On The Last Remnant, PS3, and Information on the Installed Base

Posted by Flikery (19 posts) -

Apparently Square Enix has decided against bringing The Last Remnant to PS3 in North America, citing profitability. From an economic stand point, does this mean they do not believe they can even recover porting costs to the PS3? Not exactly; the opportunity cost needs to be accounted for as well. They need to consider what else those resources would not be working on (probably their big upcoming titles) if they were working on a Last Remnant port for PS3; in other words, is a Last Remnant port worth delaying some of their super blockbusters like Final Fantasy XIII? I say (a very commital) maybe. A sure thing like Final Fantasy XIII will be a sure thing even if it delayed a few months; the information on the PS3 market's preferences for Square products gained from a release of a title like The Last Remnant (new IP, so little to go on but the brand name and what you have heard about it) could be valuable for making future releases more successful, including a larger release like Final Fantasy XIII.

I am not privy to Squeenix's cost estimates, or sales estimates of a PS3 release of The Last Remnant. Certainly Square's data from their other PS3 titles must suggest that such a game would do poorly with PS3 owners.... What's that? Square has not released a PS3 title? Well then, data from other RPGs on the system must point to the conclusion that PS3 owners are not in to that sort of game on their system... What's that? Very few RPG titles on the PS3, so it would be hard to tell? I guess that rules out the "crowded market" theory as well... Japan doesn't like the game? Well, it didn't sell well on 360 there, but the 360 install base is small compared to the PS3 in Japan, so they could probably expect similar or higher sales.

In fact, there are many such questions that Square likely cannot really answer themselves because they haven't taken even a small hop into the PS3 sea to get a read on the potential market.

In all likelihood, Square has simply determined that the company resources, which are limited, are best used on other games with a higher profit potential than porting The Last Remnant to PS3 would be. This wouldn't surprise me terribly with the games Square has up it's sleave in the next year or so. But it does seem odd to me that Square will not really test the PS3 waters until probably Final Fantasy XIII. It would not be hard to argue the possibility that Square's audience could be laying in wait on the PS3; many PS3 adopters did so with the promise of Final Fantasy XIII coming to the console before a 360 version was announced. These people would be more likely to enjoy a Square game for simply being a Square game, and could prove to be a better market for their products than 360 owners would be. And if there is any kind of brand loyalty to consoles (if the flaming wars in forums are any indication, there probably is at some level), the PS2 was the uncontested king of J-RPGs and different Japanese type games, as well as Square games in general; if these gamers are brand loyal to Sony, then Square fans could be lying in wait in the PS3 installed base. It seems like getting such information on the PS3 install base could be valuable, especially with the promise of Final Fantasy XIII Versus remaining a PS3 exclusive, or developing Final Fantasy XIV for PS3. If Last Remnant was a success, perhaps they could be more confident with sending all those resources to such a project. Information can turn to power in a market, and power to profits; knowing market demographics is valuable. The success of Final Fantasy 7 as a download could be a signal, but is probably incredibly muddled due to people being fans of the game itself than of the Square brand in general, as well as the still growing acceptance of digital distribution as a viable purchase source. Perhaps Square has another way of measuring the PS3 owner's preference for Square products than direct sales (surveys, etc), but nothing quite gives you information like a real product. The sooner they get their hands on any kind of information about how PS3 owners feel about the Square Enix brand, the better they can prepare for the future.

The long wait, the weak release on 360, the release on PC (eating away at the pool of PS3 owners who haven't played The Last Remnant), and resource costs of porting are all great reasons for Square not to release the game on PS3. But they probably know that they don't know much about the PS3 install base; I am merely suggesting that the information from a release could be valuable to them, and should take that into consideration when making their decision.

Maybe they did.

Then again, maybe the game just stinks :-)

#1 Posted by Flikery (19 posts) -

Apparently Square Enix has decided against bringing The Last Remnant to PS3 in North America, citing profitability. From an economic stand point, does this mean they do not believe they can even recover porting costs to the PS3? Not exactly; the opportunity cost needs to be accounted for as well. They need to consider what else those resources would not be working on (probably their big upcoming titles) if they were working on a Last Remnant port for PS3; in other words, is a Last Remnant port worth delaying some of their super blockbusters like Final Fantasy XIII? I say (a very commital) maybe. A sure thing like Final Fantasy XIII will be a sure thing even if it delayed a few months; the information on the PS3 market's preferences for Square products gained from a release of a title like The Last Remnant (new IP, so little to go on but the brand name and what you have heard about it) could be valuable for making future releases more successful, including a larger release like Final Fantasy XIII.

I am not privy to Squeenix's cost estimates, or sales estimates of a PS3 release of The Last Remnant. Certainly Square's data from their other PS3 titles must suggest that such a game would do poorly with PS3 owners.... What's that? Square has not released a PS3 title? Well then, data from other RPGs on the system must point to the conclusion that PS3 owners are not in to that sort of game on their system... What's that? Very few RPG titles on the PS3, so it would be hard to tell? I guess that rules out the "crowded market" theory as well... Japan doesn't like the game? Well, it didn't sell well on 360 there, but the 360 install base is small compared to the PS3 in Japan, so they could probably expect similar or higher sales.

In fact, there are many such questions that Square likely cannot really answer themselves because they haven't taken even a small hop into the PS3 sea to get a read on the potential market.

In all likelihood, Square has simply determined that the company resources, which are limited, are best used on other games with a higher profit potential than porting The Last Remnant to PS3 would be. This wouldn't surprise me terribly with the games Square has up it's sleave in the next year or so. But it does seem odd to me that Square will not really test the PS3 waters until probably Final Fantasy XIII. It would not be hard to argue the possibility that Square's audience could be laying in wait on the PS3; many PS3 adopters did so with the promise of Final Fantasy XIII coming to the console before a 360 version was announced. These people would be more likely to enjoy a Square game for simply being a Square game, and could prove to be a better market for their products than 360 owners would be. And if there is any kind of brand loyalty to consoles (if the flaming wars in forums are any indication, there probably is at some level), the PS2 was the uncontested king of J-RPGs and different Japanese type games, as well as Square games in general; if these gamers are brand loyal to Sony, then Square fans could be lying in wait in the PS3 installed base. It seems like getting such information on the PS3 install base could be valuable, especially with the promise of Final Fantasy XIII Versus remaining a PS3 exclusive, or developing Final Fantasy XIV for PS3. If Last Remnant was a success, perhaps they could be more confident with sending all those resources to such a project. Information can turn to power in a market, and power to profits; knowing market demographics is valuable. The success of Final Fantasy 7 as a download could be a signal, but is probably incredibly muddled due to people being fans of the game itself than of the Square brand in general, as well as the still growing acceptance of digital distribution as a viable purchase source. Perhaps Square has another way of measuring the PS3 owner's preference for Square products than direct sales (surveys, etc), but nothing quite gives you information like a real product. The sooner they get their hands on any kind of information about how PS3 owners feel about the Square Enix brand, the better they can prepare for the future.

The long wait, the weak release on 360, the release on PC (eating away at the pool of PS3 owners who haven't played The Last Remnant), and resource costs of porting are all great reasons for Square not to release the game on PS3. But they probably know that they don't know much about the PS3 install base; I am merely suggesting that the information from a release could be valuable to them, and should take that into consideration when making their decision.

Maybe they did.

Then again, maybe the game just stinks :-)

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