Final Fantasy XIV team members were in France recently to talk up the new MMO at Japan Expo. An interview has been posted on Jeux OnLine, that contains some interesting comments from Producer Hiromichi Tanaka and EU staff member Saori Hill on media coverage that caught my attention and spawned this impromptu mini-editorial.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome in the ZAM Forums!
Near the end of the interview, Jeux OnLine pressed Tanaka and Hill on the concern that Japanese media (Dengeki, Famitsu, etc) get preferential treatment when reporting on FFXIV. It is clear to anyone following the progress of the game that these magazine are littered with alpha screenshots and reports detailing many aspects of game play.
However, if I call upon the mighty knowledge of my high-school level French classes, Saori Hill responds: "We would very much like to appeal to you and the American press to publish content and talk about the game." She also elaborates that the content gaming magazines publish in Japan isn't received directly from Square Enix sources, and they certainly do not have exclusive rights to write FFXIV articles.
While it's true that the pictures and information in said articles are collected directly by the magazine publishers, there is still an NDA to uphold -- the effects of which have been surely felt by several prominent FFXIV media sites. It could be that they are referring to print-based media, as they have clearly shown interest in printing interviews and features for North American gaming magazines.
With Gamescom and Tokyo Game Show coming up in the next few months, let's hope Square Enix is as eager to talk to us as they say. I do have to admit however, that Square Enix was more forthcoming with the foreign media during E3, and with their efforts in maintaining a network of official FFXIV sites, things are looking good for the future.
Perhaps the real difference lies in the magazine industry itself. In Japan, Famitsu is sold on a weekly basis and Dengeki once every two weeks. In addition, both publishing companies put out a wide variety of monthly niche titles that exclusively cover Online Games, or PS3, or arcade machines. In the span of a week, you might see FFXIV articles across 3-4 different magazines. Once the media has time to be consumed, you will begin to see it posted on the publishers' online sites.
So, there's a lot going on here. The North American gaming magazine landscape seems rather barren compared to Japan, but at the same time, maybe Square Enix is also failing to grasp how to most effectively reach its foreign audience. We consume our gaming news online, and as the previously covered Famitsu App shows, publishers in Japan are cultivating that space as well.
It's an interesting topic, and I just wish JeuxOnLine had the time to press them more on the issue. Also, the interview seems to indicate there was a gap in understanding that prevented them from getting a clear answer. Let's hope Square Enix gives it more consideration and receives more encouragement from foreign interviewers during these summer conventions.