“In the context of the rapidly changing business environment surrounding the entertainment industry, the proposed change aims to reshape the management team with the aim of embracing ever-changing technological innovations and maximizing the creativity of the company’s group to be even better provide entertainment to its customers around the world“justifies the communicated of the company as if to say as professionally as possible that the gentleman is past his prime.
Takashi Kiryu, a young dragon in power
Unknown to the public, the name proposed to replace Yosuke Matsuda is that of Takashi Kiryu, a 47-year-old youth who has only joined the organization since June 2020. Recruited to the position of general manager of planning, he will be promoted to general manager of business strategy in April 2021, and then appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Chinese subsidiary in January 2022. In the same year, Takashi Kiryu was propelled among the members of the board Board of Directors of Square Enix. On the leaders presentation page, he appears just below Yosuke Matsuda and just above a certain Yoshinori Kitase, whom players necessarily know much better. Prior to joining Square Enix, Takashi Kiryu was CEO of the multinational communications company Dentsu.
Matsuda: an era of growth that has reached its limits?
Under the presidency of Yosuke Matsuda, 60 years old on April 27, Square Enix has grown from 3,700 to 5,700 employees and achieved the best financial results in its history, in particular due to the release of major successes such as Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XV, Dragon Quest XI, NieR Automata, Kingdom Hearts III, and Final Fantasy VII Remake, not to mention a cohort of mobile games that still make big bucks.
However, how can we not take the sale of Eidos/Crystal Dynamics studios and their 50 associated licenses (including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Legacy of Kain) as an admission of failure, heritage proudly acquired by the previous CEO in 2009 Yoichi Wada? A $300 million sale that seems like the deal of the century for Embracer given the value of the Tomb Raider franchise alone and adds to another disappointment in Western studio management, namely the separation with IO Interactive, who has since been living his best life with the success of Hitman: World of Assassination and its two major projects in production (Project 007 and Project Fantasy).
The latest disappointment for the CEO, the failure of Luminous Productions with a Forspoken missing its technological gamble and accelerating the subsidiary’s absorption while it had to play the technological scouts and make the link between the knowledge of Japanese and Western production muscles. And if Yosuke Matsuda had already lost his capital sympathy in the eyes of the players because of his obsession with NFTs and the blockchain, it must be assumed that the CEO’s recent choices have not convinced Square Enix’s board of directors anymore.
Change in continuity?
In the press conference that followed this announcement and was attended in particular by the site 4PlayerYosuke Matsuda presented his departure as one he had been contemplating for some time. The man would therefore have felt it was time to pass the baton to the younger generation after a decade as CEO. The leader confirms that he will not stay with Square Enix and that he will therefore observe the evolution of the publisher from the outside, like a simple fan.
Speaking of his successor as a passionate and persevering person, Matsuda believes that this change of CEO does not detract from the projects currently in development nor the corporate strategy that has been put in place in recent times, especially with regard to everything related to Web 3.0 has to do with. Then Takashi Kiryu explains that he has been in touch with Square Enix games since the days of the Famicom, so working for the publisher was a dream for him. He wants to steer the publisher’s strategy with “consistency” and “flexibility”, the first term referring to the quality of the games and the second to not being afraid of change to reach a wider audience.