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Square Enix Announces "Shinra" Cloud-Based Game Service

| 19 Sep 2014 22:06
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Square Enix believes streaming services are the "new ecosystem" of games, and has a beta for the service planned for early 2015.

Square Enix announced at this week's Tokyo Game Show a new cloud-based streaming service designed to provide "a new ecosystem for the games industry," according to Polygon. The company, Shinra Technologies, named after the mega-corporation from Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII, has partnered with Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios to develop games and technology for the new streaming service.

The company will be led by Yoichi Wada, former president of Square Enix, with headquarters in New York City and offices in Tokyo and Montreal.

The AAA games industry requires huge investments, and has outgrown its former business model of relying on dedicated consoles and devices, Wada said at TGS. "The industry will only continue its expansion, but in due time a correction to this path is necessary," Polygon reported Wada as saying. Wada's goal for Shinra Technologies is to have it host AAA games via cloud-based architecture. He predicted 2016 to be a key year for cloud technology and expects the streaming-based tech to power new types of games.

The upcoming Japanese beta for the Shinra service will include a version of Agni's next-gen game engine tech demo, Philosophy, as well as a new game called Space Sweeper. Also included will be several Square Enix games, including Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider and, of course, Final Fantasy VII.

The official website for Shinra states betas for both Japan and America are expected to start in early 2015. "Firm content lineup" as well as service requirements will be unveiled at a later time. The official site also notes that Shinra has already begun talks with "best-in-class developers worldwide," and even includes a quote from Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot. "Ubisoft has long believed that the cloud will play an important part in gaming's future," he said. "We are intrigued by the direction Shinra Technologies, Inc. is taking and look forward to seeing what their architecture and technologies can deliver."

What do you think of Square Enix's latest venture? Are you willing to give up consoles if it means getting access to the library of Square Enix and its partners?

Source: Polygon, Shinra Technologies

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