Shanghai-based MMO operator Shanda Games and Square Enix announced a partnership to bring Final Fantasy XIV
to China -- the RPG franchise's first commercial release in the region.
Japanese publisher Square Enix says globalization is one of its key initiatives, as it maintains a network developing and offering games in Japan, North America, and Europe. It believes this deal with Shanda will strengthen its global business development with a focus on China's rapidly growing market.
Shanda adds that its in-house development team is qualified to assist in localizing Final Fantasy XIV
to the China market, and that its sales, marketing capabilities, and game operation platform will provide access to "a broad audience of Chinese gamers."
This agreement follows a similar partnership
Shanda announced last week with Beautiful Game, a subsidiary of Square Enix Europe, to bring a new online entry from the Championship Manager
soccer management sim series to China. Shanda is working with Beautiful Game's Eidos Shanghai studio on the project.
Shanda plans to operate China's edition of Final Fantasy XIV
separate from Square Enix's servers for Japan, North America, and Europe. The MMORPG will launch for PCs at the end of this month in all other markets (March 2011 for PS3), but Shanda intends to announce its Chinese launch plans at a later date.
Though consumers will need to purchase Final Fantasy XIV
and sign up for monthly subscription fees to play the game in other regions, neither Shanda or Square Enix have disclosed whether they'll keep this business model for the Chinese market, where free-to-play and time-based online business models are the norm.
"The media entertainment markets are increasingly becoming more and more global in nature," says Square Enix president Yoichi Wada. "Under this environment, we are speeding up our globalization strategy aimed at transforming our Group into a truly world-class enterprise."
Wada adds, "Through this partnership with Shanda Games, a company with great success in online game operations in China, we are taking an important step in increasing the reach of high quality content from the Square Enix Group to even more customers around the world."