Social Games Are Like TV Shows, Console Games Like Movies Says Capcom

By Ishaan . October 23, 2012 . 12:51pm

Developing social games is like producing a TV program, whereas developing console games is like creating a movie, says Capcom’s Kazunori Sugiura, who is the General Manager of Consumer Games Development at the company’s Tokyo R&D Department.


This is because social games require the developer to constantly be watching for data and user trends, ready to adapt to changing trends at a moment’s notice.


“When we arrive at work in the morning, the first thing we do is to check the previous day’s data,” says Sugiura. “If there has been a drop in the figures, we discuss various ways to bring them back up, such as running events or when to put out added content. We often remind our staff that ‘figures are living and breathing organisms’.”


Sugiura feels that data is a genuine reflection of gamer habits and attitudes, and that, while it can be stressful to constantly have to monitor and adapt to changing data, it’s important to keep a positive outlook so you can keep going. In a sense, that’s similar to online multiplayer games.


“I think the similarity lies in the great importance placed on managing new games after they are released,” Sugiura shares. “In both online games and social games, continuous analysis of users’ game-playing habits enables us to perform updates that improve the game experience, as well as take the things which make those games popular and apply them to other contents.”


What sets social games apart from online games, though, is that the two have different kinds of userbases. Online gamers are generally classified as “hardcore gamers” that are fans of games, while those that play social games tend to be considered “casual gamers” and only play games on occasion to kill a few minutes.


However, Sugiura feels, as technology evolves and smartphones become more like PCs in every respect, eventually the barriers that separate social games from online games will all but disappear. Capcom are preparing for this day by having their staff set up in a single department that will manage both businesses, which they feel will prove advantageous.


(This sounds similar in intent to Capcom’s restructuring of their main headquarters, with regard to traditional console games.)


At present, Capcom have “around 270 people” working on social and online games at their Tokyo R&D Department, although some of them also work on home console games. These employees are divided into the development team and the management team. The latter is responsible for the daily analysis and running of of all titles.

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  • TiredOfMyOldUsername

    Social games are nothing like a TV show, they are more like advertisements you have between TV show.

    • Exactly. How TV shows do you see change the plot, add new characters or style of the show on a weekly basis to match viewer ratings?

      • He means in the sense that you’ve got to keep ratings in mind, and that they influence the direction of your show. However, in the case of a movie, you spend a few years working on it, and then you send it out, once and for all. 

        Once it’s out there, there isn’t much more you can do with it, regardless of if the reception is good or bad. However, in the case of a show, future seasons and the like are always impacted by ratings and viewer reactions.

        • Oh, yeah. Totally didn’t think of it that way in my head. Thanks for clearing that one up, Ishaan.

  • Jirin

    I can definitely see this.  When you’re writing a movie, you’re writing a closed, finished thing.  When you’re writing a TV show, unless you’re lucky enough to know when the show is going to end, you’re writing something open and ongoing.

    Your goal is not to give the audience an exciting conclusion, your goal is to keep the audience constantly interested.

  • Marcelo Henrique Chaves

    If Capcom games are like movies then you would pay 39,99$ for the preview, 20$ to unlock the complete movie. And in order to see the “true ending” you’ll have to pay more 20$.

    PS. Not related: Am i the only one not being able to login by facebook?

    • Hidayat246

      same with me, but i think this happen because u login to disqus with facebook account on another website before siliconera

      so 1 account for 1 website

      if u have another account (gmail or yahoo for example) u can login without DISQUS account, but just for 1 website

  • I”ll accept the card game titles if any of them are in English.

  • Göran Isacson

    … Well that sounds sensible. Probably also why I’m not much interested in them or many other online games like MMORPG’s: I watch VERY few television shows. More of a book/movie/game man, myself.

  • I think it’s more like this

    Social games are those kinds of shows made by people that target the lowest common denominator and try to simultaneously pander and speak down to said audience. (the kind that are “ok to be bad, because it’s for {insert demographic or genre here}”)

    full on video games are like video games


    I’d dare say social games are more akin to obscene animated gifs.

  • Heartek

    And my granny is a machine gun…

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