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Square Enix announces Shinra Technologies, a new cloud gaming service for 2015

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Square Enix unveiled Shinra Technologies at Tokyo Game Show today, a new cloud gaming business to be led by Yoichi Wada, former president of Square Enix.

Shinra Technologies, named after the organization from Final Fantasy 7, is headquartered in New York City with offices in Tokyo and Montreal. The new company has partnered with Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios, which also has offices in New York, to develop games and technology.

Wada said that the newly established company will provide a "new ecosystem for the games industry." The AAA game industry requires huge investments, and older business models — reliance on consoles as dedicated game-playing devices — have been unable to maintain this ecosystem, he said.

"The industry will only continue its expansion, but in due time a correction to this path is necessary," Wada said.

More and more game players are able to play software without the need for a dedicated game console or a powerful PC, Wada said, adding, "I think this is the right direction, but if we continue on this path, game experiences will become diluted." Wada said he wants Shinra Technologies to provide the means to deliver AAA games via streaming cloud-based architecture.

He sees 2016 as a key year for cloud gaming, a technology he's seen as the future for the past few years.

Yoichi Wada

Jacob Navok, senior vice president at Shinra Technologies, said the announcement is "the first flag in the final frontier for the game industry" and hopes it "will be a call to action to other developers ... shackled by" existing technology and processes.

Ultimately, Wada said he hopes Shinra Technologies' server-based game streaming tech will empower new kinds of games.

"We needed a technical breakthrough to make this happen," he said. "If we simply bring traditional games to the cloud, you will never get a game experience that surpasses current games. We want developers to create entirely new games with revolutionary game experiences."

A technical beta for Shinra Technologies' cloud gaming service will begin in early 2015 in Japan. The beta will include a version of Agni's Philosophy, the next-gen game engine tech demo, that players will be able to manipulate in real-time.

Also included in the Japanese beta are Space Sweeper, a new game developed by Kengo Nakajima, as well as Square Enix-published titles Final Fantasy 7, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman Absolution and Tomb Raider. The titles available in the Shinra Technologies beta are not necessarily indicative of the company's service lineup, said Kristina DeRosa, director of marketing at Shinra.

Beta service for Shinra Technologies is slated to begin in the United States sometime in 2015.

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