By Sato . February 2, 2014 . 5:00pm
We know that Ikaruga makers, Treasure, had trouble getting through the Steam Greenlight program, but once they did, it was a surprise to many of the company’s fans to see the game released for PC via the Steam service. Treasure president Masato Maegawa talks to Famitsu about how it all started and more.
Famitsu begins interview by asking about the thoughts behind the decision of releasing Ikaruga on Steam.
“Now that we’ve entered the new generation of consoles with PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U, I thought ‘where should we go next…’ and I frankly thought ‘choosing PC would be fine too,’ explains Maegawa. “And when we thought of download distributions, Steam came to mind. I’ve always had an interest in Steam, and it’s the most widely used platform for PC players.”
“On the other hand, there are still some people who only play console games that might say, ‘Steam? What’s that?’ even though it’s been going on for over ten years.”
Famitsu asks why Treasure ended up having to go through the Greenlight process on Steam, a system that allows the players to decide on what games are sold through Steam.
“I actually asked an acquaintance from another company. That’s where I learned about the Greenlight process, and quickly registered. Honestly, I didn’t know the contact information of Valve, the company that runs Steam,” shares Maegawa with a laugh.
“I’ve had fans ask, ‘Wouldn’t a game like Ikaruga not need to go through the Greenlight process?’ but I believe that having players decide on what gets distributed is quite a nice system,” Maegawa says. “It also ended up being a good opportunity to further spread the title’s appeal, so it ended up working out fine. Basically, the reason we chose Ikaruga first is because we feel that it’s one of Treasure’s most popular games.”
When asked about Ikaruga’s popularity overseas, chief director Atsutomo Nakagawa says that most of Treasure’s games are quite popular. Maegawa jokingly replies by saying “Hey, don’t make it seem like they’re not popular in Japan!” to which Nakagawa further explains by saying that it’s not just the game’s titles that are well known overseas, but also that the amount of details that are known by foreign players is very impressive.
Next, Famitsu asks if they, as a company, would prefer to distribute games overseas as downloadable titles, rather than physical releases.
“It’s definitely a lot easier,” says Maegawa. “Honestly, there’s a high threshold for small companies like us to distribute physical copies these days. It’s not that we wouldn’t want to, but when we put the cost, stock, and management in consideration, we feel that it’d be too rough. It’s for this same reason that we’ve worked through Xbox Live Arcade, since they evaluate us the same way, whether we’re a small or big company.”
Finally, Maegawa shares his thoughts on what he personally finds appealing about Steam’s service.
“It’s the interface. You can simply press a button and purchase a game; so whenever there are sales, I find myself buying several titles left and right, so I’ve amassed quite the collection of games,” replies the Treasure president with a laugh. “However, I believe things like, ‘I was able to buy such a fun game with only 10 dollars!’ are part of the fun.”