Square Enix is the rare example of a major traditional games publisher who has been able to properly enter the mobile market. With its Montreal studio mostly devoted to mobile games, Square Enix found a formula for adapting some of its biggest western franchises into bite-sized premium experiences. At $5 each, Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and Deus Ex GO were all well-received.
But well-received doesn't always equate to profitable, and that seems to be the exact case here. In an interview with PocketGamer, Square Enix Montreal head Patrick Naud confirmed that the publisher has shifted away from GO games. "It's one of the challenges we have today is the premium mobile market is diminishing," Naud said. "You've got more and more high-quality free titles so there are even fewer and fewer people inclined to try something that will not be free. Despite the critical success and the great revenue we've had, it's sad to see that our games are only played by a small slither of the population because of the price point."
Naud continued "That's such a big barrier for mobile users. A lot of people consume mobile games only and they have all these options, all these games; why should they invest money in this one unless they're very convinced? That doesn't mean they won't spend in-game, but they want to spend on a game that they're sure they're going to like. The perception of choice makes it that even if it's only $5, that's too much."
However, that doesn't mean Square Enix Montreal has entirely moved away from mobile experiences. Naud points out that the studio is still focused on creating high-quality mobile games. It's just more likely those titles will adopt a freemium model rather than charging money up front.
Square Enix Montreal no longer working on the GO series [PocketGamer]