Takeshi Tezuka, General Manager of Capcom’s Mobile Content Development department recently fielded investor questions regarding the state of the global mobile games market and Capcom’s future plans for growth in the sector, given the changes being brought about by devices such as the iPhone and the immense competition.
A Capcom veteran, Tezuka was originally involved in the planning and development of Capcom’s arcade machines. In ’99, he made the switch to the mobile department.
Bringing Mobile and Console Games Closer
According to Tezuka, one aspect of growth will be to revive older Capcom I.P. on mobile phones.
Are there a lot of opportunities to develop games based on earlier titles?
Tezuka: There are a lot of different games, depending on the system. Some were released for the NES or the SNES, while other titles were put out on the PlayStation 2. Those who play some of our mobile games, such as Mega Man, Street Fighter and Breath of Fire, will probably remember the days when they were kids playing these classics on home video game consoles. We’ll continue to bring back some of our earlier titles to help make the Capcom brand more popular.
In a separate statement, Tezuka says he doesn’t feel there’s a need to differentiate cellphone games from home console games. Just the opposite, rather. “One possible approach would be to release content for cell phones when the home video console edition for Resident Evil comes out, with the aim of combining the different user segments to produce a synergetic effect,” he said. “Another potential approach to maintain the popularity of a game would be to distribute cell phone content for that game before the next console version is released.”
Planning for Overseas Growth
While Japan is still the largest consumer of mobile phone entertainment in Asia at present, according to a Forbes report from October 2009, due to a change in government regulations and lower subsidies, Japanese cell phone carriers have been forced to alter their contracts and hike the prices on their units. This — and Japan’s ever-persistent aging problem — resulted in cell phone sales dropping by 25% in 2008.
Ergo, Capcom are looking to the global overseas markets for expansion. Tezuka feels Korea in particular represents a significant growth opportunity, even though it only accounts for a small percentage of sales at the moment. However, he notes, it is important to customize one’s business model for each different country one intends to expand into. For Korea, this involves following a micro-transaction model, common to many other businesses in the country.
“Currently we’re formulating our strategies, looking ahead to the next three decades,” said Tezuka, toward the end of the Q&A session.