Square Enix parting with Hitman developer, IO Interactive

Square Enix has announced that it’s selling off Hitman developer IO Interactive. The studio has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the publisher since 2009, and the decision puts big question marks around their future.  The news came from Square Enix’s investor relations page, where they published the announcement and their timeframe of when they plan to make the sale.

According to the announcement, Square Enix will be withdrawing from IO Interactive on 31 March 2017, as the financial year comes to a close. In their own words, this is being done to “maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios.” Square Enix is expecting to take a financial battering from this, and the announcement warns of an “extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen”. That’s a whopping R5.8 billion in our currency. Their plan is now to find an investor who can buy IO Interactive off them, to save them some of this loss.

This makes Hitman and its developer’s future uncertain. The episodic Hitman reboot has been reviewed highly, but that may not be reflected in its sales. According to SteamDB.info, since launching in March 2016 Hitman has sold roughly 623,000 copies. Other Square Enix title Rise of the Tomb Raider, which launched a month earlier, has far exceeded that with 1.4 million sales. Granted, this is only data for the Steam version, but it may be indicative of console as well.