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Square Enix president steps down following terrible year for the company

Square Enix president steps down following terrible year for the company

March 26, 2013 | By Mike Rose

March 26, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

As Square Enix revises its full fiscal year forecasts, now predicting a swing to losses from the previously estimated profits, the company's president Yoichi Wada has resigned.

The Japanese publisher admitted last month that it is "struggling" to recover from the huge losses that it posted earlier in the current fiscal year, due in part of slow sales of Sleeping Dogs.

Now, where Square Enix had previously forecast profits of 3.5 billion yen ($37.1 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, it is now estimating "extraordinary loss" of 13.0 billion yen ($137.9 million), a change of 16.5 billion yen ($175.1 million).

This was due to the company's digital entertainment division seeing "substantially" slower results in major console games than it had predicted. Its arcade machine business was also sluggish.

As a result, Square Enix is now implementing major reform and restructuring within the company, while taking a good hard look at its business models. These restructuring efforts will cost the company around 10 billion yen ($106.1 million), hence the switch from profits to losses for this fiscal year.

This includes disposal of content, which the company says will cost it 4 billion yen ($42.4 million), and the evaluation of all other content (another 4 billion yen).

Yoichi Wada stepping down as president is just one part of this restructuring effort. Wada originally joined Square at the start of 2000, and quickly rose up the ranks to become president and CEO by the end of the year.

The company noted that Yosuke Matsuda, previously representative director, will now take up the president role at Square Enix. However, a general meeting of shareholders will be held in late June to determine exactly who will take up each role fully.

Update: Square Enix has released extra information regarding its forecasted end-of-year results, including predictions of sales figures for its console titles.

The company estimated that it will have sold approximately 1.75 million copies of Sleeping Dogs worldwide for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013.

Meanwhile, it is estimated to have sold 3.4 million copies of Tomb Raider, and 3.6 million units of Hitman: Absolution. It called these figures "weak sales," adding that "despite the high critical acclaim, [each has] failed to meet each target."

"In particular, NA sales force was ineffective," the company continued, "ending up with two-thirds of number of units sold in Europe. Moreover, price pressure was strong, which forced spending additional channel costs such as price protection."

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