Globalization is a word on the minds of a lot Japanese game publishers looking to expand operations outside of their local market. Capcom in particular have been very aggressive in this regard in recent years, and their focus on developing products to satisfy their western audience has paid off for the most part.
Head of R&D and Capcom’s Managing Corporate Officer, Keiji Inafune, however, feels that the company has merely established a foundation for globalization, and that the goal itself has yet to be achieved.
Globalization and Building Resources
"As I see it, when it comes to surviving in the global market, merely "selling games globally" doesn’t give a company the right to identify itself as a global corporation," he said in a developer interview conducted by internal PR staff.
"Each facet of the company, including the development process, business administration, and pay structure, need to be globalized. Capcom is still just a domestic Japanese company, but I believe we have a sufficiently solid foundation ready for globalization, represented by the progressive fundamental research on things such as the MT framework."
On the subject of human resources, which are tied directly to a company’s output, Inafune went on to reveal that he believes the ability to accept criticism and differing ideas is a greater asset than talent. He holds seminars for personal development along these lines for the company staff every week, each one with its own unique theme. However, not every session is related directly to game development. For instance, one of the themes covered was "the proper way to think as a human being."
He also stressed the importance of being able to create games solely for the overseas audience, highlighting that the western unit sales of Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5 accounted for 90% of Capcom’s total product sales of the two titles.
Looking to the Future
Capcom have been one of the most successful Japanese videogame publishers to tap into the western market. A large part of the reason for this, according to Inafune, is the ability to work with external developers, but not in order to cut costs — rather, to free up their internal resources to work on reliable hits.
The decision to outsource Street Fighter IV to Dimps, he revealed, was heavily questioned at the outset of the project. In the end, however, the game turned out just fine and went on to sell 2.5 million units. "We may not get a hit each time, but we can learn from our strikeouts." he emphasized.
In fact, taking risks and learning from mistakes is an important aspect of growth, he believes. Especially in in face of success, it is important to have the courage to try new things.
"The technology and creative power of Capcom’s development team is unrivaled in Japan. If we learn how to effectively utilize outside development companies, we’ll be even stronger," he stated in his conclusion.