Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino talked about his company’s plan to tackle the smartphone gaming business and the importance of making games for mobile devices and consoles in an interview with Nikkei’s Trendy Net.
When asked about his thoughts on the gaming industry and the growth of social gaming in 2012, Hino stated his acknowledgment on the subject:
“To sum it up, it’s vastly growing. I believe we’re in the middle of a turning point. In order to keep up with the wave of social games, I believe that we need to develop content with new game elements in order to cope with the said turning point. At the same time, we still need to defend the business of console games. I think that if we don’t support both console and social games, we can’t make it out there. I feel that it’s a crucial moment right now.”
Hino has been brainstorming ideas for smartphone games, but there was one thing that he couldn’t figure out. He believes that the one thing a smartphone game needs, is being able to have something that can be played during a three minute period of time, and those three minutes should satisfy the demand of content that brings a feeling of excitement. Hino knew what was in demand, however, he found it quite difficult to produce.
After trial and error, he finally began to realize what needed to be done. He is currently working on what is considered his personal project, and is challenging himself to make something that can excite players with just three minutes of play time.
Trendy Net asked whether Hino has had a change of heart towards social games, considering that he seemed to have favored developing console games in the past.
Hino: “My feelings towards making enjoyable games haven’t changed. In consideration to that, today’s smartphones have more than what it takes for games to bring out enjoyable feelings and excitement from the player. Phones in the past didn’t have that operational feeling to them.
“In addition, the circumstances in which games can be played have changed. For example— during train rides or in your bed before sleeping, they have different viewpoints. You have thoughts such as ‘It has to be something I can stop at any time’ or ‘It has to be something I can easily remember the next day’. For these reasons, I now believe that social and smartphone games can be made as proper enjoyable games.”