- - First of all, I was wondering if you could tell us about the current state of the pachinko and pachislo market?
The Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and the ensuing aftermath had a major impact on the pachinko and pachislo market, resulting in a decrease in the number of models released. That being said, since then a number of massive hit pachislo titles have been put out, and operation rates are recovering. In addition, there has been a gradual improvement in the number of machines installed.
- - Do you feel there's a difference in user demands for pachinko machines and pachislo machines?
In terms of product development, one important aspect for both types of machines is the content. I also feel that users expect a high level of quality within the game machine design, the way the payout features are set up, the various gameplay elements, and visual effects such as in-game movies. When you break it down, there's more of a demand for visual effects in pachinko machines, while users expect a greater sense of gameplay in pachislo machines.
- - I see. As you said, 2011 was a difficult a year. Yet, during this time Enterrise, a group company of Capcom, came out with two new pachislo machines, "Sengoku BASARA 2" and "Street Fighter IV". How well have these machines done over the last year?
The "Sengoku BASARA 2" machine is Enterrise's first hit title, and it has sold around 16,000 units. Unfortunately, the sales of "Street Fighter IV" units never really took off, and ultimately it has not sold as well as its predecessor. One reason for this is that it came out around the same time a number of other major titles were released by our competitors. Still, I think it's important to note that the performance of this "Street Fighter IV" machine has come close to achieving our projected performance levels, and it has attracted a core group of fans. We've faced a lot of problems and difficulties, but overall I think we've done more than alright.
- - What kind of problems and difficulties did you experience?
Basically, we needed to find "ways to get people playing our machines and keep them hooked". We sent out a survey to a number of parlors and distributors, and most of them gave our machines a passing score. They also provided us with a lot of feedback. Some complained that the machines are a bit too generous with their payouts, while others indicated that the game system and visual effects are overly simplistic. Likewise, some owners indicated that the bonus items and stages were too hard to unlock, or that the chances of scoring a jackpot were too low. There's a lot of popular machines already out on the market, and this drives the expected level of quality even higher. What these surveys showed us is how important it is to continuing produce machines with tantalizing effects that generate interest and draw players in.
- - Do you receive this type of feedback directly?
That's right. We take all the input we receive straight to heart, and use it to identify areas we need to fix in future machines and operations. While we received a lot of tough feedback, I feel that "Sengoku BASARA 2" and "Street Fighter IV" have done a great job of getting the Enterrise name out in the market.
- - What are your future plans for expanding your game machine business?
Our "Resident Evil 5" pachislo machine is slated for launch this December. We're especially proud of this machine because it boasts the highest quality of any we've ever produced.
- - What specific points did you pay attention to when developing "Resident Evil 5"?
"Resident Evil 5" is the sixth model Enterrise has put out into the market. It's a brand new model, featuring an entirely reworked design and a host of new original gimmicks. The "Resident Evil" series is virtually synonymous with the Capcom brand, and is one of its most important intellectual properties. We know how large the fan base is, so in addition to producing a quality game machine with stunning in-game movies, we worked especially hard to accurately convey the look and feel of the series. I think we did a great job of incorporating elements unique to the home console version within this pachislo machine.