Square Enix Holdings Co., the company behind Final Fantasy XIV and the Final Fantasy franchise, has reportedly lost nearly $2 billion of its value since the release of Final Fantasy XVI in June 2023. According to a report by Bloomberg, investors in the company are rapidly losing faith as Square Enix reports underwhelming sales in its latest mainline Final Fantasy game.
Despite launching in June to critical acclaim, Final Fantasy XVI has struggled with sales, not reaching the heights expected from the franchise. Bloomberg reports that sales fell again in August, causing shares to plummet.
But, analysts and fans are quick to caution Square Enix’s downward turn solely to Final Fantasy XVI. Posts on Twitter and reports within industry and business publications suggest that titles such as Marvel’s Avengers, The DioField Chronicle, and perhaps most notably, Forspoken, harmed Square Enix’s reputation with gamers. These games, which were released to lukewarm or worse receptions, have earned Square Enix a reputation for untested, unfinished, or low-quality games.
This has been amplified by other issues within Square Enix, such as the company’s dedication to a blockchain-based NFT, web3 game and the seemingly quick abandonment of mobile titles such as Bravely Default: Brilliant Lights, which shuttered after just 13 months.
Similarly, there is resentment about the status of FFXIV, which, in several recent Square Enix financial reports from 2022 and 2023, was the primary earner for the company. Online commenters have dubbed the title Square Enix’s “life support,” which has, in turn, drawn the ire of some fans.
Whatever the case, a series of false starts and misfires has left Square Enix in a very difficult position. After an underwhelming performance from one of its franchise pillars (Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest), Square Enix has a lot of work to do to earn back the trust of shareholders and investors.