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Developer Interview 2011

Manabu Seko / President - Beeline Interactive Japan, Inc.

Development focused on casual games Creating content that appeals to people of all ages and genders around the world

- "Smurfs' Village" seems to be quite the hit. Combined with "Zombie Cafe" and "Lil' Pirates", the total number of downloads has broken 20,000,000 (as of the end of July 2011), with "Smurfs' Village" reaching number one in 62 countries. What has made this title such a success?
"Seko"
The secret behind the success of "Smurfs' Village" boils down to two things: consumers' familiarity with the "Smurfs" name, and Beeline's relentless drive to develop an outstanding game. As part of the Capcom group, we feel it is our duty to put out quality titles that look attractive and appeal to consumers. People that downloaded "Smurfs' Village" reaffirmed this conviction, indicating that one of the things which sold them on the game was the level of detail put into the Smurfs' expressions and gestures, such as when they wave their hands onscreen.
Many titles designed for mobile platforms look like they can be made by anyone, but that it is far from the truth: it all comes down to having a wealth of experience and expertise. Taking into account the rapidly plummeting sales of contents for feature phones, in April of 2010 we stopped all the projects for these kinds of contents and began researching contents with the latent potential to do well on smartphones. Our sales division and marketing staff have been working hard alongside our development teams, examining the different types of smartphone games and tirelessly striving to build up our staff's level of expertise.
One other factor I can't forget to mention is the use of social networking services (SNS). The widespread use of SNS played a huge part in making "Smurfs' Village" the success it is.
"Smurfs’ Village"
- What are some of the specific ways you used SNS in "Smurfs' Village"?
"Seko"
We added features that let users on "Facebook" or Apple's "Game Center" play together with friends and visit their villages or cafes. Our marketing team is constantly churning different ways to effectively incorporate SNS within games, so we adopted the ideas we felt worked best. But the greatest strength of SNS lies in its ability to rapidly spread information via word of mouth. The greatest example of this is Facebook, which has really started to take off in Japan. In the future we plan on making greater use of Facebook in our games.
- Pardon me for suddenly changing the subject here, but what kind of things are you planning in marketing?
"Seko"
We're currently using an analysis tool called "CRAM(Capcom Real-time Analysts for Realtime Analytics & Marketing)" to gauge user tastes and trends. This helps us better identify the different user segments, what kinds of games they buy, and when they buy them.
- I see that you've begun distributing the Japanese version of "Smurfs' Village."
"Seko"
It‘s done pretty well in Japan. We're also planning to launch the Japanese version of "Lil' Pirates".
- Do you plan on distributing any other titles in Japanese?
"Seko"
We take the time to carefully select which games we localize for Japan. There's always the danger of a great game getting "lost in translation."
- What kind of problems do you run into when localizing a game?
"Seko"
Obviously one of the problems is the how language is used. Take the item "Flied Lice" listed in one of restaurant menus in "Zombie Cafe". The name of the item plays on the English words "fly" and "fried", but a literal translation in Japanese would be "chahan (fried rice)". As you can see, the humor of the name is completely destroyed by the translation.
"Zombie Cafe"
Back to Developer Interview 2011 Top Page
  1. 08.Katsuhiko Ichii
  2. 07.Masaru Ijuin
  3. 06.Masachika Kawata
  4. 05.Hiroyuki Kobayashi
  5. 04.Yoshinori Ono
  6. 03.Yoichi Egawa
  7. 02.Manabu Seko
  8. 01.Takeshi Tezuka

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