Square boss Matsuda says Shinra cloud tech play was "too early"

Square boss Matsuda says Shinra cloud tech play was "too early"

The CEO of Square Enix Yosuke Matsuda has said that the company was too early with its streaming venture Shinra Technologies.

Speaking to GamesBeat, the Japanese publisher's boss said that while it had an innovative idea, it was way too ahead of the curve. What's more; now there are companies like Google and Microsoft in the game with their data centre infrastructure, it's likely too late.

Square founded Shinra Technologies as a subsidiary in 2014 with a beta test kicking off early the next year. In January 2016, the venture was dissolved following an "extraordinary loss" of ¥2bn ($18.5m).

"What we tried to do with Shinra was based on what at the time was very innovative thinking," he said.

"But in terms of the platform and the play environment, it was too early, and too much for us to do on our own in terms of the scale of the business and the investment involved. The environment just wasn’t there yet. But now that you have big players like Google and Microsoft coming on to the scene, who have the servers and the data centre investment to do this in a big way. We’re finally at a place where the conditions are coming together so that this business environment can support it taking off.

"If that happens, then what we tried to do with Shinra, and what other publishers have been interested in — we can see people start to get seriously involved in the cloud, because now the circumstances lend themselves to that. We have, as I say, these big players coming on the scene, and probably others will as well. Netflix has announced that it will be developing games, which I’m very interested in, that such a big player in the streaming market is going to be developing game content. The game industry is going to become a major new customer for players in the data centre or server businesses. For that reason, I think it will bring a lot of new vitality to the industry.

"I think we’re finally seeing an environment where the conditions are conducive to developing the kinds of things that we tried to do with Shinra. For example, to develop a cloud-centric or a cloud-native game. But I’d also note that this is just the year this is going to be launching. We’ll still have to wait and see if Stadia is an environment that game players can be satisfied with. That said, I sincerely hope that it takes off to great success."

Streaming has become the hot new business model of the moment, with players like Google getting into the space with its Stadia cloud tech while Microsoft has its xCloud play. Electronic Arts is looking into the tech, too, with Project Atlas, though this looks to be using server tech to impact game design as well as make titles available remotely. 

Xbox is arguably in the lead here, boasting long and sometimes painful experience of the games industry, in addition to a vast library of third-party support and Microsoft's Azure network of data centres.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.