Adobe Systems Incorporated

Square Enix: Worldwide Gaming Entertainment

Using Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise as its foundation, digital entertainment content provider Square Enix Co., Ltd brings fantastic stories to fans around the world.

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Creating unforgettable experiences

“Spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences” is the corporate philosophy of Square Enix. Building on this philosophy, the company delivers high-quality entertainment and services to fans around the world.
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From classic game series including Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy to popular comic series FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST and Black Butler, Square Enix is home to countless hits. And Adobe’s creative software, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC, are part of the backbone upon which these creations are built.

Square Enix deployed Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise across its creative teams. Creative Cloud gives all development staff access to the latest creative applications and the Adobe Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA) helps the company improve software asset management and compliance.

Managing large-scale software licenses

Square Enix supports more than 2,000 employees in its Tokyo headquarters alone. The vast majority of those employees are involved with creative development; each developer has two to three high-performance computers, each with a wide range of necessary applications. Managing software licenses associated with each of those systems is a complex task.

“We want our developers to use the latest software to produce the best entertainment possible,” says Daishiro Okada, general manager at Square Enix. “But, when we took cost into consideration, we couldn’t always provide every employee with the most recent updates. As a result, employees were sometimes working with different software versions than their co-workers as well as on each of their own machines. Keeping track of all of this took an inordinate amount of time and effort.”

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Helping train new employees

To create fantastic entertainment, Square Enix developers need the skills to get the most out of the latest technologies. “We want to provide training on the latest technologies to help our employees improve their skills, regardless of the software version they are using,” says Okada. “And, ideally, we want to provide knowledge that applies to all of our employees.”

Complying with standards

Square Enix considers compliance with software usage regulations to be of utmost importance. “As a company that deals with the creation and distribution of digital content, we strongly recognize the importance of licensing and compliance,” says Okada. However, in an environment with multiple types of software and versions, eliminating unauthorized software usage can be a much more laborious task.

Reducing license management

Square Enix signed an ETLA for Adobe Creative Cloud to help improve the creative environment, simplify license management, and strengthen compliance. “Working with the Adobe enterprise agreement dramatically reduced the amount of work required for license management,” says Okada. “The ability to manage the licenses for all of our software centrally, without needing to pay attention to versions, has led to unbelievable administrative efficiencies.”

Square Enix developed an environment where users can download and install whatever software applications they need from an internal server. Only the agreed number of licenses can be issued, which greatly contributes to better compliance. The system also eliminates the need to connect to an external server, which reduces the risk of access to unauthorized copies.

Improving skills with free access

By deploying Adobe Creative Cloud, development staff can download the software that they need, when they need it, from the internal server. All creators, from experts to beginners, share the same cutting-edge environment. As a result, development teams can improve their creative skills while working to produce unique products and services.

“Most employees jumped into using Adobe Premiere Pro CC right away,” says Tomoyuki Hiraoka, KSK procurement supervisor in the general affairs department at Square Enix. “Many people wanted Premiere Pro CC, but we previously limited access to keep costs down; now everyone can have the applications they want through Creative Cloud.”

“Creating the best entertainment ultimately requires not only the best possible output, but also the best possible processes,” says Okada. “Using the latest technologies in Creative Cloud, we’re providing our developers an environment where they can quickly create brand new entertainment.”

Reducing annual costs

While analyzing the new licensing model, cost was a primary concern for Square Enix. Even if the new model improved licensing management, the efficiencies would not be worth it if costs also increased. The company examined costs from all angles, including initial purchasing and upgrade fees.

“Compared to our previous licensing model, we calculated that Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise reduces our costs by an amount equivalent to two full-time staff per year,” says Hiraoka. “The cost savings were a major factor in our decision to work with Creative Cloud.”

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Shifting the focus to online content

The video game market is changing rapidly, expanding from traditional home console games to an increasing number of mobile games played on smartphones and tablets. Square Enix is also focusing on development and delivery of online and social games played over networks.

“New types of devices will continue to enter the market, and we want to provide the best content and services for all of those devices,” says Okada. “Creative Cloud already has an established reputation for use in developing content on multiple devices and we believe that it will form a strong backbone for building our mobile services.”

Developing for the global stage

In addition to offices in Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles, Square Enix has additional creative studios in Montreal, Copenhagen, Shanghai, and San Francisco for a total of more than 3,500 development staff. The company plans to grow international operations in the future.

“Currently, each international office handles its operations independently, but we are looking to unify the development environment and management system on a global level,” says Okada. “We want to pull in top talent from not just Japan, but around the world, and provide them all with an excellent work environment. Expanding use of Adobe Creative Cloud globally would be ideal. If we can consolidate global license management, we will improve administrative efficiency and improve compliance even further.

Read the Square Enix case study.

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Creative Spotlight: Pete the Duck

Recently, we discovered an Adobe Ideas fan that incorporates the app into his creative workflow to publish an entertaining web comic series. This fan, who prefers to go by an alias of one of his creations – “pete the duck” – uses the Touch Apps throughout his comic creation process.
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We caught up with him to better understand his creative process and learn how Adobe Ideas plays a role in his comic-creation development. See his responses in the full Q&A below, and check out our new Twitter background featuring his work.

Creative Layer: When were you first introduced to Adobe Touch Apps? What was your very first creation?

pete the duck: Last Fall, I was directed to Adobe Ideas after searching online reviews of the best drawing apps for the iPad. Since then, I’ve tried other drawing applications, including some that even cost more than Adobe Ideas, but none have had the quality and ease of use of Adobe Ideas. I primarily have used Adobe Ideas to create comics based around the Halo video game franchise that feature a character of my own creation, pete the duck.

How have the Adobe Touch Apps change your creative workflow?

In short, Adobe Ideas has made my creative workflow possible. I would not be creating the work that I create without this tool.

Where’s your favorite location to create? Outside? Inside? On the go?

As my work is very casual, I enjoy a casual environment to draw in. I create most of my art while relaxing on my couch.

What time of day do you find yourself creating with Adobe Touch Apps? Morning? Afternoon? Night?

I use it throughout the day. It’s easy to pick up Adobe Ideas and sketch an idea in the morning and then come back and compete it in the afternoon or evening.

How much of a difference has direct touch input made to your creations?

Although I am not a professional artist, I have always had an interest in drawing. Several years ago, I purchased an art tablet and professional graphics program for my computer. I used them for months, but I could never overcome the disconnect that occurs when you draw on a tablet while the image appears not where you are drawing, but on a monitor several inches away. I have always been better with paper and pencil, where there is no disconnect and you have a precise and tangible connection with your drawing as you create it. I resorted to drawing in pencil, scanning the image, and attempting to enhance and color the image digitally–often with poor results. Adobe Ideas has let me retain that real connection with my work that you get from paper and pencil while gaining all of the quality advantages of fully digital drawing.

Of the different Touch Apps, which is most instrumental to your creative process and why?

The only Adobe Touch App that I use is Adobe Ideas – but it is a powerful drawing App and is the only tool that I need to express my creativity!

If you had the opportunity to travel to anywhere in the world with your Touch Apps, where would it be and why?

I would love to visit Japan and use Adobe Ideas in studying their calligraphy.

What are the top three sources you look to for inspiration?

I have always had an interest in art in general and I especially enjoy natural landscapes and skies. I am a fan of science fiction, which is a great source of inspiration as well. I also have a one-year old daughter who has given me much lighthearted inspiration that I can’t resist instilling in my work.

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