May 28, 1959 |
Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
|Alma mater||University of Tokyo|
|Occupation||President of Shinra Technologies
Outside director of Metaps
|Salary||¥240 million (2010)|
|Board member of||Shinra Technologies, Metaps|
Yoichi Wada (和田 洋一 Wada Yōichi) (born May 28, 1959 in Nagoya, Japan) is a former president and representative director of the Japanese video game and publishing company Square Enix as well as its subsidiary Taito. He is also the former chairman of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA), the former chairman of the Digital Content Use Promotion Conference and a former member of Japanese Brand and Contents Council
He is the current president of Shinra Technologies and a current outside director of Metaps.
Wada was born on May 28, 1959 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. As a student, Wada wanted to become the president of a company as a profession, rather than gradually working his way up in a company through his entire career. He set for himself the objective of becoming a president by the age of 40. After receiving a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Tokyo, he went through an apprenticeship in the financial services group and global investment bank Nomura Securities in order to build a track record. Starting in 1984, he served in the group as part of the corporate strategy division, the investment banking division, and finally the controller division. He also worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in Warsaw, Poland. In 2000, he decided to join "a company with a 'theme'", and, thinking that one of the themes of the 21st century was "creating society", chose the video game company Square.
Square and Square Enix
Wada joined Square in April 2000. He became an executive director and chief financial officer in June, the representative director and chief operating officer in September, and finally the president and chief executive officer in December. He helped reform the company's management system. When Square merged with Enix, he became the new company's president and representative director. Under his presidency, Square Enix acquired the video game companies Taito, in 2005, and the British video game publisher Eidos Interactive, in 2009. Wada also became the president and representative director of Taito following the subsidiary's restructuring in July 2006. Wada has stated that consolidation has been "part of [his] plan" since 2000, as he had foreseen "the first phase of a major reformation of the industry" and had concluded that "there was a limit to what [Square Enix] could do with the wholly independent business culture [the company] worked within". On March 26, 2013, Yoichi Wada announced his resignation as CEO of Square Enix, and that he will be replaced by former company director Yosuke Matsuda. The change was expected to go into effect in June 2013.
Square Enix revealed that Wada resigned from his post in May 2013 and as of June 2013 took up his new post as Chairman of the Board of Square Enix Co., Ltd. however he did not hold the right of representation for the company. In June 2015, Wada left Square Enix after the end of his contractual term, the final day of which was June 16, 2015.
Wada became the chairman of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association (CESA) in May 2006. The aim of the association is to promote the computer entertainment industry through research activities and exhibitions, including the annual Tokyo Game Show. In March 2012, it was announced that he would step down from his position at CESA formally in May 2012. He was replaced by Namco Bandai's Vice President Shin Unozawa. He had also held the position of Chairman of the Digital Content Use Promotion Conference of the Keidanren and was also a member of the Japanese Brand and Contents Council.
In September 2014, Square Enix announced the establishment of Shinra Technologies, an autonomous subsidiary offering cloud-based gaming services. Wada, the founder of Shinra Technologies serves as its President. In an interview with GameSpot in March 2015, Wada said the goal of the company was to offer the cloud-based gaming service as a platform with new and exclusive content instead of pre-existing content like other. He also said that their cloud-based gaming service would utilise supercomputers which will allow developers to create games of a higher quality than what is possible for modern consoles and personal computers. On May 11, 2015; Metaps, an application analysis and marketing company announced that Wada had joined their company as an outside director.
Views on the industry
In January 2010, Wada, asked about his opinion on "big-budget, long-in-development" Square Enix games such as Final Fantasy XIII, noted: "[W]hether we are going to continue to internally create this type of game remains to be seen, because I actually feel that the team that was involved with Final Fantasy XIII should next move on to create and generate some 'next generation' forms of play. Internally and externally I feel there's an expectation of Square Enix to offer something new, and I really think that the Final Fantasy team could create something completely different, but at the moment they're strictly catering to the particular audience they have now."
Wada considers that video game piracy "does a lot of damage" to the industry, especially, in Japan, with R4 cards for the Nintendo DS. The R4 was banned in Japan after Nintendo, Square Enix and Capcom brought the issue to court in 2009. Nevertheless, Wada noted that "no matter what happens, what can be copied will be copied", and that Square Enix thus needs to base its business on "something that cannot be copied"; he cited personalized saves and "the worth of the human relationships in the communities that build around the games" as possible solutions.
In November 2009, Wada stated: "In ten years' time, a lot of what we call 'console games' won't exist". According to him, the main strategy of console manufacturers has switched from hardware to network starting in 2005, with "any kind of terminal becom[ing] a potential platform". He claimed that "all distributors and sales firms will suffer a big negative impact", that format holders such as Sony and Microsoft are already prepared, while third-party companies must adapt. Square Enix has increased its production of social and browser games in anticipation for this change, though Wada stressed that "there is no way Square Enix will relax its attitude towards" traditional brands such as Final Fantasy, noting that "there will always be a co-existence of something old and new".
As a teenager and young student, Wada was a fan of Pong, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Xevious. When he lived in Warsaw, he also enjoyed games from the Nobunaga's Ambition and Romance of the Three Kingdoms computer game series. He considers that, before joining Square, he was an "uneducated consumer", as he was a "big fan" of Final Fantasy but did not know that the company was responsible for the series. He particularly liked early 3D games, including D and titles from the Myst, Resident Evil and Metal Gear series. Nowadays, Wada proactively tries to play as many Western games as possible — for example, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — and provides comments about these games to Square Enix's staff. Wada has a Twitter account.
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