The lights are on
Square Enix has adopted a mobile strategy that that has been slow to adapt to consumer expectations. As many publishers are pushing toward universal apps that work on all iOS devices, Square Enix has only recently moved away from multiple purchases. Prices have traditionally been low in the mobile space, but the company's titles (many of which are re-released classics) cost more than some Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network offerings. Worst of all, the most recent adaptation of the long-running RPG series was quite terrible.
It could be that Final Fantasy Tactics S, just announced in Japan as a free-to-play title, could take the company in a new direction for phones and tablets. The description doesn't offer much hope, though. According to a translation of the official website on FinalFantasy.net, players lead a clan in protecting the light of a crystal. There will be both single-player, social-based multiplayer content, and of course, lots of opportunities for real money purchases.
Adapting a turn-based strategy game to free-to-play model that is also profitable seems very difficult. However, given the races, jobs, and monsters borrowed from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the protection elements, and the mention of clan leadership, this title does not actually feature the strategic play we're expecting. For example, a re-skinned Clash of Clans set in Ivalice would work, without completely abandoning strategic elements.
It's unknown whether Square Enix will bring Final Fantasy Tactics S to western shores. However, given the company's profit problems of late, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see an attempt to capitalize on fans with open wallets. The official site (in Japanese) offers the opportunity to pre-register for the game.
[Source: Square Enix via Final Fantasy Network]