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Developer Interview 2013

06. Director and Executive Corporate Officer in charge of Consumer Games Business / Katsuhiko Ichii / After integrating marketing, appointed as Managing Corporate Officer in 2006. From April 2011, appointed as General Manager of Consumer Entertainment Business Management Group and integrator of Consumer Games Development, focusing on restructuring development organization and global development. At current post since June 2011.

Rapidly changing game market Strategies to support expanding platforms

- The game market continued to change rapidly throughout 2013. What is your take on the current state of the market?
"Ichii"
I think the current gaming environment and the hardware people use are changing drastically in global. The entire game market, on the other hand, is still expanding.
- What specific changes have you observed in the market?
"Ichii"
The keyword in the mobile market a year and a half ago was "social games", and at that time browser-based social games dominate the market. However, the shift to native apps is now becoming more prominent. In the PC market, new online games and browser games are becoming widespread. In the game console market, highly anticipated next-gen consoles, such as the PlayStation®4 and Xbox One®, have finally hit markets outside Japan and are selling better than originally expected. The number of available options on the market have become increasingly diversified, so the key to success will be determining how best to expand our business.
- How would you describe the current situation in the game console market?
"Ichii"
Major titles like "AAA" have boosted unit sales in markets outside Japan over the last few years, while middle-class titles have struggled. In that regard, we are seeing the market start to become dominated by a small number of titles. Faced with these developments, our efforts to make the switch to next-gen consoles have been a big turning point for our company.
- What is Capcom doing to prepare for the advent of next-gen consoles?
"Ichii"
The first thing we've done is made "Panta Rhei", a game development engine for next-gen consoles, ready for practical use. We're now developing "deep down" for PlayStation 4, which will be the first title made with this engine. "Dead Rising 3" was released as a launch title for Xbox One. We are also pushing ahead with the development of some other titles on the Phanta Rei engine, the names of which have yet to be announced.
- What are your strategies for existing game consoles and portable game devices?
"Ichii"
Past experience shows that there is a set transition period before the market makes the switch to next-gen consoles. In light of this fact, we definitely intend to continue releasing titles for the consoles already out on the market. We also need to take into account the regional differences in user preferences. Home game consoles are the most popular in North America, while portable game devices command a large portion of the market in Japan. We intend to adopt a balanced approach and provide effective support for the well-established hardware platforms in each region.
- Thanks for that explanation. What can you tell us about digitally distributed contents (DLC)?
"Ichii"
Well, figures reveal that the sales of digital downloads for games accounted for about 30 percent of the totals in North America. In Japan, there already seems to have been a significant increase in the share of download sales. When we examine the nature of games from a broader perspective, it's clear the game business model is in a state of transition. What we're seeing is the steady emergence of a business model in which updates and additional content are continuously distributed over the long term. This model will eventually replace the existing business model in which games are released on a disc for game consoles, PCs, or mobile devices, and that's the end of it.
- Looking ahead to the future, what strategies does Capcom intend to pursue?
"Ichii"
The major part of our future strategies will entail handling add on DLC and providing support for a sustainable business. Capcom has built up a wealth of expertise through the development of mobile and PC online games. We are working hard to share this experience within the development of titles for game consoles. These efforts have set off a chemical reaction, so to speak, inside the company. Though the end results of this reaction might not be readily apparent, we're confident they'll come to the forefront in the next few years.
- You referred to "sharing experience". Could you provide us with a concrete example of this?
"Ichii"
One nice example of this is the collaboration between Division 2, Consumer Games Development in Tokyo, which handles "Monster Hunter Frontier G" and social games, and Development Division in Osaka, which is responsible for developing home video game titles. The two are working together on a title now. We're also organizing a system that would enable our development divisions in Japan to work in close coordination with our development team in Korea, which has a lot experience in developing PC online games. Likewise, we are attempting to set up a cooperative structure with our subsidiary company in Vancouver, which is handling the development of "Dead Rising 3". We need to have our regional subsidiaries interact with each other so that we can pool their know-how and technology to enhance the company's overall capabilities.
- Taking this level of interaction into account, do you plan to provide support for all platforms?
"Ichii"
Yes. We've promoted a multi-platform approach for a long time, and I believe we'll extend it even further. As a content provider, Capcom's mission is to supply games in areas that attract users, and that's why we'll continue to actively tackle meaningful challenges. The current market is constantly changing, which makes it difficult for us to declare with certainty which platforms we'll keep making games for and how many years we intend to continue doing so. Confronted with these circumstances, we intend to offer content in as many fields as possible.

Back to Developer Interview 2013 Top Page
  1. 05. Corporate Officer and Deputy Head of Consumer Games Development / Yoshinori Ono
  2. 06. Director and Executive Corporate Officer in charge of Consumer Games Business / Katsuhiko Ichii
  3. 03. Senior Manager of Technology Management, Technology Development, Consumer Games Development / Masaru Ijuin
  4. 04. General Manager of Division 2, Consumer Games Development / Kazunori Sugiura
  5. 01. Producer, Development Strategy and Support, Consumer Games Development / Yoshiaki Hirabayashi
  6. 02.Senior Manager of Produce Section,P&S Software Development Department P&S Business Division /  Kentaro Ono

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