Square Enix Launches Online Manga Store

Hey everyone, I just got this press release from Square Enix and thought I’d share. Normally I wouldn’t post just straight PR copy, but I don’t have the time to really sit and analyze it what with deadlines looming and packing for my trip tomorrow.

What I can comment on is that a) the price seems a little high to me, although I feel like $5.99 is around the digital manga industry standard price…And it’s only a SALE price? You mean it’s going to be higher than that normally? And b) you have to install something onto your computer in order to view the  e-books, which just seems very old-tech to me.

But still, this is just their launch, so perhaps Square Enix will figure out that perhaps they need to make some more changes. Like making the manga available on e-readers for that price…I hope manga publishers will soon recognize that manga buyers are going to want to KEEP their digital copies around.

Please let me know what you think in the comments section! (It looks like they’re bringing Pandora Hearts and Bamboo Blade out in January.)

SQUARE ENIX LAUNCHES ONLINE MANGA STORE

Market-leading titles including Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater

Now Available Via Digital Distribution

Special Sale Price Now Available for a Limited Time

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 17, 2010) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in North America, today announced the launch of its online manga store, where users and fans can view electronic editions of popular Square Enix manga series, such as Fullmetal Alchemist® and Soul Eater®. Users can access the store through the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS website, a free-to-register membership site operated by local subsidiaries of Square Enix (http://publications.na.square-enix.com/na/us/top).

Through the new service, SQUARE ENIX aims to provide a global audience with easy access to localized versions of its popular manga titles through streaming. Also, through cooperation with regional localization/publishing companies, SQUARE ENIX will endeavor to promote both print and online versions of its manga titles globally. Furthermore, it is the company’s aim for the official online distribution service to serve as a deterrent against illegal downloading and piracy.

Anchored by established series in the United States, the online distribution service will continue to provide manga titles that will appeal to readers of the region (further details outlined below). Starting today, the initial lineup in the United States will be four titles, including Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater, available at the special sale price of $5.99 for a limited time. The first update is scheduled for January 11, 2011. New titles will be added bi-monthly after January.

The community services offered through the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS website will not only allow members to enjoy manga titles, but also supply a public forum where fans can provide commentary and exchange opinions about their favorite series. The site will also have special offers where members can download free wallpapers. Non-members can get a taste of the Japanese manga experience as well through free previews of the first chapters from each of the available titles.

Square Enix is dedicated to creating new entertainment experiences via online communities, shopping sites and other Internet-based business operations, and digital distribution of manga is one such endeavor toward that goal. The company plans to continue delivering a wide variety of content to an expanding global customer base through numerous outlets and multiple forms of media.

For details on the manga distribution service in the United States, please refer to the following:

Online Manga Store Details

Service Launch December 17, 2010
Fees and Pricing Special Launch Sale Price: $5.99 Note: Access to the online manga store requires registration with the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS service (registration free of charge). Current membership: over 1,700,000 members worldwide (as of December 1, 2010).
Access to the free previews available on the preview site does not require SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS registration. Payment method is credit card only.
System Requirements Supported Operating Systems / Browsers Windows XP / Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 3.x Windows Vista / Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 3.x, Safari 3.x Note: The newest Adobe Flash Player plug-in (version 10 or above) is required for all browsers. Display 1024 x 768 resolution or higher Internet Connection ADSL or faster
Official URL http://publications.na.square-enix.com/na/us/top

About SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS

SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS is Square Enix’s free-to-register membership website. It currently has over 1.7 million members worldwide (as of December 1, 2010). Members have access to various contents based on Square Enix titles. Members can create their own profile page and interact with other members. (http://member.square-enix.com/na/)

About Square Enix, Inc.

Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 97 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 54 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S.-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://www.square-enix.com/na/.

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