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Square Enix, the maker of the Final Fantasy franchise, is the latest video game developer to announce its intentions to deepen the use of AI in video game production. In a New Year letter, Square Enix’s President Takashi Kiryu said the company will be “aggressive in applying” AI in its future development and publishing efforts.

Square Enix Will Be Aggressive In AI Implementation Says President

He began by explaining how things have changed for the better since the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. However, he also highlighted some of the other problems that came with 2023 including sharp inflation which he blamed on the monetary policy by central banks.

“In 2023, we saw the release of eye-catching products and services in multiple domains where the commercialization and adoption of emerging technologies had seemed a more distant eventuality,” Kiryu wrote. “The potential of these offerings also garnered more attention than ever before.”

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Kiryu stepped into the role of Square Enix president in June 2023. Since becoming the president, Kiryu has made sweeping changes in the company’s operations including accelerating plans to make more resources available to its internal development teams as well as vetting games in development.

Square Enix Will Be Aggressive In AI Implementation Says President

“On the content development side, we are working not only to vet our existing pipeline of titles under development, but also to put the capabilities in place to ensure that development efforts that have yet to begin result in products and services that meet the expectations of our customers more than ever before.”

Square Enix’s President Takashi Kiryu New Year letter

Going forward, Square Enix will also work hard to expand its geographical markets. Kiryu also mentioned that the company will be making a shift to digital publication, a revelation that will be of interest to video game collectors. Will Square Enix at some point stop the sale of physical copies of games? Only time will tell.

Square Enix wants to make more customer-focused products

Square Enix Will Be Aggressive In AI Implementation Says President

In the New Year message, Kiryu mentioned that Square Enix will work to set up an organizational structure that will allow more effective collaboration between the content development arm of the company and the publishing arm. The goal is to make products that incorporate customer views to enhance customer satisfaction.

“We also intend to be aggressive in applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions. In the short term, our goal will be to enhance our development productivity and achieve greater sophistication in our marketing efforts. In the longer term, we hope to leverage those technologies to create new forms of content for consumers.”

Square Enix’s President Takashi Kiryu New Year letter

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Although more video game makers are adopting AI in their production, the moral debate never goes away. Last year we analyzed how the massive wave of layoffs in the video game industry was partially linked to the increasing adoption of AI in the industry.

No doubt, the “aggressive” application of AI, as Square Enix has put it, will likely make more roles redundant. Eventually, we may see another wave of layoffs that may equal or even surpass that of 2023 this year.

Square Enix Will Be Aggressive In AI Implementation Says President

Although Kiryu did not share specifics on how Square Enix will use AI in video game development, Final Fantasy 7 Remake co-director previously discussed how they built an AI tool that will enhance character facial animation and lip-syncing.

Artificial Intelligence is not the only innovation that the ambitious Square Enix president wants to explore going forward. The president is also looking at exploiting the opportunities in Web 3 and cloud.

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“In terms of new business domains, we previously identified three focus investment fields, namely blockchain entertainment/Web 3.0, AI, and the cloud. Last year we redefined our overarching mission and goals for these three fields. We are currently working to modify our organizational structure and optimize our resource allocations to support these efforts.”

Square Enix’s President Takashi Kiryu New Year letter

Kiryu ended by reiterating that Square Enix is not afraid of change and that the company always maintains a “challenger’s mindset”. It will be interesting to see how the ideas he has put on paper will be brought to life.

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