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Square Enix's Fischer: Too Much Social Hype, But The Industry Is Growing Fast

Square Enix's Fischer: Too Much Social Hype, But The Industry Is Growing Fast

July 22, 2011 | By Staff

In a new Gamasutra feature interview, Square Enix U.S. president and CEO Mike Fischer tells Gamasutra that he sees amazing growth in the industry -- but his company won't be bandwagon-jumping.

"I grew up a gamer, my entire career is in the games industry, so even though right now things like social gaming is already hot, and it's attracting a lot of VC attention, I'm not confident that a lot of that interest will still be there in a number of years as some other category becomes hot down the road," said Fischer.

He feels his experience and Square Enix's "passion" for games is more important than jumping on bandwagons.

"I'm also lucky because we do have an organization really, from top to bottom, that's passionate about games, and that includes myself," he said. "That gives me confidence in a long term success as well as just the fact that the trends that right now happen to be hot in the gaming area."

Of course, microtransactions are currently gaining tremendous amounts of steam. And while alternate payment methods do interest him, he continued: "I don't believe that there's going to be any one single dominant model in the years ahead. I think if there's one thing that I see now, it's a diversification, and we're a big enough company so that we can't put all of our bets all on one business model if we wanted to, anyway.

"And for us, it's not about picking winners in the different platforms, it's about having great IP and fitting that to the best platform for it. We want all of the platforms to succeed."

This diversification excites him, and is part of why he's working with Ankama Studio to bring MMO Wakfu to the U.S. "In the case of games, what this transition is bringing, is a whole new audience, and more ways to play," he said.

"People panicked when Super Nintendo took over from NES. Our short memory is really remarkable, and I see this. Certainly this is a tumultuous time, but unlike some of the other console transitions that we've had in the past, some of the changes in our industry, this is the first time I can recall where we're talking about our audience significantly growing."

He ended on a high note: "I'm probably more optimistic now than I have been in my last twenty years in the games business."

The full interview goes into the strategies that Fischer is using to build out the ambitions of the U.S. office of the company, which has significant development studios managed by its Japanese and European branches. You can read it now on Gamasutra.

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