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Imran Khan - Square Enix "slightly panicking" over Final Fantasy XVI pre-orders, tracking below Final Fantasy XV even accounting for PS5 install base

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Phantom Thief

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I bring this up because I had heard recently that Square Enix is panicking slightly over Final Fantasy XVI preorder numbers, which are tracking behind FFXV even accounting for the lesser number of launching platforms. Granted, those are pre-order numbers and they're usually only useful to gauge guaranteed day-one sales (versus potential day-one sales), so the actual number could blow everyone away. But with the current tracking, I wonder if they want to remind people the next chapter of Final Fantasy VII's remake trilogy exists and give it more marketing time than they had planned.

He also talks about FF7R's sales themselves, noting that its long term sales may have been disappointing as well:

The initial sales of Remake were quite good, but it slowed down faster than Square Enix seemed to expect, so I imagine they really want Rebirth to sell as well as possible. Well, of course they do, but I imagine they're really, really hoping for an uptick in sales.

Source
 
I have no doubt on 16. It will be sure catch up after release on another platforms, high production value AAA and overall great game (trust me).

Meanwhile on FF7R2, first was selling that good because it’s a most beloved FF7, long await remake, but I don’t think the way story went please large sum of fans. They may never come back for more. Still 5m+ I guess though.
 
FFXVI is shaping up to have the lowest sales in Final Fantasy mainline history in Japan, and probably the lowest sales for a AAA FF worldwide. I think it will sell even lower than FF Type-0 did in Japan based on its COMG numbers. It is concerning since it's almost a given than FFXVI also is the most expensive FF yet, it's had a development period longer than any single FF has ever been given, like 2x longer than what FFXV actually had, which according to Noctis's Japanese VA was really only in development for 3.5 years.

His comment about FFVII Remake is what I also expected, it hasn't even been able to match FFXV on PS4 or Steam.
 
30% of FF sales are from Japan alone.
Now look at the state of PS5 software and FF16's preorders in Japan.
I'm sure they probably expected Japan's sales to not be as catastrophic and asian/western sales to compensate for it, but I guess it's not happening.


FFVIIR and FF16 needs to get Switch 2/PC (not EGS) ports ASAP and SE needs to stop signing the SIE checks for years of exclusivity.
 
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I did find it strange we never got an update on Remake’s sales after 5 million. But to be fair. I didn’t expect a massive sales. Thought it was overplayed how “demanded” a remake of FFVII was. But this game was only 1 part so tricky lol.

Anyways. I thought it was strange to see viewership on those FFXVI trailer be lower than I expected. But I still think it’ll do well, I’ve been thinking it’ll get a bery high score in reviews that’ll lead the charge. But granted. I’ve thought this since it’s full reveal, and didn’t account for a packed schedule for release. You got 3 games that are high quality and different genre that just came out. Might be just a tad too much right now. (Who knows)
 
Reminder to take every rumor with a critical look.

However this does seem to line up with Yoshida's recent interview:

 
Reminder to take every rumor with a critical look.

However this does seem to line up with Yoshida's recent interview:


Game is “black money” from the start because exclusive deal :p
 
Wouldn't that be the case for Forspoken too then? Which had an even longer exclusivity period? (2 years for Forspoken vs 6 months for FFXVI)
I imagine PlayStation have payed much much more to retain FFXVI exclusivity for 6 months than Forspoken for 2 years (also Forspoken was on PC day 1)
 
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It probably doesn't help that we're only just having SF6 and Diablo 4 come out which will be taking all the attention away. Some people don't tend to pre-order a more distant game if they've already got one before it coming up.

There may also be a lack of trust after FFXV and there's been no demo yet. The demo + reviews will surely help a lot.

Hopefully preorders will pick up in the last few weeks and it should get a lot of people buying it with a PS5 at launch.
 
Game is “black money” from the start because exclusive deal :p

Wouldn't that be the case for Forspoken too then? Which had an even longer exclusivity period? (2 years for Forspoken vs 6 months for FFXVI)
It is unclear what are the conditions of the marketing/exclusives deal, especially since a part of this help extends beyond monetary value (i.e help with PS5 optimization, marketing premium spots etc).

About the game, I'd say that lower preorders was expected given the PS5 install base, exclusivity, lack of PS5 JRPG so far and the shift in tone/battle system.

However, while the situation in Japan is unredeemable, there's still hope for a good preorders boost coming from the demo and reviews in the West.
 
It's easy to forget Final Fantasy XV had massive hype going it, and its reception really came after launch. So XVI lagging that preorders wise isn't that surprising.

Not sure if FFXVI will have strong legs, but being received very well will be a start.
 
I think there's a couple things things to keep in mind here:

a) A lot of the marketing for FF16 has been focused on the Eikons and combat, and has felt rather samey in recent months. Each trailer feels like a variation of the same general idea (combat + summons), and they haven't really given people a proper look at the world and story. Even though this isn't an open-world game, people do still like to know what the world they're going to be playing in is like, and what sort of exploration they can look forward to.​
b) There's a demo coming up, and that should help give the game's target audience a decent sense of what the world of FF16 is like and also what the experience of playing the game is like. Entirely possible that they see an uptick in interest after the demo arrives.​

Beyond that, though, I would imagine Square Enix understands the challenges of trying to sell a non-open-world action RPG in this day and age. FF16 and FF7 Remake both feel like projects that are smaller in scope, designed to allow their respective teams to focus on polish, and to help them prepare to eventually go open world with future projects.
 
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Wouldn't that be the case for Forspoken too then? Which had an even longer exclusivity period? (2 years for Forspoken vs 6 months for FFXVI)
Final Fantasy is on another league.

Like, I won’t bet on Forspoken selling millions even reviewed well.
 
Are you sure about this? Maybe in the past but since FFXIII, I think the "rule" has changed.

IIRC, the last figures about FFXV were 10 millions copies WW on may 2022. I doubt Japan is over 3 millions. Maybe I'm Wrong.
It was the case for FF7R.

At launch for instance:
~1.0m in Japan
~3.5m WW

JP ratio: ~29%
 
Are you sure about this? Maybe in the past but since FFXIII, I think the "rule" has changed.

IIRC, the last figures about FFXV were 10 millions copies WW on may 2022. I doubt Japan is over 3 millions. Maybe I'm Wrong.

7 Remake did 1m in JP for 3.5m WW, 28.6% of the total.
 
FFXV didn't need Japan because it was a multiplatform game day 1, Japan only accounted for 10% of its sales, XV could have literally sold zero copies in Japan and STILL been a top 3 best selling game in the series behind only VII and X. Keep in mind that if the game were day and date with Steam this number would have been even lower. Final Fantasy VIIR got closer to 30% of its sales from Japan because it's reliant on Playstation.

They designed XVI for the west, but their extremely short sighted platform strategy completely knee caps their potential to actual reach western players.
 
Not surprising. SE is constantly trying to limit the exposure of the games with their exclusivity deal. Launching a game in this day and age without PC release (at least) is crazy. Especially when one of their biggest fanbases - the one that plays FF14 is on PC (it might have translated to additional sales). SE behaves with FF16 as if it is 2005 or something. I wonder why other japanese publishers are striving....Oh, right because they have gone multiplatform.

I expect FF16 to do worse than other FF titles. Aside launching after TOTK, SF6, Diablo 4, it does not have FF7R pull either (no nostalgia attached to it). And the irony is that after this launch FF brand will become even smaller. Also I don't expect FF7R P2 to do FF7R numbers either but that's a separate matter.

Not sure if FFXVI will have strong legs, but being received very well will be a start.
We will see. I expect it to have some decent reviews, but I don't expect it to surpass 90 to be honest. Also considering that FF7R did not have strong legs (according to SE at least), I don't expect FF16 to have them either.
 
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A turn-based colorful looking FF17 that releases day one on PS5, Xbox, PC and Switch 2 would sell over 10m copies Post Reply
 
A turn-based colorful looking FF17 that releases day one on PS5, Xbox, PC and Switch 2 would sell over 10m copies Post Reply
We sadly aren't living in a world that allows us to see what a game like this could open at in Japan.
 
I think there's 2 major issues going on for XVI

1.Exclusivity, This is roughly going to cut sales in half

2.General tone/art style change, Think about young people growing up with FF. You started with XIII, it's sequels, XV, and VIIR, then you see this game and it can be incredibly jarring.

JRPG fans have always shown an impressive diversity in what types of combat and level design they'll buy and play , This is particularly true for Final Fantasy fans, as long as the game is good turn based/action won't have a major impact either way.
 
If Square wanted 10m to be the floor, and not the ceiling, for FFXVI then they should've made it (1) open world and (2) multiplatform. CBU3 made the game they wanted to make and that's fine but this "slight panic" over sales shouldn't have caught anyone by surprise. CBU3 didn't make a breakout here and they clearly know it.
 
FFXV didn't need Japan because it was a multiplatform game day 1, Japan only accounted for 10% of its sales, XV could have literally sold zero copies in Japan and STILL been a top 3 best selling game in the series behind only VII and X. Keep in mind that if the game were day and date with Steam this number would have been even lower. Final Fantasy VIIR got closer to 30% of its sales from Japan because it's reliant on Playstation.

They designed XVI for the west, but their extremely short sighted platform strategy completely knee caps their potential to actual reach western players.
Pretty sure you're using retail only numbers in Japan, while the ~10mil figure you're deriving the percentage from is retail+digital.
2.General tone/art style change, Think about young people growing up with FF. You started with XIII, it's sequels, XV, and VIIR, then you see this game and it can be incredibly jarring.
I think of them growing up with the FF remakes and remasters of games that even predated VII at the same time and an understanding that FF tends to be a pretty big tent when it comes to art styles and tones. Never mind that you left out FFXIV, which... if we're talking about games in the series that they're exposed to regularly, leaving that one out is especially odd.
 
This prety much confirms why they never gave sales updates after the 5 millions mark. Legs were terrible (and game was free on PSN a year after release)

This doesn’t bode well for FFXVI at all and tbh there’s 0 chatter about the game in my circles
 
Hopefully the game turns out to be quality and the sales exceed the current pace. Saying that, it looked boring to me from the literal second they showed it and has done zero to increase its appeal. If it reaply impresses in reviews I think it will pick up some steam.

I think the exclusivity does them no favours either but that's a well worn out topic.
 
This wouldn’t surprise me. We know in Japan anticipation is at an all-time low for the franchise. Exclusivity might harm sales potential in Western markets.

Of course sales expectations depend on development and marketing costs but in a period where most big franchises (and even new IPs, see Elden Ring) are now easily aiming at 10m+ sales it seems Final Fantasy is really lagging behind.

I was expecting something more from VII remake too. I thought that its big legacy would have helped the game to sell closer to 10m. The fact that it was separated into different entries definitely harmed but perhaps the franchise itself is not able to attract a sizeable audience anymore.
 
It'd be interesting if part of the negotiations around this were predated on PS sales picking up and Sony/SE expecting software to scale with it as shortages ended, and then that didn't happen at all (in Japan). One of your significant markets just being anemic was likely not expected to this degree.

That said, the largest mistake remains being regressive with access to the title. Excluding PC (for months to a year) and Xbox entirely is just not a good idea for a title becoming increasingly global.
 
It'd be interesting if part of the negotiations around this were predated on PS sales picking up and Sony/SE expecting software to scale with it as shortages ended, and then that didn't happen at all (in Japan). One of your significant markets just being anemic was likely not expected to this degree.

That said, the largest mistake remains being regressive with access to the title. Excluding PC (for months to a year) and Xbox entirely is just not a good idea for a title becoming increasingly global.
I don’t know I’m with @Gotdatmoney on this one, product looks unappealing
 
I was thinking it seems a bit weird for these tidbits about presales to be coming out now, seems like a bit of self sabotage to be letting this kind of info out doesn't it?;Makes it seems like they're not very confident in their own product.
 
Hopefully the game turns out to be quality and the sales exceed the current pace. Saying that, it looked boring to me from the literal second they showed it and has done zero to increase its appeal. If it reaply impresses in reviews I think it will pick up some steam.

I think the exclusivity does them no favours either but that's a well worn out topic.
That's just a matter of taste. To me it's the most appealing FF has ever looked.

Also they're clearly trying to evoke The Witcher 3 with the setting and characters, which we've just heard has sold 50mil so not like there's a small potential audience for this style of game.
I was thinking it seems a bit weird for these tidbits about presales to be coming out now, seems like a bit of self sabotage to be letting this kind of info out doesn't it?;Makes it seems like they're not very confident in their own product.
Well I doubt Square planned for this info to have leaked.
 
I think FFXVI is going to be in the top tier of Final Fantasy games, but they've made two mistakes. The first is that they should be releasing on PC at launch. If that wasn't possible, the game should have released on the PS4. Obviously, neither Square nor Sony knew how anemic PS5 software sales would be in Japan when this exclusivity deal was made. The second mistake is that they've focused so intently on the action aspects of the game. While I love the look of the combat, the characters and story are a big part of the series and have barely been shown in trailers. I think preorders should pick up substantially once the demo releases and reviews come out.
 
That's just a matter of taste. To me it's the most appealing FF has ever looked.

Also they're clearly trying to evoke The Witcher 3 with the setting and characters, which we've just heard has sold 50mil so not like there's a small potential audience for this style of game.

Well I doubt Square planned for this info to have leaked.
Well isn't part of this stormcloud the result of an interview Yoshi P just did concerning the sales plan for the game?
 
Pretty sure you're using retail only numbers in Japan, while the ~10mil figure you're deriving the percentage from is retail+digital.

I think of them growing up with the FF remakes and remasters of games that even predated VII at the same time and an understanding that FF tends to be a pretty big tent when it comes to art styles and tones. Never mind that you left out FFXIV, which... if we're talking about games in the series that they're exposed to regularly, leaving that one out is especially odd.

I left out Brave Exvius as well, it wasnt by accident.
 
with a late pc port, they're gonna have to show the fuck out to better convince people to drop $70 on it.

if they're gonna take a long time to port, why not add path tracing like Cyberpunk did
 
Absolutely, exclusivity to PS5 is pretty much the sole problem here.

Its not really.
Horizon sold 20M on Playstation alone. HFW is going to do 15M+. Witcher has sold 15-20M on PS alone.
Even within a single platform, the penetration of FF has been good but not outstanding like the biggest sellers.

But I think FF16 has a lot going for it, top tier cinematics/visuals, focus on story, western fantasy inspired, larger marketing budget from Sony, looks like its going to be high on metacritic. A lot of is going to depend on its critical reception and fanbase reception but it definitely has been set up well.
 
with a late pc port, they're gonna have to show the fuck out to better convince people to drop $70 on it.

if they're gonna take a long time to port, why not add path tracing like Cyberpunk did
with it coming in late do you thing the will still do the EGS exclusivity or drop it both on Steam and EGS
 
with it coming in late do you thing the will still do the EGS exclusivity or drop it both on Steam and EGS
Epic already said they won't be buy such exclusivity anymore. and we saw with Forspoken that SE launched on both services. so there's a good chance of 16 hitting both
 
I don’t know I’m with @Gotdatmoney on this one, product looks unappealing
tbqh, I'm not getting the hype over this FF either. The character designs look like the kind of edgelord stuff I would have thought looked cool...if I was still 14 years old. And everybody saying "inspired by Game of Thrones" makes me laugh. The appeal of Martin's writing is in the world building and I don't think any writer at Square is competent enough to even approach that level of detail.
 
Its not really.
Horizon sold 20M on Playstation alone. HFW is going to do 15M+. Witcher has sold 15-20M on PS alone.
Even within a single platform, the penetration of FF has been good but not outstanding like the biggest sellers.

But I think FF16 has a lot going for it, top tier cinematics/visuals, focus on story, western fantasy inspired, larger marketing budget from Sony, looks like its going to be high on metacritic. A lot of is going to depend on its critical reception and fanbase reception but it definitely has been set up well.
Those things are true but unrelated to this discussion. We're talking about pre-orders for a PS5 only game. We have not had many full PS5 exclusives, none will have launched anywhere near what Square are expecting for FF16. There's still a relatively small established PS5 base, so it's no surprise that pre-orders for the game aren't amazing.

I agree that FF16 has a lot going for it, I think it should do well, but its gonna rely on big launch week post-launch sales and good legs for success.
 
tbqh, I'm not getting the hype over this FF either. The character designs look like the kind of edgelord stuff I would have thought looked cool...if I was still 14 years old. And everybody saying "inspired by Game of Thrones" makes me laugh. The appeal of Martin's writing is in the world building and I don't think any writer at Square is competent enough to even approach that level of detail.
Honestly, I don't think there is that much hype surrounding FF16. I see, Sony and SE trying to promote it much - but it just does not land.

Also it does not help that all the videos of FF16 looks kinda blurry or something.
 
They're alienating the old fanbase and tring to reach new consumers. If this equation will work time will tell.

Square Enix is on a bad moment, if this game don't deliver things will get really ugly for the company.
 
To put it in an odd way, I've seen FF16 describe as if it looks "like" existing, popular things. GOT, DMC, Dragon's Dogma, etc. FF7, FF8, FF10, 13 and 15, they're all a lot more of a wholly unique experience.

They way some people discuss Square's prospects, one would think that, if FFX had been developed and released for the Switch, that it would've been a middling success. I don't think Image Quality is as important to a AAA product's impact, as far as efficient budget use for presentation goes.
 
They're alienating the old fanbase and tring to reach new consumers. If this equation will work time will tell.

Square Enix is on a bad moment, if this game don't deliver things will get really ugly for the company.

Old fan bases aren't reliable, as most people that played JRPGs decades ago have basically totally stopped gaming or play very few mainstream games. The JRPG fan base notoriously just did not keep up with increasing costs, leading to a huge graveyard of IPs and studios. They inherently need to continue aiming for new audiences, and even with this underperforming goals it will still almost certainly be the best non-Pokemon JRPG launch month in years.

SE just had their second highest revenue year ever, and this year has a good chance at ending up #1 or #2. I think a whole ton of things have gone wrong with FF16 (I broadly agree with a lot of the issue raised in this thread) but people wildly overemphasize their few high profile games and not their broad revenue base from mobile, MMO, and an increasingly large slate of good Remasters/remakes just sitting there available on multiple current platforms.

Beyond that, they are actively supporting about 10 different IPs/series with new console releases, and even more with more intermittent launches. There's definitely pressure from Forspoken bombing but they have really broad output these days which mitigates the risk of any single failure.
 
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30% of FF sales are from Japan alone.
Now look at the state of PS5 software and FF16's preorders in Japan.
I'm sure they probably expected Japan's sales to not be as catastrophic and asian/western sales to compensate for it, but I guess it's not happening.
The percentage of sales coming from Japan varied through time (and kept decreasing generation after generation).
What's obvious is that Square, for the Final Fantasy series, stopped betting on the expansion of sales in the home market instead bet all their chips on abroad sales expansion.
Deflating sales in Japan coupled with modest growth abroad meant that, even if there never was a better time to beat record in big franchises, Final Fantasy failed to achieve a next level sales upgrade.

Below a quick "copy & paste" from a 2-3 years old post of mine that contains the split between Japan/abroad of the leading FF game for each generation:

Sell-in data (original releases, platforms are specified with in parenthesis)

FFVII
JPN (PS1): 4.00M
Overseas (PS1): 9.81-4.00 = 5.81M

FFX
JPN (PS2): 3.10M
Overseas (PS2): 8.60-3.10 = 5.50M

FFXIII
JPN (PS3): 1.90M
Overseas (PS3 / XB360): 6.90-1.90 = 5.50M

FFXV
JPN (PS4 / XBO): 1.20M
Overseas (PS4 / XBO / PC): 8.90-1.20 = 7.70M (FFXV PS4 / XBO has a total sell-in of 6.80M in CESA White Paper)

As you said it's important to remember that the multiplatform strategy SE adopted since FFXIII, the expansion of sales on PC (to reach developing countries markets which are primarily served by that platform) and the break through of digital sales are all factors that contribute to expand a game sales potential beyond what was possible in the '90s.
 
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Many people believe it will perform spectacularly like AAA PlayStation titles, despite little evidence to suggest that kind of achievement is possible based on social media engagement data.

With FF16, they wanted to take the franchise in a new direction because they felt it had become stale and needed a reboot. Instead of releasing it on multiple platforms, as Capcom and From Software did with RE, MH, ER, and so on, they believed that releasing it on a single platform would help it introduce a new direction to gamers more effectively. Even Sony wasn't that stupid to release GOW Ragnarok and HFW exclusively on the PS5, despite the fact that those games were more popular than the Final Fantasy franchise.
 
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