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Square Enix reveals NEO: The World Ends With You underperformed



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During Square Enix's Financial Results Briefing Session for the six-month period ending on September 30th, they revealed that NEO: The World Ends With You underperformed at release. The company acknowledged that the game was well received by audiences, but did not reach their sales expectations.Β 

While the HD Games sub-segment released such home console titles as "OUTRIDERS," "NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…", "NEO: The World Ends with You," and "Life is Strange: True Colors," its net sales were lower than in the same period of the previous fiscal year, which had seen the release of "FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE" and "Marvel's Avengers."

[...]

While β€œNEO: The World Ends with You” was well received by users, it has underperformed our initial expectations.

The game released on July 27th, 2021 on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch consoles and for the Epic Game Store for PC on September 28th, 2021.Β 

Read our review of NEO: The World Ends With You!Β Follow Kingdom Hearts Insider onΒ FacebookΒ andΒ TwitterΒ for the latest updates onΒ Kingdom Hearts UnionΒ Ο‡ [Cross], Kingdom Hearts Dark Road, Kingdom Hearts III, Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory,Β and all thingsΒ Kingdom HeartsΒ andΒ The World Ends With You!

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The_Echo

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Not exactly a big surprise that they didn't match the combined sales of FFVIIR and Avengers

Kind of a bummer NEO underperformed, although considering it's Square Enix I do have to question if their expectations were reasonable to begin with.
 

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Not exactly a big surprise that they didn't match the combined sales of FFVIIR and Avengers

Kind of a bummer NEO underperformed, although considering it's Square Enix I do have to question if their expectations were reasonable to begin with.
Probably not reasonable at all.

Also, they really sent the game to die with their poor marketing. Like, how hard was it to feature it during E3 since it was about to come out???

And Nomura shouldn't have been allowed to directly say "no" to KH references in that one interview because I think that probably kept curious KH fans from crossing over to check it out (and even if they left disappointed, they would have played a fun game)...and the lack of leveraging the FF references in the game to appeal to that audience...or not using game images for easy meme material...

Essentially they needed a better marketing plan behind this game.
 

KingdomKurdistan

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And Nomura shouldn't have been allowed to directly say "no" to KH references in that one interview because I think that probably kept curious KH fans from crossing over to check it out (and even if they left disappointed, they would have played a fun game)..
Nah that would have been cheap and cynical as heck
 

Alpha Baymax

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That's a shame, I was under the assumption that it was a successful game because of the constant fanart that was created on social media. Square Enix could have absolutely promoted this game at E3 but they decided not to.

Maybe Neo can be salvaged by having the cast be featured in Quadratum in the next Kingdom Hearts game. If I recall correctly, Dream Drop Distance boosted the popularity of the original The World Ends With You.
 

okhi12

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That's a shame, I was under the assumption that it was a successful game because of the constant fanart that was created on social media. Square Enix could have absolutely promoted this game at E3 but they decided not to.

Maybe Neo can be salvaged by having the cast be featured in Quadratum in the next Kingdom Hearts game. If I recall correctly, Dream Drop Distance boosted the popularity of the original The World Ends With You.
I don't know the game's budget or its global sales, so this is just a guess, but I think NEO was successful, otherwise they wouldn't say it was well received. I think it's more like Square Enix expected it would sell a lot and be highly profitable but in the end it sold just fine. It was profitable but not extremely profitable.

To be honest I don't think the game had a big budget in comparison to other Square Enix franchises but it was a full price title anyway. Not saying the game wasn't worthy of its price but I can understand why many people would want to wait for a discount. I did that with Melody of Memory, i didn't want to pay 60€ for that game and waited until I found it for 40€.
 

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Nah that would have been cheap and cynical as heck
Considering their β€œexpectations”, they should have been cheap and cynical. Also any company willing to take EGS money should also be fine baiting an audience to drive sales lol

Lord knows they already baited them for years with sequel bait lol
 

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I think we all knew this deep down, but I guess we needed an official confirmation to snuff out any denial.

I do wonder what their expectations were. TWEWY has always been niche even if it has a lot of die hard fans. So does "underperformed our initial expectations" mean that they were expecting a breakout hit and didn't get one, or did they manage their expectations but it still failed to clear a low bar?
 

Sakuraba Neku

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It's frustrating because the game is well received by the people who played it, it just didn't get a big audience. It didn't even got a nomination in Game Awards for Best RPG or Best Music. I know Game Awards is usually for more mainstream games, but i wasn't expecting it to be ignored like that. Honestly nothing this year comes close to NEO music. Nothing.

Best thing Square did was not make NEO a Nintendo Switch exclusive. It would be even worse. Just release it everywhere to reach more people.
 

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And Nomura shouldn't have been allowed to directly say "no" to KH references in that one interview because I think that probably kept curious KH fans from crossing over to check it out (and even if they left disappointed, they would have played a fun game)
That is.....completely awful. And...explains so many things wrong with this site. You want TWEWY to so desperately be some sort of KH spin-off that you intentionally want people mislead about what it actually is?

Accept it for what's there: A great series that stands on its own. It may not be very successful, but it is loved and appreciated by its small and dedicated fanbase. Intentionally misleading people to draw connections that aren't there is just the most cynical kind of bullshit and it just makes no sense whatsoever to begin with. You'd rather force an extremely awkward, easily avoidable situation in a vain attempt to force a franchise connection instead of market it properly and let it stand on its own.

No thank you. >:< I'd rather have it being a financial failure than put it in such a weird spot that you suggested at a mere chance of success. You seem to forget that Final Remix really, really, REALLY soured people a few years back...
 

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That is.....completely awful. And...explains so many things wrong with this site. You want TWEWY to so desperately be some sort of KH spin-off that you intentionally want people mislead about what it actually is?

Accept it for what's there: A great series that stands on its own. It may not be very successful, but it is loved and appreciated by its small and dedicated fanbase. Intentionally misleading people to draw connections that aren't there is just the most cynical kind of bullshit and it just makes no sense whatsoever to begin with. You'd rather force an extremely awkward, easily avoidable situation in a vain attempt to force a franchise connection instead of market it properly and let it stand on its own.

No thank you. >:< I'd rather have it being a financial failure than put it in such a weird spot that you suggested at a mere chance of success. You seem to forget that Final Remix really, really, REALLY soured people a few years back...
? I don’t want the games to be connected, I want SE to utilize their existing fanbases. You see how quick KH fans were to drop interest the second Nomura said it had no relation to KH. There was no reason for SE to deflate interest when it was keeping a specific group of people interested in their product, even though that interest was misguided. It didn’t even need to be dishonest. Just don’t answer questions like that. That is all they needed to do.

SE had no problems doing this in the past with their other franchises. Why was this the game where they became super honest?

Final Remix soured people but look at the hype surrounding the announcement of NTWEWY. There was clearly interest from all around.

You would rather let the series die than let people hype themselves into playing a game for their own reasons?
 

GreyouTT

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A shame there was no gaming related conference or live streams they could have shown trailers for this on. Especially ones that were a month before release. By the way, have you heard of Guardians of the Galaxy?
 

Alpha Baymax

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I don't know the game's budget or its global sales, so this is just a guess, but I think NEO was successful, otherwise they wouldn't say it was well received. I think it's more like Square Enix expected it would sell a lot and be highly profitable but in the end it sold just fine. It was profitable but not extremely profitable.
There's not really a correlation between critical acclaim and sales. Yes, good critical acclaim can boost sales but it's not always the deciding factor towards a games financial success. If Square Enix says it financially underperformed then we'll have to take their word for it.

You also have to remember that this is a HD game so the expectations for profitability are much higher by default because it was a much more expensive game to create than its predecessor.
 

Underwater Cop

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You see how quick KH fans were to drop interest the second Nomura said it had no relation to KH.
That's......not even remotely true. Interest was dropped because they marketed the game for shit. I was pumped for the announcement trailer, and even I genuinely forgot the game was coming out until like...a month out from release. That's why interest was dropped. People forgot! And again, Final Remix! People who didn't play the original DS game didn't exactly have much to look forward to - it was either a mobile port, or a super crappy overpriced port of the mobile port.

And if you can say anything positive about their crap marketing, at least they didn't actively engage in lying and misleading people on what it even was just to move a few units. That just would've made things worse! You move a few units, only at the expense of people who bought it ending up pissed off. You want Nomura and Kando and the rest of the devs to be known as the Japanese Peter Molyneux? Hell naw. You don't sell fans of Malcom in the Middle on Breaking Bad by calling the latter a spin-off because, I dunno, they share the same actor. First off, it's stupid. Secondly, it's misleading. If it is its own thing, you let it stand on its own merits, not some imaginary connection that doesn't exist. Yes, Square didn't let it stand up on its own merits, but you don't fix that by creating imaginary connections that don't exist!

I'll give credit where it's due: KHInsider was one of the few sites that spent extensive time covering it, as did you. ...Even though this is a Kingdom Hearts site, and that isn't a Kingdom Hearts series. But reading your thoughts on this, I think we should all be really, really, really glad you and your cynical ass "strategies" didn't go anywhere near an official marketing meeting. Small blessings!

So...I'm just gonna chalk this whole thing up as you being really upset about the game failing, and you're in a very emotional condition over it lol. You're venting! So....just look the bright side. You're a fan of the series, and you got a kickass sequel to it that you got to enjoy. The game also doesn't end on a huge cliffhanger or anything either - a few dangling bits here and there just in case, but for the most part a closed and complete story with a proper ending. You don't see much of that these days! It's either endless sequels, or projects that abruptly fail because they're obsessed with pumping out endless sequels!
 

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That's......not even remotely true. Interest was dropped because they marketed the game for shit. I was pumped for the announcement trailer, and even I genuinely forgot the game was coming out until like...a month out from release. That's why interest was dropped. People forgot! And again, Final Remix! People who didn't play the original DS game didn't exactly have much to look forward to - it was either a mobile port, or a super crappy overpriced port of the mobile port.

And if you can say anything positive about their crap marketing, at least they didn't actively engage in lying and misleading people on what it even was just to move a few units. That just would've made things worse! You move a few units, only at the expense of people who bought it ending up pissed off. You want Nomura and Kando and the rest of the devs to be known as the Japanese Peter Molyneux? Hell naw. You don't sell fans of Malcom in the Middle on Breaking Bad by calling the latter a spin-off because, I dunno, they share the same actor. First off, it's stupid. Secondly, it's misleading. If it is its own thing, you let it stand on its own merits, not some imaginary connection that doesn't exist. Yes, Square didn't let it stand up on its own merits, but you don't fix that by creating imaginary connections that don't exist!

I'll give credit where it's due: KHInsider was one of the few sites that spent extensive time covering it, as did you. ...Even though this is a Kingdom Hearts site, and that isn't a Kingdom Hearts series. But reading your thoughts on this, I think we should all be really, really, really glad you and your cynical ass "strategies" didn't go anywhere near an official marketing meeting. Small blessings!

So...I'm just gonna chalk this whole thing up as you being really upset about the game failing, and you're in a very emotional condition over it lol. You're venting! So....just look the bright side. You're a fan of the series, and you got a kickass sequel to it that you got to enjoy. The game also doesn't end on a huge cliffhanger or anything either - a few dangling bits here and there just in case, but for the most part a closed and complete story with a proper ending. You don't see much of that these days! It's either endless sequels, or projects that abruptly fail because they're obsessed with pumping out endless sequels!
☺️ Oh boy I sure am super emotional and venting even though I’m not the one who took their time out of their day to create an account on this website just to complain about one random user’s post because it really upset them.

You can have your ideas and I can have mine on what would have been a better approach. That’s the fun about opinions. It doesn’t affect anything in the end because the game’s already failed and it’ll slide into cult status like the original and everything spoken after is just people whining about something they couldn’t control.

All I’m saying is that Nomura even addressing a comment about TWEWY and KH together was a bad idea and one of the many marketing missteps they made. It absolutely did cause harm because I had the pleasure of viewing the fallout on Twitter for days. And I didn’t say they needed to lie or mislead. Not speaking on something isn’t misleading. That question should have never been asked or answered is all I’m saying. Let people imagine what they want. It’s Nomura’s own fault for associating TWEWY to KH in the first place. He was the one who tried leveraging that fanbase to make TWEWY more popular then balked at the mess he made after the fact once he realized people kept asking him about the relationship between the two.

Utilizing existing fanbases isn’t misleading. Something as simple as β€œFrom the team who brought you Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy” would have been honest and confidence-inspiring for a wary audience. β€œMiki Yamashita’s rise from designer in KHUX to one of the main character designers in TWEWY” as a featured video showing off her work is simple enough. She had some of the best designs and character ideas of the game.

Doing something similar for each designer and for Nomura and Kando and Ito and Ishimoto would have been great.

Doing fun posts about stuff like FanGO or the emojis or how they use β€œKweh” as would have been a cute way to appeal to FF fans.

How about something so easily effortless:
β€œNagi can Dive into people’s hearts πŸ˜‰ to free them of the Noise and Fret can Remind πŸ˜‰ people about things they’ve forgotten to find new leads in their quest to win the Reaper’s Game”

How hard is that? How is that lying? It’s playing coy but clearly targeting a certain audience. If their already hyper-active imaginations lead them to misconstrue things, let them. That is 90% of what hype is to begin with.
 

Perkilator

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I blame the complete lack of advertising for the underperformance. Couldn't even be bothered to lend a Spirit Event for Smash Ultimate to make some more people aware.

Sigh

Oh, well. It is what it is.
 

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I blame the complete lack of advertising for the underperformance. Couldn't even be bothered to lend a Spirit Event for Smash Ultimate to make some more people aware.

Sigh

Oh, well. It is what it is.
Right? Would have been so easy. Absolute bafflement at how incompetent and uncreative their marketing was. So many low-cost efforts would have at least given it some visibility.
 

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And if you can say anything positive about their crap marketing, at least they didn't actively engage in lying and misleading people on what it even was just to move a few units.

There’s a difference between actively misleading and leaving things a mystery. We can also discuss what would have been a more effective marketing strategy from a business perspective without acting like the person who suggests it is an evil corporate shill (especially when they’re very much the opposite.) But it is still No Nuance November, so not sure why I expect people to understand that.

A good answer would have been to pass on the question.

A great answer would be something like β€œNEO: TWEWY has many of the same creatives as the KH series, so they share a similar DNA and fans of KH will find a lot to enjoy.” They could have pushed that behind the scenes connection between the two series which would have been 100% valid for them to do. It would not be misleading in any way, but would have kept KH fans interested in the project.
 

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This is sadly not at all surprising, their lack of dedication to heavy marketing wasn't going to end in any other way. NEO was still a great game though.
 
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