After a subpar earnings projections in late March, which led to leadership changes at Square-Enix, the videogame publishing titan has now started a cost-cutting campaign that sees its online Manga Store service in North America and France closing down on May 23rd. At the moment, it’s been confirmed that the stores will be closed only for new purchases, and people who have already signed up and purchased content will still have access to their purchased content for an undetermined amount of time.
Square-Enix’s Manga service originally debuted during the 2010 Comicon, and was intended to provide an outlet for legal digital manga access in the US, featuring popular titles from the Shonen Gangan line underpinning the selection such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, The Record of a Fallen Vampire, and Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector.
However, the site soon encountered numerous issues regarding purchase that made it difficult to access bought content. The site was also criticized for its pricing and access limitations, with the offerings being priced equivalent to physical copies, and required a dedicated reader software to be installed on the customer’s PC. The reader was then replaced by an online reader that had trouble working on screens that didn’t have 16:9 ratios (which included a lot of tablets and notebooks that use 16:10), resulting in a lot of subscribers dropping the service.