies decide to cooperate.

 

Because Nintendo needs as many good third party developers and publishers to make games for the NX as possible to avoid long release droughts (while also giving variety to a gaming landscape often dominated by Mario and Co.), the cooperation of a company like Square Enix is warranted.  Their support would establish the NX as a viable one-console solution, would provide the necessary push out of the gate to attract other third party developers, and would give Nintendo the variety needed to differentiate themselves from the PS4 and Xbox One. Without a major developer like Square Enix on board, Nintendo’s ability to serve as the one console for a segment of gamers is heavily diminished. In short, Nintendo needs Square’s IPs to push as many consoles as possible; as evidenced by the Wii U, even the most critically acclaimed games are incapable of single-handedly selling consoles to a skeptical and saturated market.

Square Enix’s Needs

There are certain conditions that the NX needs to meet before ports or reworks of Square Enix games can be conceptualized. A sufficient online system is chief among those concerns. With Square Enix’s recent focus on its MMO, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, and the chance that it may come to the NX, the need for an easy to use and streamlined online interface has never been more apparent. The My Nintendo account system is already a step in the right direction, but Square Enix should see more from Nintendo before committing one of their largest titles to a nascent online system. Square Enix’s relative independence when it comes to Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward’s online system would be a boon for Nintendo. It would eliminate the need for a dramatic shake-up of their online architecture and would mean that the majority of changes would involve software and user accounts instead of hardware issues that would cost Nintendo precious time and financial resources. 

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Games like the Final Fantasy VII Remake will need the extra power that the NX will hopefully provide.

 

The NX also needs to be powerful enough to run Square Enix’s modern games at or above the Xbox One’s capability. With the Xbox One clearly the bottleneck of Square Enix’s future multi-platform games, there needs to be, at the least, that same level of performance before they should commit to any sort of deal with Nintendo. If the NX is more powerful than the PS4 and Xbox One and has jumped forward a generation, then they are in luck. The NX could be the platform in which they can demonstrate definitive editions (as far as graphics are concerned) of their modern games. With sufficient power also comes the understanding that Nintendo needs to provide a system architecture (such as x86) which is easy to understand and easy to port to. Without either of these, ports of games from either the Final Fantasy series or Square Enix’s other titles would most likely never develop and Nintendo will lose out on a chance for a huge third party developer to produce content for their console.

What They Have to Gain

Both companies have an enormous amount to gain from this deal if it happens. Nintendo would receive a much needed boost in third party support while Square Enix would receive a new platform that would increase the range of their product and the type of households that their games can reach. While Nintendo consoles are often perceived as appealing only to children or rabidly nostalgic fans of Nintendo’s past, an opportunity could emerge, depending on price, where households normally not saturated by a PS4 or Xbox One could have a console capable of playing more family-friendly games as well as the mature experiences most gamers want. It would provide an “E” rated game for the children in the household, “Teen” and “Mature” rated gaming experiences for siblings, and a myriad of games for the parents of children who play on the NX. The Nintendo NX could become a gaming console capable of appealing to every sort of gamer in a household.

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Given the size of Square Enix’s MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, a well-equipped online architecture would be a must.

 

If the Nintendo NX is more powerful than the PS4, then there is no greater company that can provide a graphically-intensive gaming experience that showcases the console’s graphical chops than Square Enix. After all, this was the same company that was able to get Rise of the Tomb Raider, a modern AAA title, running on the Xbox 360, a decade-old console with 512MB of VRAM. Given how often Nintendo struggles to create games that push the current console to its limit, the assistance of a company with decades of experience in heavily-demanding visual arts would be helpful to Nintendo’s fledgling console. While the Wii and Wii U had only one or two titles which pushed the consoles to their fullest potential, the NX could possibly have three graphically-intensive games (Final Fantasy XV, the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward) well within the release window of the console.

A Perfect Partnership

Nintendo and Square Enix would both profit from a strong relationship beginning with the NX. While Nintendo struggles with producing capable online experiences and boundary-pushing visual fidelity, Square Enix succeeds; while Square Enix struggles with saturation in family-oriented, one-console homes, Nintendo succeeds. Each company has much to gain and much less to lose. If Nintendo can provide Square Enix with a well-equipped console complete with an excellent online system, a family-friendly demeanor, and a well-understood system architecture, then Square Enix can provide them, in turn, with brilliant, visually demanding games and a newly repaired reputation among AAA-focused gamers.

The two companies have a bright future ahead of them if the path of cooperation is one that they indeed take. One only need remember the last time that Square Enix (then Square) and Nintendo cooperated fully, the SNES era, to see how this partnership could positively impact both companies and help the NX succeed. With Square Enix’s support right out of the gate, the NX could be a smashing success capable of challenging Microsoft’s position as the second most popular console manufacturer, while also contesting Sony’s control of the home console market within the space of a console generation. With Square Enix on their side, Nintendo’s NX may well prove to be a success and not just the final fantasy of Nintendo’s console manufacturing days.

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Ah, nostalgia!

Although a gamer since before I can remember, there is not a better definition of me than these three words: Christian, moderate, and learner. I am steadfast in my Faith, my Beliefs, and in my Opinions, but I am always willing to hear the other side of the discussion. I love Nintendo, History, and the NBA. Currently a PhD Student at Liberty University.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. ex fact0r

    March 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    A strong partnership with Square-Enix alone will not make the NX “challenge Microsoft’s position as the second most popular console manufacturer, while also contesting Sony’s control of the home console market”. I agree that Nintendo should be very aggressive in attaining 3rd party support, but one 3rd party relationship isn’t going to change much. Having Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, and Deus Ex on the NX would be great, but they’re going to be on every other console as well, meaning it won’t make a dent in either Microsoft’s or Sony’s leads. Nintendo needs to get in the good graces of EVERY SINGLE major 3rd party developer if they truly do intend on competing with the big dogs. Nintendo has a lot of wounds to mend, and a lot of relationships to rebuild.

    • Izsak Barnette

      March 27, 2016 at 2:46 am

      Well, Nintendo has rebounded before and the graces of third-parties, which are ultimately companies, are easily repaired with a console that is successful from both a financial and marketing perspective. If Nintendo can make the NX successful, then those third parties will return without a complaint. Square needs to be motivated to join Nintendo because of its specific history with Nintendo and all of the problems that the companies have had since Final Fantasy went to the PlayStation with FFVII.

      Thanks for reading the article and your input!

    • Izsak “Khane” Barnette

      March 27, 2016 at 2:50 am

      Well, Nintendo has rebounded before and the graces of third-parties, which are ultimately companies, are easily repaired with a console that is successful from both a financial and marketing perspective. If Nintendo can make the NX successful, then those third parties will return without a complaint. Square needs to be motivated to join Nintendo because of its specific history with Nintendo and all of the problems that the companies have had since Final Fantasy went to the PlayStation with FFVII.

      Thanks for reading the article and your input!

      • ex fact0r

        March 27, 2016 at 3:11 am

        I think that’s a drastic oversimplification of the situation. 3rd parties will not return to the console if Nintendo makes an outlandish controller like the Wii U’s gamepad. 3rd parties will not return if Nintendo uses an architecture that’s vastly different than that of the PC/PS4/Xbox. Why? because its not worth it for EA/Ubisoft/Square/Activision/etc. to spend millions to have teams that focus specifically on Nintendo development. Nintendo’s drive to make their consoles “unique” has hurt them much more than its helped. 3rd parties don’t need Nintendo, Nintendo needs them, and they need to realize that.

        The only motivation a 3rd party needs is ease of access. If games are easily ported to the NX, then 3rd parties will be glad to support the system. Unfortunately, Nintendo has a long history of making their consoles a nightmare to work on for 3rd party devs. Will that change? Maybe. But if the recent leaks of what the NX’s controller are even close to real… well… Nintendo will probably have another Wii U on their hands.

        • Cyber Volt

          April 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm

          Nintendo needs as many third parties as they can get, both western and japanese. But the thing here is that western games such as CoD and EA games have Always sold poorly on the Nintendo systems.
          I wonder if that is really going to change with the NX.

      • Cyber Volt

        April 1, 2016 at 5:44 pm

        Awesome article, currentl I’am making a Youtube series how Nintendo, Square Enix and 2 other third parties made some of the great video game systems of all time. Would be great if Big N and SE teamed up to make NX great.

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