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How does Square gather feedback from the fans?



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AegisXIII

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I have always been wondering about that: how do you think Square Enix gathers feedback from the fans? Do you think that the KH dev team (or marketing) follows the discussion in the community or not at all? Sometimes I feel they miss the mark on some aspects that could have been easily avoided should they have taken 5 minutes on any forum.
And for a new conspiracy theory: do you think that some members of the marketing team infiltrate social medias to test some of our reactions to an idea or a concept? Like: what would you think of a switch port, a final mix, etc...
 

Ballad of Caius

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Hi.

I was a Marketing Major in my Bachelor's and a Digital Marketing Major in my Master's. Although I have zero experience in the gaming industry, I presume the Marketing Department over at Square Enix Japan* has some involvement in the development of games beyond producing promotional material (screenshots, trailers, ads, scheduling interviews). It's possible that Square has a Focus Group* and the KH dev team show them the gameplay they're developing, to see if it's okay with them, if they like it, and if it has something they don't like, to see how they can workaround that issue. This is why some recent games seem to be easy: because their intended audience is a younger one, and they welcome it by making the game easier. This is the reason why the Sonic Colors Remaster is intentionally easier than the original version: to welcome newer consumers. Gamers need to realize that, as they grow, they're still the target audience, but a company needs to maintain their profitability and they do this by appealing to a larger base of consumers, as in, expanding their user base.

That said, let me address your points one by one:

how do you think Square Enix gathers feedback from the fans?
Surveys, or like I mentioned, focus groups. I know companies like Atlus prepare surveys to see what fans want from them, for example, when Atlus released a survey and one of the questions was if fans wanted to see Persona 5 on the Nintendo Switch. Companies have the option of running public surveys or running or secretly. Take for example Persona 4 Golden for Steam. It's possible Atlus held a secret survey process where they wanted to estimate demand for a Steam version of P4G. And for good measure: the game, on Steam, reached 500,000 players in just a month. And surveys are no stranger to Square Enix: remember that Square has made games, with demos, and those demos are accompanied by surveys to see what issues players found with the game. Hell, they did this with FINAL FANTASY XV: they wanted to know what you wanted out of the dev team: more patches, DLC, etc.

Do you think that the KH dev team (or marketing) follows the discussion in the community or not at all?
This could be a Digital Marketing exercise. I think it's a possibility, but I don't think it's anything major. They could use it to gauge interest in the story, but I don't don't they monitor social media in order to make better management decisions in the dev and/or writing level.

And for a new conspiracy theory: do you think that some members of the marketing team infiltrate social medias to test some of our reactions to an idea or a concept? Like: what would you think of a switch port, a final mix, etc...
This is another possibility, one more likely than following community discussions. There have been instances of companies throwing stuff around to see if they "stick". There's also the possibility of companies contacting influencers, giving them NDAs, because they want to test the waters for something, but the selected influencer can't disclose it. Let's make a hypothetical scenario where Sega contacts a gaming influencer and gives him an NDA which purpose is to randomly ask on Twitter if fans want a port of Sonic '06. Although it may seem like a random tweet on the web, it's actually a calculated strategy Sega tried, and whether or not it works, that's for them to decide based on fan reaction.


Notes:

* Remember that a majority of times, the branches of companies outside of the main one work as proxies, in this case, Square Enix of North America is more of a proxy for Japan and doesn't do major stuff

* A focus group is a group of randomly selected people whose purpose is to give their opinions. They usually include the expected audience for a product, in other words: the intended consumers of the product. In this case: a group of people that are intended to be the ones Square is targeting to play KINGDOM HEARTS
 

AegisXIII

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Hi.

I was a Marketing Major in my Bachelor's and a Digital Marketing Major in my Master's. Although I have zero experience in the gaming industry, I presume the Marketing Department over at Square Enix Japan* has some involvement in the development of games beyond producing promotional material (screenshots, trailers, ads, scheduling interviews). It's possible that Square has a Focus Group* and the KH dev team show them the gameplay they're developing, to see if it's okay with them, if they like it, and if it has something they don't like, to see how they can workaround that issue. This is why some recent games seem to be easy: because their intended audience is a younger one, and they welcome it by making the game easier. This is the reason why the Sonic Colors Remaster is intentionally easier than the original version: to welcome newer consumers. Gamers need to realize that, as they grow, they're still the target audience, but a company needs to maintain their profitability and they do this by appealing to a larger base of consumers, as in, expanding their user base.

That said, let me address your points one by one:


Surveys, or like I mentioned, focus groups. I know companies like Atlus prepare surveys to see what fans want from them, for example, when Atlus released a survey and one of the questions was if fans wanted to see Persona 5 on the Nintendo Switch. Companies have the option of running public surveys or running or secretly. Take for example Persona 4 Golden for Steam. It's possible Atlus held a secret survey process where they wanted to estimate demand for a Steam version of P4G. And for good measure: the game, on Steam, reached 500,000 players in just a month. And surveys are no stranger to Square Enix: remember that Square has made games, with demos, and those demos are accompanied by surveys to see what issues players found with the game. Hell, they did this with FINAL FANTASY XV: they wanted to know what you wanted out of the dev team: more patches, DLC, etc.


This could be a Digital Marketing exercise. I think it's a possibility, but I don't think it's anything major. They could use it to gauge interest in the story, but I don't don't they monitor social media in order to make better management decisions in the dev and/or writing level.


This is another possibility, one more likely than following community discussions. There have been instances of companies throwing stuff around to see if they "stick". There's also the possibility of companies contacting influencers, giving them NDAs, because they want to test the waters for something, but the selected influencer can't disclose it. Let's make a hypothetical scenario where Sega contacts a gaming influencer and gives him an NDA which purpose is to randomly ask on Twitter if fans want a port of Sonic '06. Although it may seem like a random tweet on the web, it's actually a calculated strategy Sega tried, and whether or not it works, that's for them to decide based on fan reaction.


Notes:

* Remember that a majority of times, the branches of companies outside of the main one work as proxies, in this case, Square Enix of North America is more of a proxy for Japan and doesn't do major stuff

* A focus group is a group of randomly selected people whose purpose is to give their opinions. They usually include the expected audience for a product, in other words: the intended consumers of the product. In this case: a group of people that are intended to be the ones Square is targeting to play KINGDOM HEARTS
That was very instructive thanks. I am a dev (not in games) and thus, I know very little about marketing.
It is true that SQENA probably has a limited of impact on the japanese production and if surveys are being taken, it might be more on the japanese side. Sometimes I wonder if the japanese audience and the western audience are aligned in term of expectations or if there is a big gap on how some characters arcs are to be developed.
 

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They have staff in Japan that lurks small fan forums, big discussion board, and social media. When we met Yasue, he mentioned they lurk the site to keep up on the lore sometimes xD

They also do internal focus testing and surveys for stuff. YT reactions from influencers is also something they look at.
 

Ballad of Caius

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When we met Yasue, he mentioned they lurk the site to keep up on the lore sometimes xD
Haha it wouldn't surprise. There is a lot to think about when it comes to KH's lore, really. And sometimes the fandom offers very good summaries of important points of the lore.
 

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They have staff in Japan that lurks small fan forums, big discussion board, and social media. When we met Yasue, he mentioned they lurk the site to keep up on the lore sometimes xD

They also do internal focus testing and surveys for stuff. YT reactions from influencers is also something they look at.
That's nice. Can we then put an alias from the lore recap directly into the shipping section to see how the next game is gonna be impacted? XD
 
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I honestly think that Square has people whose job is to monitor social media activity and pool in the data they find, so as to discuss with the higher ups. I am certain that we do get people looking at the forums. I believe it's a great way to get feedback!
 

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^ The possibility companies might skim or infiltrate a forum here or there is why I tend to repeat criticisms a great deal. I do the same on forums for other media / properties I’m interested in or follow, not just KH. It always gives the illusion to other people that I’m very negative about something, lol, but it’s more about--ideally--improving future product for me. Saying only positive things means nothing will change.

I think there have been two or three surveys I've taken part in as a KH fan before.
 
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AegisXIII

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^ The possibility companies might skim or infiltrate a forum here or there is why I tend to repeat criticisms a great deal. I do the same on forums for other media / properties I’m interested in or follow, not just KH. It always gives the illusion to other people that I’m very negative about something, lol, but it’s more about--ideally--improving future product for me. Saying only positive things means nothing will change.

I think there have been two or three surveys I've taken part in as a KH fan before.
I am somehow doing the same. Maybe we should create a board where we can put fan requests and sort them by votes. Then every month, we send a survey email to square enix.
And that's how switch ports are made. 😂
 
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And when you think about it, fans have been clamoring for remakes of not only Days and Final Fantasy VI, but many other beloved Square RPGs throughout the years. I'm sure that the company knows what the fans want, but I wonder if they are considering said remakes within their plans?
 

Ballad of Caius

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but I wonder if they are considering said remakes within their plans?
These ideas have always been in the minds of the people involved in the projects. Like how the remake for FINAL FANTASY VII has always been in the mind of devs, until it finally happened. Same goes for the people involved in the other FINAL FANTASY's.
 

Sign

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And when you think about it, fans have been clamoring for remakes of not only Days and Final Fantasy VI, but many other beloved Square RPGs throughout the years. I'm sure that the company knows what the fans want, but I wonder if they are considering said remakes within their plans?
Can't speak for FF since that's a whole other ball game, but I doubt anyone working with KH is seriously thinking about remaking Days right now. Besides a vocal minority of Days diehards, no one's really clamoring for it. Not only that but if there's one game that does need a remade, I think we can agree it should be UX.
 

Ballad of Caius

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Can't speak for FF since that's a whole other ball game, but I doubt anyone working with KH is seriously thinking about remaking Days right now. Besides a vocal minority of Days diehards, no one's really clamoring for it. Not only that but if there's one game that does need a remade, I think we can agree it should be UX.
Pretty much list. In a list of priorities of games to be remade and stories to be told, a Days Remake would be on the bottom of said list.
 

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They have staff in Japan that lurks small fan forums, big discussion board, and social media. When we met Yasue, he mentioned they lurk the site to keep up on the lore sometimes xD

They also do internal focus testing and surveys for stuff. YT reactions from influencers is also something they look at.

To go along with what @Oracle Spockanort said, didn't Nomura mention in an interview for KH at one time, after KH3, that he believes that some fans' theories tended to be "reaching" (I think was the word)? Plus, I think I read an article about FF7R somewhere that mentioned that some of the developers are aware of the fanbase and their theories. I think it was Tai Yasue who mentioned it? But I can't quite remember...
 

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Can't speak for FF since that's a whole other ball game, but I doubt anyone working with KH is seriously thinking about remaking Days right now. Besides a vocal minority of Days diehards, no one's really clamoring for it. Not only that but if there's one game that does need a remade, I think we can agree it should be UX.

Pretty much. It's only 358/2 Days enthusiasts. I would predict that they would put effort into remaking KHUx than focusing on such a self-contained and unnecessary game like Days. It's time to move forward, not backwards.





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Keep in mind that they probably lurk Japanese sites. I doubt they care on discussions overseas.

There was so much backlash with KHIII, that Re:Mind tried to put a non-stick band aid on it that fell. So they are aware, at least if loud enough. But I feel that they still missed the point.
 
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These ideas have always been in the minds of the people involved in the projects. Like how the remake for FINAL FANTASY VII has always been in the mind of devs, until it finally happened. Same goes for the people involved in the other FINAL FANTASY's.
Indeed. We'll just have to wait and see if a remake for VI is eventually made!
Can't speak for FF since that's a whole other ball game, but I doubt anyone working with KH is seriously thinking about remaking Days right now. Besides a vocal minority of Days diehards, no one's really clamoring for it. Not only that but if there's one game that does need a remade, I think we can agree it should be UX.
Oh, absolutely! With UX being the game in the series a lot of people passed on due to it being a mobile game, it would benefit the most from the remake treatment!
 
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