Square Enix on its expensive iOS games

In an App Store filled with great, cheap games (many for $5 or less) Square Enix’s iOS contributions stand alone. Kotaku spoke with a Japanese Square Enix executive about the decisions behind the company’s pricing models.

Remade classics like Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions cost $16, or $18 for The World Ends with You: Solo Remix. Games made specifically for iOS are cheaper or free up front, like Demons’ Score and Final Fantasy Dimensions, but also require more than $30 of in-app purchases to play the complete game. The Square Enix executive said the games are all individually adapted to iOS and sold for less than their console predecessors at release.

“The mobile marketplace is maturing and frequently changing. As the devices increase in capability, the quality of gaming experiences we provide increases as well,” the executive said. “Each game is priced individually and evaluated based on the type of game, depth and overall experience it provides for players.”

The executive said Square Enix is aware that North American gamers have lower price expectations. That contributed to their decisions with the free-to-play Guardian Cross, their only title to break into the App Store’s Top 200 Grossing items.

While chopping games into individual paid chapters may gives players more flexibility, Kotaku worried that erecting several different paywalls to progress could ultimately sour gamers, as it has with companies like Zynga.

Does Square Enix need to get with the times, or does the quality of its products justify their unusually hefty price tags?

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