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Suffice to say that these Pokémon have been around anyway, but now Nintendo's Pokémon Company has struck an agreement with Square Enix to develop Pokémon, a chat and mail application doused with Pokémon media and soon to be made available on Foma 900i series phones in Japan. A wise decision, especially considering Square Enix's success in mobile exploits such as Before Crisis. Though releasing this summer for a paltry 200 yen ($1.74 USD) per month, Pokémate will likely not see a stateside release, seeing as how the franchise's popularity in the US has taken a swift kick to the groin in recent times.

In a recent press release, Square Enix announced their settlement in a piracy case involving Final Fantasy VII:Advent Children and declared their intentions toward increased anti-piracy efforts. On April 17, the company reached a "confidential settlement" with a copyright infringer who uploaded Advent Children in its entirety to Google Video, only to be swiftly discovered and forced into an admission of guilt by Square Enix's persistent legal department. Though it is arguable this poor soul was only attempting to provide a service to parts of the world plagued by the company's long localization times, Square Enix sees things differently. "In connection with [...] Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children," said Yasuhiko Hasegawa, Square Enix's General Manager of Legal Affairs, "we are actively pursuing those who commit intellectual property infringement against our company." Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children releases legally in Europe and North America on April 24 and 25, respectively.

Journeys on a Piano: Alexey Yemtsov summary

This CD contains performances from Eminence Symphony Orchestra's Piano Stories III. The concert in true Eminence style showed off both Final Fantasy and anime powerhouse Studio Ghibli pieces.

All of the pieces were played with precision, much to the delight of piano fans. Alexey Yemtsov is one of Australia's greatest pianists, and it shows. The CD was sold at both the Melbourne and Sydney performances. It is hoped the album will be available online in the future.

In a recent interview, Final Fantasy XI producer Hiromichi Tanaka let slip his possibility of his working on a new MMORPG for the approaching Playstation 3 and Windows Vista. Though he offered no more pieces of information, Tanaka did mention that a PS3 version of Final Fantasy XI would take two or three years to construct, thereby making any such endeavor an inefficient use of resources and his team's time better spent developing a new title.

Despite more optimistic initial numbers, Square Enix has since lowered its projections for the 2005/2006 fiscal year, with net sales at 125 billion yen ($1.06 billion USD) and net profit at 10 billion yen ($84.67 million USD), the latter figure a whopping 42.9% lower than previous estimations. Although high-profile titles such as Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII helped to bolster sales, profits were damaged by the lack of top-sellers during the period from April through September. And despite the relative success of Final Fantasy XI, Squeenix's other MMO ventures have not gone successfully; likely the cause of their discontinued Everquest II support. What course will the company take in light of these events? That is difficult to say, but with the inability to point a finger squarely at Hironobu Sakaguchi, a renewed business strategy may be necessary.

Own an X-Box 360? Ready for some real Square Enix RPG goodness? Keep waiting. In a recent Microsoft press conference, Square Enix unveiled Project Sylph, their newest foray into next-gen first person shooters. Thankfully, Star Ocean creators Tri-Ace also announced an RPG being developed for Microsoft Game Studios while Squeenix expatriate Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker provided trailers for Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. Given some time, your 360 purchase may have actually been worthwhile. Maybe.1

  1. RPGFan

You won't be hearing any Wagner at Roppongi's Laforet Museum this June 4th, but fans of Tri-Ace are in for a treat. Famed composer Motoi Sakuraba will be holding a concert to celebrate the impending release of Valkyrie Profile Silmeria. The concert's instrumentation will consist of only a bass, drums, and piano (the latter performed by Sakuraba himself) and will feature music not only from Valkyrie Profile and Silmeria, but also the Star Ocean series as well. Tickets will be available tomorrow at Square Enix's official site; Valkyrie Profile Silmeria releases June 22nd in Japan.

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