Today Bloomberg reported a statement by Square Enix CEO Takashi Kiryu about the sales of Final Fantasy XVI, but a completely incorrect interpretation is spreading among fans.
According to Bloomberg's report (behind a paywall), "Sales of the latest installment of the long-running role-playing title did not meet the high end of the company’s expectations" according to a statement provided by Kiryu-san during the post-earnings report conference call.
This was widely cited by several media outlets, which altered the wording in various ways, especially in their headlines, often to the effect that "Final Fantasy XVI failed to meet Square Enix's high-end expectations."
The change in wording and the fact that these outlets failed to provide an explanation of what that actually means (likely on top of previous statements by Square Enix about other games not meeting sales expectations in the past) are causing many to interpret the statement as Final Fantasy XVI not meeting Square Enix's expectations which were defined as "high-end" (Incidentally, the hyphen matters. "high-end" is an adjective. "high end" is a noun).
That is not what Kiryu-san said, assuming that the translation of the statement reported by Bloomberg is correct, which we won't know until Square Enix publishes the transcript of the conference call in a few days.
In financial terms, not meeting "the high end" of a company's expectations means that Square Enix expected Final Fantasy XVI's sales to fall within a range between a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario. The game's sales did not meet the best case scenario (IE: the high end), but were still within the expected range, otherwise Kiryu-san would have said that it didn't meet the low end of the company's expectations.
The report adds that Kiryu-san mentioned that slow adoption of PS5 "was a limiting factor, and now that hardware supply constraints have dissipated, Square Enix plans to take steps to boost sales as more people use the PS5"
This is pretty much in line with the statement provided by Square Enix to IGN last month and not a "backtracking" as some alleged.
We'll follow up on this when Square Enix provides an official translation of the conference call, or at least an official transcript. In the meanwhile, we reached out to the publisher to hear whether they have anything to add about this or can provide Kiryu-san's statement in official form.
Speaking of official sources, Square Enix's financial report identified Final Fantasy XVI as a driver of revenue growth, which certainly doesn't match the negative interpretations surfaced today.
Final Fantasy XVI is currently available exclusively for PS5 and you can read our positive review in which our Andrew Stretch defined the game as "everything he could have hoped for and more" and "a deep story and fully fleshed out world that you'll want to be protecting." .
A PC version has also been confirmed by director Naoki Yoshida-san himself, but Square Enix will need time to optimize the game for the platform. You can also read our interview with Yoshida-san and art director Hiroshi Minagawa.