Founded in May 1998 as a joint venture between Japanese behemoth Square and American gaming giant Electronic Arts, Square EA (formally known as Square Electronic Arts, L.L.C.) distributed American Squaresoft games using EA's distribution channels. The subsidiary was led by Jun Iwasaki. Every Square game released between July 1998 and April 2003 was handled by Square EA.
The inverse occured in the Japanese market where Square is the one with massive market penetration: EA games (including their flagship line of sports titles) were released using Square's distribution channels. In a stunning display of creativity, the Japanese venture was called EA Square. This agreement will formally end on March 31, 2003.
The first wave of Square EA games were released in late 1998 in the United States, and included Xenogears, Brave Fencer Musashiden, Parasite Eve and Bushido Blade 2. Publishers Eidos Interactive (Final Fantasy VII PC Version) and Sony Computer Entertainment America (virtually everything else Square produced) were displaced by the deal, although Eidos retains distribution rights in Europe.
Square EA is set to be disbanded on March 31, 2003 as a result of the recent Square-Enix merger, which will occur on April 1, 2003. A new subsidiary called Square Enix USA will inherit North American distribution responsibilities. Jun Iwasaki is the president and CEO of the new venture.