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Developer Interview

Yoichi Egawa / Corporate Officer / Head of P&S Business Division

Capcom’s proven track record of entrusted development. Strong sales posted by the latest title, "Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams".

- First of all, I was wondering if you could tell us about the current state of the Pachinko & Pachislo machine industry.
"Egawa"
In recent years the decreasing number of parlors along with the introduction of payout regulations have clearly driven down unit sales. But thanks to the hard work of vendors, it seems that this trend has finally leveled out, though they are still having a hard time.
- What do you think is the reason behind the falling number of parlors?
"Egawa"
The problem is clearly financial. Parlors make a profit based on a combination of two factors: a large number of visitors, and a high operation rate. You need new machines to pull in a lot of visitors, and each parlor needs to work hard to keep their operation rates high, namely by doing things such as tweaking the machine settings and charging fees for rental balls. But it's difficult for a parlor to put these kinds of measures in place if it doesn't have enough cash. Small to mid-sized parlors are being squeezed out as a result of the efforts of other parlors to elevate and differentiate their services. The growth in the actual size of parlors and the emergence of chain stores has also contributed to the decline of the smaller parlors. Yet in spite of the shrinking number of parlors, the number of installed machines per parlor is increasing.
- So would you say that the overall sales of game machines is dropping as well?
"Egawa"
The number of new titles put out by vendors hasn't fallen, but generally sales in the market are heading downhill.
- What kind of machines do well in the market?
"Egawa"
I think the most popular machines are the ones that deliver attractive payout features. Machines based on popular contents also have the ability to pull in more users, while the connection with the previous version is another major factor for determining a machine's popularity. The market tends to consider contents to be especially important. For example, the reason "Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams" was such a hit, when it was released from RODEO CO., Ltd. this past March, is that it perfectly fused the previous version, which was immensely popular, with the improved quality of the newest version.
- I see. Moving on, could you tell us about the design concept behind "Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams"?
"Egawa"
This machine leaves you with a "continual sense of expectation"; you're always expecting something to happen each time the slots turn. This concept is implemented throughout the effects and storylines, which are three times more elaborate than those of the previous version. Capcom was in charge of handling the effects.
- What kind of effects have you implemented?
"Egawa"
There are a number of exciting gadgets, along with unpredictable scenarios that are played out by unique characters following a set story arc. The stories are full of surprising features, and they set a direction that lends the game a drama-like feel. In one particular mode there are 15 stories unfolding, just like the previous title "Onimusha 3", complemented by impressive images displayed on the 20-inch built-in "Doughnut Vision" monitor. We made sure to retain the same level of visual quality, using the resources for the game console version of "Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams".
- How have customers reacted to the new machine?
"Egawa"
Just like the last version, this machine has been a major hit with our customers, and has succeeded in surpassing our sales plan.
- In addition to "Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams" Capcom has created a number of other titles through entrusted development. What sort of requests do you receive in these contracts?
"Egawa"
Usually developers ask if they can use our competitive contents to create the kind of visual effects you'd expect to see from a game machine.
- Where do you come up with your ideas for the effects?
"Egawa"
We first receive the machine concept from the maker. After we look everything over, we set about to designing effects that fit this concept.
- What kind of things do you think are important for pachislo machine effects?
"Egawa"
I think you need to produce a sense of expectation that is consistent with what is actually happening in the game. There's no sense in adding effects that players cannot understand. The level of trust and expectation indicated by the effects and the frequency at which they're employed are crucial. You also need to make sure that players can't pick them out right away. This requires coordination with the main control unit.
- It seems there's a great responsibility that comes with undertaking the creation of such an important part.
"Egawa"
That's right. We don't take every contract, but we always make sure to produce the expected level of quality and meet the deadline for the projects we do undertake. I believe this consistent approach over the years has helped to cement our company's reputation. All the entrusted projects we've handled in the past went on to post good sales. This is what has enabled us to continually secure contract orders.
- So it's safe to say people know their project is in good hands when they call on you guys.
"Egawa"
You could say that, but we should never rest on our laurels. What sets us apart as a game provider is the level of image quality we produce, but this could be easily threatened by a newcomer to the game industry.
Back to Developer Interview 2010 Top Page
  1. 05.Takeshi Tezuka
  2. 06.Yoichi Egawa
  3. 03.Yoshinori Ono
  4. 04.Ryozo Tsujimoto
  5. 01.Jun Takeuchi
  6. 02.Motohide Eshiro

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