It certainly seems that subscription services are the in-thing nowadays. Just days after Microsoft expanded Xbox Game Pass to PC and Ubisoft announced their own subscription service for PC, another company has expressed an interest in creating one for themselves: Square Enix.
As pat of an interview with GamesIndustry, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said that while they continue to support other services like Game Pass — mostly with their western-developed titles like Life Is Strange, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and the more recent Tomb Raider games — they are also looking at the viability of their own subscription program:
We are exploring at present both possibilities. And we do already provide games for Microsoft's Game Pass. But at the end of the day, the direction that we're thinking about is having a channel of our own. But at the same time that would require significant preparations and investment. We'd also have to consider whether or not it will work well solely including our own catalogue titles. At present, as I say, we are offering our games on multiple subscription services, including Microsoft's. But eventually I do think that we need to get to the point where we have enough insight that we can build our own service.It's hard to tell how a Square Enix pass might do. They certainly have a wealth of titles in their history they can lean on and are one of the few publishers to provide AAA titles from both the east and west. However, these subscription services also rely on keeping up with what's (relatively) current, and it's probably fair to say they don't come close to the regular AAA output of Ubisoft, or even have a regular licensing draw that EA has with their yearly sports titles. Plus, unlike those two, Square Enix's releases have a tendency to miss certain platforms. Is a Nintendo Switch owner going to bother when they're missing out on Square Enix's biggest releases — including their biggest Japanese games like Kingdom Hearts III and even the fully-fledged version of Final Fantasy XV — and are Xbox One players going to buy in when they miss a lot of the Japanese titles that made Square Enix what they are today?