If you get a call from Square Enix anytime soon asking if it can borrow some money and maybe crash on your couch for a couple of weeks, don't be surprised. The Japanese publisher that's been a leader in the RPG market for years with series like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger is reporting monumental loses of 12 billion yen over the 12 month period that ended this month (May 2011). It's a pretty monumental loss considering they'd predicted that they would make a profit of 1 billion yen.
Of course, the earthquakes and tsunami that devastated Japan were a major factor, but I'm sure Final Fantasy XIV's failure to launch helped out, along with less than stellar performances from some of their other titles as well. Because of the major losses, they've been forced to cancel development on several games that were in the works to try and push themselves out of the red:
"Under a rapidly changing operating environment and more prudent estimates of future cash flows, the company plans to write down goodwill (approximately 8.8 billion). Further, as a result of introducing a tightened selection standard regarding title line-up to strengthen the revenue base of the company's digital entertainment segment, project development cancelation and related losses (approximately 4.5 billion) are expected. Additionally, damage and losses during closures at, and restoration of, amusement facilities resulting from the Tohoku Pacific Ocean Earthquakes and Tsunami caused an extraordinary "loss on disaster" (approximately 0.6 billion)."
Despite all that, Squenix is still confident that they'll make a profit next time, only shortening their 12 month sales forecast down from 130 billion yen to 125 billion yen. Let's hope none of that comes from a new MMORPG.