- - Would you explain your present operating structure?
At Capcom, we have about 500 developers and 70 operation staff members.
- - Have you ever reflected on something while operating in-house titles?
Well, for card games, the number of cards (illustrations) is the most important, and it is essential to prepare as many materials, types, and added values as possible before starting services. But, at the beginning, we could not predict how many stocks and variations were necessary, and we desperately tried to respond to requests from users.
- - I suppose in-house game development and operation are very risky.
One of the good things about Capcom is that we don't scrap a failed project completely; instead, we learn lessons from it and apply them to the next project. This is certainly risky, but what's important is how well we can learn lessons from a failed project and apply them to the next project. I think the market will change in our favor. Today, hundreds of millions of apps are distributed throughout the world, and the market is flooded with poor-quality apps. In these situations, one of the things users value when choosing apps is the "strength of IP and content". In having this strength and in accumulating know-how about in-house game development and operation, we are building a base for steadily releasing hits.
- - You mean that content creators will have more advantages than ever, as future games will be increasingly independent of platforms?
Exactly. If we have content, we can distribute it to any platform. In that sense, the consoles that we excel at still have possibilities. For example, we are developing portable device versions of apps, and I think cross-platform development will go mainstream in the future.
- - How do you promote bonding among users?
We developed a community engine called "CAPLINK". This engine offers the same friend function as current & future online and social games. For example, a player of "Monster Hunter Frontier G" can send e-mails to a player of a "Resident Evil" app. We want to promote communication among users so that they send messages like "I found a fun app to play. Let's play it together" and migrate from one game to another. I think it is possible to create a community of one million active users if we can make full use of this engine.
- - Do you think a new IP will be born from the social game segment?
Many fundamental IPs are originally from home video game consoles, and this trend will continue in the future. I don't think a mobile app competes with its original console version. Instead, they build one brand value as the network business and thus strengthen the brand power. In this context, I would like to create a new IP from scratch someday.
- - I have one last question. What's your favorite word?
I have played shogi, Japanese chess, since I was an elementary student, and I like to learn words from professional shogi players. So, my favorite word is kennin-kaketsu (Persevere and act resolutely). Kennin means "Be patient when you need to", and kaketsu means "Attack enemies all at once when once you decide". In my position at Capcom, I have to decide if we should be aggressive or patient, but sometimes I can't. That's when I remind myself of this word. We maintain patience when we need to, and once a decision is made, promptly execute it, as time is most important.
- - Thank you. Could you do one last favor? Will you give a message to our readers?
Over the past few years, the number of new graduates is increasing at the Second Development Department, and I'm surprised that many of them study hard and learn network technologies, as they want to create social and online games. For Capcom, online and social games are the most important business segment as a key driver for growth. We would like to use these young staff members and our experience to expand the business. We are planning to port our released titles to consoles, smartphones, and tablets, and to accelerate overseas operations. 2014 will be an exciting year for us.
Business involves timing. You hang on when you have to, and go on the attack without pausing once you decide, "This is it!" Decisions can be difficult, but speed is crucial. I make a conscious effort to act swiftly together with the members of my team.