It looks like Square Enix has one of those mobile hits it’s always chasing after.
Since debuting March 24, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper has already surpassed 1 million downloads on iOS and Android. The free-to-play mobile hit has players trying to restore memories of the heroic deeds from previous Final Fantasy games. Fans of the series can relive their favorite moments in what is really the gaming equivalent of a “greatest hits” anthology. That play on nostalgia has definitely helped the game catch on and find an audience. And success on mobile is more important than ever for game makers — especially in Japan — as the worldwide market for smartphone and tablet apps could reach $30 billion this year, according to Newzoo.
And Final Fantasy: Record Keeper isn’t just racking up the downloads. It is already one of the most lucrative games in the world. It has reached as high as the No. 4 spot on the top-grossing apps chart for iPhone in Japan, which is the biggest market for mobile in terms of spending. In the United States, it is in the top 50 on iOS and Android, which is impressive for a game that is only a few weeks old.
This represents publisher Square Enix’s latest attempt to make a mobile Final Fantasy hit. While the company still produces huge triple-A games — Final Fantasy XV is due out later this year — it has obviously seen the success of billion-dollar games on mobile like Puzzle & Dragons and Clash of Clans. This has led to games like Final Fantasy: Agito, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, and Final Fantasy: Dimensions. All of these failed to catch on and were widely seen as poor representations of the franchise by fans.
This repeated failure may have led Square Enix to go ahead an ink a deal with Japanese mobile-gaming powerhouse DeNA, which recently partnered with Nintendo on its efforts to make games for smartphones. DeNA is listed as the publisher on Record Keeper, and that company likely took its experience working with brands like Transformers and G.I. Joe when developing Record Keeper. And now that has paid off.