Square Enix Holdings logo is displayed on a smartphone screen

Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda stepping down after 10-year run

Video game publisher Square Enix (NASDAQ: SQNXF) could be severing ties with its CEO Yosuke Matsuda after nearly 10 years at the helm of the company.

Matsuda’s fate lies in the hands of shareholders with the power to approve the board’s decision in June 2023. If the approval sails through, Takashi Kiryu will reportedly replace Matsuda as the company’s new CEO.

Under the rapid change in the business environment surrounding the entertainment industry, the proposed move is intended “to reshape the management team and adopt ever-evolving technological innovations and maximize the creativity of the company’s group to deliver even greater entertainment to its customers around the world,” read a company statement.

The sudden plans to replace Matsuda might not come as a surprise to industry stakeholders, given the series of challenges that the gaming giant faced recently, including the attempt into live-service games with the Marvel’s Avengers and the poor performance of its Babylon’s Fall, which have sent the company’s stock tumbling.

Matsuda gave the green light for the sale of a trio of Square Enix’s overseas studios to Embracer Group, a move that sparked concerns for stakeholders. At the time of the sale, Matsuda stated that Square Enix would establish new studios to replace the trio of Square Enix Montreal, Crystal Dynamics, and Eidos.

Despite the challenges faced by Square Enix, Matsuda forged ahead with plans of incorporating games with elements of blockchain technology. Top of the list for Matsuda was the inclusion of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into new releases in addition to a planned foray into the metaverse.

“Our Group has multiple blockchains games based on original IPs under development, some of which we announced last year, and we are undertaking preparations that will enable us to unveil even more titles this year,” said Matsuda in a letter to shareholders at the start of the year.

Square Enix unlikely to deviate from blockchain-gaming

While Matsuda’s plan for blockchain gaming has yet to gather steam, it is unlikely that Square Enix will abandon plans to infuse digital collectibles in its upcoming gaming titles. The proposed CEO Takashi Kiryu had previously served as General Manager at Dentsu Innovation Initiative, a metaverse-related firm.

It is expected that Kiryu will provide the company with renewed vigor and “a fresh set of eyes” in forging ahead with its plans for blockchain gaming, according to reports.

Other gaming publishers like Sony Interactive Entertainment, Bandai Namco, Sega, and Konami are currently exploring NFTs and metaverse in their upcoming games, sparking stiff competition in the space.

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