Sega, Capcom, Konami “Dump Consoles for Phones, SNS”

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Top Japanese game companies such as Sega, Capcom and Konami are reported to be drastically scaling back their releases of games for console platforms, whilst drastically scaling up their output of games for mobile phones and social networking services.

Sega has said its releases of console titles will drop from 66 in 2010 to 56 in 2011, whilst it will expand its releases of games for smartphones and social networking sites from 6 to 39.

Capcom is reducing its home console releases to 55 in fiscal 2011, down by 17 titles over the previous year. It too has announced a series of high profile SNS and mobile game releases.

Konami is keeping the number of its console releases stable, but has increased its social and smartphone game releases by 20 over the same time last year.

Square Enix also seems to be following a similar strategy, and has a distinctly unimpressive console line-up for 2011.

Even Atlus has been dissolved and is now only a brand owned by a mobile phone software development company, with predictable consequences for its releases.

The (business) appeal of free to play games designed for casual users is succinctly described by the CEO of Electronic Arts:

At the end of [2011], the digital business is bigger than the packaged goods business, full stop. No questions in my mind.

Then, you know, I think that we’ll find ways to even sell our packaged goods content in chunks and in pieces and subscriptions and micro-transactions.

Our highest ARPU (average revenue per user) are free-to-play games among paying users. You think about that and say, ‘how can a free game be the game they pay the most for?’

We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret.

In the face of such a huge number of imbecilic rubes shelling out vast sums for the crudest games seen for decades, it is no wonder they are keen for their share of the revenues.

However, unlike EA many of the major Japanese game companies seem to be having a great deal of difficulty keeping pace with the international gaming market – whereas EA and company appear to be hungrily entering a new market, the Japanese companies instead seem to be fleeing both their lack of success overseas and a shrinking domestic market.

Unfortunately, producing even fewer home console games and instead pinning their hopes on developing awful mobile and social games only seems likely to accelerate the atrophy of their remaining competitive strength, and the decline of the Japanese gaming market as a whole.


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    Comment by PhillB
    03:44 16/01/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Damn you Facebook!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:12 19/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Damn you Steve Jobs

    Avatar of Shaolan-kun
    Comment by Shaolan-kun
    03:48 16/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Ok ZUN, time to come up with the next Touhou installment. I can't rely on console games anymore.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:45 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Next in line is social Touhou games. You'll be able to see your friends playing in the other half screen and be able to taunt them EASY MODO?

    Avatar of Minako
    Comment by Minako
    13:47 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    YES. I so want this. xD

    Avatar of Pyrus
    Comment by Pyrus
    14:41 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Next in line is Touhou for the cell phone.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:03 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    OH GOD, PLEASE DON'T ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN!

    Avatar of しりゅ491
    Comment by しりゅ491
    03:55 16/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    NNNOOOOOOO!!!! First the global economic recession happens, then the Tokyo ban happens, and now this! The world is just giving me one great big "fuck you!" after another! Sure this has been slowly happening like an infection that's ever so slowly spread in an effort to kill the concept of quality video games for good, but fuck I rage every time it's mentioned!

    FUCK! With my luck the games that were "scaled back" would probably exclusively contain all of the ones I actually anticipated... Or they'll be cancelled as a result of the Tokyo ban (either one).... Just plain fuck me! Everything I like is dying and there's absolutely fucking nothing I can do about it!(I live in America and can't stop retards from supporting mobile phone/social networking games...)

    It's all making me a very negative person...

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:46 01/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Perhaps it's time to look away from the bright banners of the large companies? Quality games aren't dead, they're just less marketable these days. If you're willing to dig, it's possible to find indie games/studios that could pique your dying interest.

    Granted, it could take a LOT of digging.

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    03:14 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    there goes my chances with the next monster hunter title.....
    *sigh*

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    Don't worry - Capcom has already announced the next game in the series as being for the Mobage-town social gaming platform.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:53 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.9)

    How ironic that the decline of gaming is at hand because the general populace has embraced it.

    I liked it better when we gamers were the black sheep, at least we had fun.

    Avatar of fxc2
    Comment by fxc2
    05:09 16/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    As long as there are real gamers who will want to play proper games there will be people who are willing to make them.

    The producers of ridiculous yearly consecutive sports games, crappy Hollywood adaptations and all types of shitty spin-offs are moving with the market. Boo-hoo, big loss.

    Quality games will persevere.

    Avatar of TFish
    Comment by TFish
    07:07 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    It's easy to say that now, but 10-15 years from now who knows if there will be a decent number of quality games produced at all. If it becomes far more profitable to make 100 terrible casual facebook games than to make even 1 decent game who will be left to make the decent games?

    Look at the state of music, do you know anybody that doesn't complain about the main stream music scene today? Pretty much everyone is trying to be like everyone else, and that's because it's what sells the most cds. Sure you get the older bands that made it big still releasing stuff from time to time, but the genuinely new and tasteful music is few and far between; and it usually gets bastardized by record labels or never picked up at all and phased out.

    Avatar of hotshot™
    Comment by hotshot™
    07:25 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Goddammit this is depressing. I mean the hardcore gaming scene. Dudes who pretty much burned most of their lives on gaming. Thousands of dollars per person on new games/consoles/merchandise. Real fans who got them where they are now, and all they have to say is "Gee thanks, for your time and money, but we're gonna go and try to make shitty games that EVERYONE and their dog love. Bye-Bye!"

    It's time somebody who loves games and has a business sense go and start a game company that doesn't just cater to casuals. Casual games are all well and good, but when it takes from the core market, you gotta wonder why they can't figure out they're clients don't trust them anymore.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:09 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    "As long as there are real gamers who will want to play proper games there will be people who are willing to make them."

    the PC adventure game genre still has developers willing to make them but right there is pretty much a look into that future if it comes to pass.

    there will be no Bayonettas (pulling a random game, insert whatever you want) just because there are people willing to make them because no such studios in the future WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO MAKE THEM.

    with the migration of the big studios and publishers goes the migration of the big studio and publisher money.
    there will be no cutting edge graphics, physics, or whatever else you're expecting to continue because no one will be able to afford spending years developing the engines.

    once the hardcore "proper" game studios essentially become equivalent to modern indie studios, few will have 50-70 million dollars to spend on a game, even if they are willing to make it.

    what general hardcore gaming will become is what the PC adventure game industry became.
    the ones that tried to approach modern levels of technology still end up looking unpolished and 5-6 years too late.
    and these days most have even given up on that, preferring to simply spend their money on what they can control on their budget, and their games have reduced to early 90s levels of technology.

    graphics/physics/etc aren't everything obviously, but the point is the will doesn't equal the ability.
    when the money to create epic hardcore gaming titles disappears, so will the epic hardcore gaming titles.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:44 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    there will be no Bayonettas (pulling a random game, insert whatever you want) just because there are people willing to make them because no such studios in the future WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO MAKE THEM.

    You know, the most fun games come from times where game studios had the same budget as the amount of pocket money your average college student gets. The indie market is still alive and kicking as far as I can tell.

    with the migration of the big studios and publishers goes the migration of the big studio and publisher money.

    there will be no cutting edge graphics, physics, or whatever else you're expecting to continue because no one will be able to afford spending years developing the engines.

    We are making games, not Hollywood movies.
    Games = fun first, everything else later. The most fun I've ever had with games was in the 256 color era.
    Besides that, nobody in their right mind would develop a new engine from scratch for any new title their make. Sure, cutting edge 3D/game/physics engines are expensive, but there are plenty of OSS (open source software = free and legal to everyone) alternatives. Some of these tools are widely used in commercial development.

    once the hardcore "proper" game studios essentially become equivalent to modern indie studios, few will have 50-70 million dollars to spend on a game, even if they are willing to make it.

    Most of that is advertising costs. And only a few AAA titles are ever worth advertising to the general public.

    what general hardcore gaming will become is what the PC adventure game industry became.
    the ones that tried to approach modern levels of technology still end up looking unpolished and 5-6 years too late.

    What's wrong with 5 year old graphics? I still play 10+ year old titles that need arcane magic to work on modern operating systems and they are just as fun as they ever were.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:32 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    You all know how it goes; as I paraphrase that speedy kids' response to his mother in 'the Incredibles': "When everyone is "special", than nothing is special".
    -
    That seems to be where our gaming is going now....

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:39 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Gaming is starting to be for everyone. The problem is, 'for everyone' means forcing casual gaming to become normal and gaming for gamers just to...well...die.

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    19:10 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    you know I've had an idea for while, one of the big company bought up a bunch of game engine designers and then just made custom game engines.

    I'm not talking about unreal were every game looks like it was made with the unreal engine I'm talking about is a company that solely makes game engines.

    They modify them for the people who need them
    they work off the base engine for every game title unless specifically asked to create something that looks different
    and then they'd sell it to a whole bunch of others game Studios

    Where most of the money is spent in videogames is on the engine creation itself, after that is creating all the three models and shit.

    And even then another companies just there to create models for basic things like cops glasses light fixtures physics for posters picture frames doors doorhandles doorknobs outlets things that are just everywhere, this would let the videogame companies focus on just making the things that are specific to their game.

    Let's say there are 100 games made a year, there is a lot more but let's just say 100 for now. 25% of these use this engine service. Now creating a total game engine that say that costs $20 million for one game engine, that one big company like rockstar makes for their grand theft auto, but this is an engine that gets modified for other people for other games. Let's say the engine itself costs them $30 million a year to maintain and keep employees and all that shit

    30 million divided by 25 is 1,200,000, that's how much it would cost per game per engine license for breaking even that say they sell for 2 million they come out with a significant profit while the game companies themselves can unload a huge necessary costs.

    This way we have cutting-edge graphics physics and its overall cheaper to develop games.

    Granted something like this will never happen but if if every company goes over to cell phones and people still want hard-core games something like this would need to happen.

    Avatar of Kitsunemimi6
    Comment by Kitsunemimi6
    07:12 18/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is nothing but terrible news, no matter how much people try to sugercoat it up, it's fucking bad news like how some country's lake is being drained due to people stealing fresh drinking water from it to sell back to those people they stole it from for money when it should be free...

    Whatever, I am more concerned about Capcom doing this then any of the other game companies listed, how dare they...

    Comment by Anonymous

    @ TFish
    Still there are more bands going for niche genres than bans in mainstream pop genres.
    Thats how it is. And who would do that? Gamers for instance. Artist for instance. Why do you think people like the creator of street fighter left capcom and made his own company? Because he wants to make the games he likes, not the games some stupid manager prep tells him too.

    I wouldn't worry too much.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Coming soon:

    Everyone will use Mobile phone to play games.

    Suggestions:
    Japan game companies shld combine and make its own phone(Joint Venture, make one company - one phone) with lots apps(games) to fight Apple.

    Allow people to make games for free but the games sold will be charged with fee(%) with each download.

    Preferly = Japan, Korea, China + Europe

    World vs USA

    I really hate Apple products, Money-suckers.

    Cant even make a single Apps for free, need pay a fee to make Apps? WTF?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:47 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You'll get your game but I fear I'll never see a Suikoden VI. Seeing as Konami is only interested in putting out more MGS games.

    Avatar of Lurieh
    Comment by Lurieh
    13:08 17/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah but I doubt the 4~5 milions buyers of MHP3 are gonna like their hunting on a touch screen.

    It's not because the biggest money is made on casual gaming that core gaming is dying.

    The gaming market has grown bigger than the cinema market since 2006. With a market of this size there is room for many different kind of games sold in many different ways.
    I think we still represent a large quantity of buyers, I mean, I don't see any casual gameplay in Monster Hunter ! And editors will find it'll always be interesting to invest in games for us.

    Also, It's actually a good thing that the market is dividing ! This will allow editors to have a better appreciation of what each kind of clients really wants so they can deliver exactly what we're demanding (that when they're not slumping to hell like Squenix).

    Anyway, the future of gaming probably lies in the indie market, those are small projects that actually tries to inovate (for the better or for worse) and once an indie have some success, a new big studio/company may rise to make nice games for us.

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    20:26 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    @ Arte
    Mobage-town social gaming platform? hmm...

    Avatar of Tuor
    Comment by Tuor
    08:01 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow. The decline continues. First from PC Games to Console Games, now from Console Games to Phone Games and other micro-transaction stuff.

    I wonder how console gamers are going to feel now that the shoe is on the other foot?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:45 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    And Facebook games? *ducks*

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:50 19/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Comment by Kuraudo
    08:19 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, I've been leaning towards the PC (Dragon Age, The Witcher...) for awhile now the only title I don't regret buying for my PS3 is MGS4 and that's out of Demon Souls, VC, Assassin's Creed series, etc

    Avatar of Kuraudo
    Comment by Kuraudo
    08:19 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Good riddance. Honestly, the people developing for pc now are the best we've ever had creating some of the most involved games ever seen. The best part? Their small time operations are making decent profits with no console ports in site. I hope all the crappy companies which haven't made a decent title in years move to mobile phone gaming; herd needs thinning.

    Pc gaming is dead, long live pc gaming!

    Comment by Anonymous

    I'm waiting for the latest Eldar Scrolls... i'll probably have to get a new gfx card for it... but i don't care.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:26 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe all the three companies can come together eh?

    Avatar of Kamina
    Comment by Kamina
    23:30 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well if you guys really love your games as much as you say you do go out there and buy console games before it's too late!!
    I sure as hell am, I'm not gonna let a single generation of newfags ruin my lifetime of gaming!!

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    04:05 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Extremely lowres graphics + Less than 20 Minutes of gameplay + Freaking Small Keypads + Simplistic gameplay = NO THANKS.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:11 19/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Have you guys never seen an iphone/ipod 4 game? The high end games look like weak ps3/360 games so all this worry seems crazy.

    Cell gaming isn't talking about some shitty nokia phone from 1995 these new phone devices are pumping out about 25-28 million polygons and the next models are going to be in the 100 million poly range.

    I know I play fully 3d rpgs everyday on my ipod/ipad so seriously how is this shift bad?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:50 01/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Take out the small keypads and we're pretty much back to the old pre-NES days, and look where that ended up after a few decades.

    It's hard being the last harvest before laying the fields fallow.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Hmmmmm just like the big games for big consoles.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:32 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fail troll is fail.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:24 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    There is only one way to end this . An army of hacker must destroy facebook . This is a war !!!

    Comment by Charismatic Vampire
    09:45 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Agreed I think it's a disease.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:33 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    "We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret."

    So basically their entire profit model is based around the mentally defective.

    Avatar of Jorge
    Comment by Jorge
    03:41 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    First Manga & Anime then games, fuck I hate sns and barely use my phone!
    The only reasons to continue my patetic life are screwed up.

    Avatar of megaman007
    Comment by megaman007
    11:17 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm with you there, if some one burned down all of Twitter's server locations, bringing the whole network to a halt, I'd shake their hand.

    Avatar of Pyrus
    Comment by Pyrus
    14:38 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Give it some time. The rehashed games will get reproduced better as the programmers refine their cell phone programming. Who knows? Maybe Zun will start redoing Touhou for cell phone use in a decade or so.

    Avatar of Jorge
    Comment by Jorge
    03:06 17/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Touhou + cellphone = facepalm.jpg

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:23 17/01/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    there are no way of see the bullets in a 2inch screen, without say that is nearly impossible be accurate in a touchscreen.
    if plain made cellphone games they will need new hardware, like the old n-gage(the phone, no the failed plataform for the n-series), was a wonderful platform, but they fail in the games, the developers don't liked the idea of a phonesole, BTW has good games like sonic n, rayman 3, worms party, tomb raider and more.

    and now than I remember, I have a good sonicwings/aerofighters like game on my nokia 6630... fire storm is the name.....

    Avatar of Lariat
    Comment by Lariat
    03:17 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Why are video games suddenly downgrading to cellphones all of a sudden? It's harder buying games for your phone than buying games for your PS3, you know.

    Avatar of 711
    Comment by 711
    03:28 16/01/2011 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    It's not hard to trace the reasoning... EVERYONE (ok, nearly everyone) have a smartphone, opposed to a very slim margin of the population equipped with consoles.

    Not only that, the average user have not been subjected to years of gaming, so for this market re-rashing crap is a goldmine that requires little to no development.

    It is also a LOT less complicated working the entrails of a game for the mobile market as opposed to a full console with it's delicate SDK.

    Casual gaming is the only gaming we will have in a couple of decades by the way... Farmville be damned for starting the conquest :(

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:43 01/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's not necessarily a death knell for "real" gaming. It's quite possible that more indie and small-time devs will come to the fore. Simply because you don't NEED to put a good effort into phone games does not mean that some groups will half-ass their product.

    Also, look on the flip side, it's possible that this could be the start of a new cycle of indoctrinating the young into the next generation of gamers. "Hardcore" games really aren't accessible to those who lack the skill to play them, and the number of gamers from the NES/SNES/Genesis/What-have-you era isn't getting any larger or more accessible.

    Avatar of Mizushima 水島
    Comment by Mizushima 水島
    03:15 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    phones... something my fingers r too big to play dam it give me my console game

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    03:35 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Wut the.....

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    03:40 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Reminds me of when Homer Simpson became obese-

    "The fingers you have used to dial are too fat"

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:27 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I know what you mean Ace. I personally hate playing games on the phone myself. I rather have physical buttons to press.

    10:40 16/01/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I rage and smash my phone if i couldn't press the button properly, next you see me stand over my phone scream NOOO MY PHONE.

    Avatar of Mizushima 水島
    Comment by Mizushima 水島
    07:50 16/01/2011 # ! Good (+0.4)

    yea can't play cell games cuz i hit every button cept the ones i want. makes it hard to text also






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