Square Enix once again panicking about sales. This time with Final Fantasy 16.
What Is The Panic About?
The Final Fantasy franchise has been a staple in the gaming world for over three decades, and with each new instalment, fans eagerly anticipate the next adventure. Final Fantasy 16, set to release on June 22, is no exception. However, a recent report on Square Enix’s behind-the-scenes activity has revealed that the company is “panicking” over the game’s pre-order figures.
Journalist Imran Khan, known for his gaming industry coverage, has reported that Final Fantasy 16’s pre-orders are “tracking behind” those of its predecessor, Final Fantasy 15. This news has reportedly sent Square Enix into a state of panic as the company scrambles to figure out how to improve the game’s promotional period before its highly anticipated launch.
How Did FF15 Sales Do?
It is not shocking that FF16 is failing to meet the standards FF15 set. Within the first day of release, Final Fantasy XV shipped five million units worldwide, making it the biggest launch in the franchise’s history. This figure allowed the game to “break even” on development costs and set records for physical shipments and downloads in mainland Asia. The game also had the most first-day digital sales in Japan for a game up to that point. According to Square Enix, shipments surpassed six million units worldwide by January 2017, and by May 2022, Final Fantasy XV had sold over ten million units worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games in the franchise’s history. The strong sales of Final Fantasy XV helped to revive the franchise, which had seen declining commercial success in recent years, according to Tabata. Furthermore, the game and Rise of the Tomb Raider helped to increase sales and profits for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Even with the positive reception to early gameplay demos, Final Fantasy 16 has failed to reach the heights of its predecessor in terms of pre-order numbers. Khan suggests that this may be due to the company’s lack of effort in incentivizing fans to pre-order the game. This is particularly concerning, as Final Fantasy 16 is a PS5 exclusive, which should have provided an additional boost to pre-order numbers.
How Is Square Enix Handling The Situation?
In response to Final Fantasy 16’s poor pre-order figures, Square Enix recently announced that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is still in development and aiming for a winter release window. Khan speculates that this reminder was made in response to the lacklustre pre-order numbers, suggesting that the company believes it needs to do more to encourage fans to purchase the game early.
The Final Fantasy franchise has a storied history, with each instalment offering a unique and engaging experience. Final Fantasy 15, released in 2016, was a commercial success, selling over 8.4 million copies worldwide. It’s not surprising that Square Enix would want to replicate that success with Final Fantasy 16, and the company has certainly invested a lot of time and resources into promoting the game.
However, it seems that something has gone awry with Final Fantasy 16’s promotional period. Despite early gameplay demos receiving positive feedback, pre-order numbers have failed to match those of Final Fantasy 15. This has left Square Enix “panicking” as the company tries to figure out how to improve the game’s promotional period before its release.
It’s worth noting that pre-order numbers aren’t always indicative of a game’s success. Some fans may prefer to wait for reviews or word-of-mouth recommendations before making a purchase.
Still, it’s clear that Square Enix is taking Final Fantasy 16’s pre-order figures seriously. With the game’s release date just a few weeks away, the company will need to come up with a strategy to encourage fans to pre-order the game. Whether this will involve more marketing, exclusive bonuses, or other incentives remains to be seen.
Why Do Pre-Sales Matter?
While it’s not expected that Final Fantasy 16 will have poor sales, it’s typical for triple-A games to seek pre-orders before launch due to high production costs and to gauge consumer interest. Pre-orders also allow publishers to prepare physical copies and offer incentives to those who pre-order, which is why many games heavily promote pre-ordering.
Why Are The Sales Not As Expected?
If reports are true that Final Fantasy 16 is struggling to generate pre-launch sales, it may not be due to any shortcomings in the game itself. Unlike its predecessor, FF15, which launched during a more prosperous time, FF16 is debuting during a global cost of living crisis. With wages failing to keep pace with inflation, many consumers are feeling the pinch and may be less willing to shell out for non-essential items like games, particularly ones that are yet to hit the market. As a result, gamers could be more cautious and hold off on pre-ordering until they can gauge the game’s reception around launch.
In addition to that, some fans believe that this lack of sales is expected. The game being a PS5 exclusive, its bad reputation from FFXV, its release month packed with other big titles, and its fanbase divided by different gameplay from its legacy are all valid reasons for the failure. It is also not surprising for Square Enix to have a panic over numbers. Nothing that we aren’t used to.
Despite the high anticipation surrounding Final Fantasy 16, it’s understandable for consumers to be cautious about buying into the hype. 2023 has already seen its share of letdowns, with Redfall being a prime example. The game was initially touted as a potential Game of the Year contender, but it ultimately received some of the year’s harshest reviews. While there’s no reason to believe that FF16 will suffer the same fate, stories like these could cause consumers to second-guess their spending habits and adopt a more wait-and-see approach to game purchases.
According to journalist Imran Khan, Final Fantasy 16’s pre-orders are “tracking behind” those of its predecessor, Final Fantasy 15. This news has reportedly sent Square Enix into a state of panic.
Final Fantasy 15 was a commercial success, selling over 8.4 million copies worldwide, and helped to revive the franchise, which had seen declining commercial success in recent years.
Some reasons could include the company’s lack of effort in incentivizing fans to pre-order the game, the game being a PS5 exclusive, bad reputation from Final Fantasy XV, release month packed with other big titles, and the fanbase being divided by different gameplay from its legacy.