Globalization is a goal at the forefront for many companies in the game industry, but publishers must not make it a completely overriding concern, says Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada. Rather, the industry should strive to address different lifestyles and cultures.
"Sometimes 'global' is used to describe all aspects of a business. I Think this leads to failure," Wada said in a Gamasutra-attended keynote at the Montreal International Game Summit today.
Certain areas of a publisher's business, like its market-specific business platform, must be dealt with locally, while its larger corporate infrastructure is addressed globally -- but Wada notes intellectual property concerns cannot fully be addressed in either of those areas.
"What is important here is that we have all elements able to cope with global issues, taking into account global diversities," Wada explained. "When we talk about the global audience, I don't think it exists. There is no land called 'global.'"
"But is it local? No, it's not that either," he said. "If I live in Tokyo, and you live in New York, and you are 50 years of age, you...might have very similar hobbies, or you might have totally different hobbies."
"It's not because of the country, or because of age. Rather, lifestyles have to be taken into account to consider the nature of our customers. We talk about different areas, but we have to know about different cultures."
To help facilitate that goal, Square Enix has worked to distribute its development studios, particularly after its recent acquisition of Eidos. "This is why our production centers are scattered all over the world, and this is going to be our strength," the CEO said.
Wada doesn't see individual games ever having the simultaneous global ubiquity of Hollywood films. "In many countries, 50 to 70 percent of movies are Hollywood movies," he pointed out. There are longstanding historical reasons that have led Hollywood to that point, "but that is very diffcult to reproduce."
"Is it going to happen in a different sector? I do not think so," he added. "Lifestyle and taste are the important dimensions to cope with customers."