Capcom has boldly proclaimed “all games will be basically social in future,” doubtless hoping to emulate the resounding success of Square Enix, Gree and DeNA in delivering high quality social gaming to the masses – whether they like it or not.
Capcom has published a suitably worshipful interview with their very own Kazunori Sugiura, “General Manager of Division 2, Consumer Games Development” and generalissimo of the company’s social gaming efforts:
First of all, could you explain an overview of the current social game market?
I have to say that nobody knows what the domestic social game market will be like three months later, as it is changing very rapidly.
Previously, the market was led by card battle games that are easy to monetize.
But now, games of other genres or titles focusing on game elements have become hits. I think successful games have one thing in common: They are “easy to play, but have more to play than they look”.
So there is no shift away from social games, right?
No. The definition of social games is different from person to person.
One may think that gacha (the mechanism of selling random in-game items) is synonymous with social games, and another may think that social games are card battles.
At Capcom, we define social games as means for facilitating communication among users and something in which game elements and monetization are involved.
From this standpoint, we think that all games will be basically social in future.
Although it is not surprising to see the manager of Capcom’s social gaming division insisting social gaming is the future (despite collapsing profits and mass lay-offs at a number of industry leaders), amongst actual gamers there is much scepticism – and fears that Capcom may end up the next Square Enix…
Fortunately, Capcom plans many exciting card battle games based on its flagship franchises to make sure this is not the case:
What are your popular social game titles right now?
We have operated a game under the title of “Resident Evil: Outbreak Survive” for more than two years. It has more than two million members and has maintained high popularity. The success comes from the advantage as a pioneer, active in-game event hosting, and timely operation.
What kind of game content have you released recently?
Our latest releases are “Monster Hunter Hunting Quest” and “Street Fighter X All Capcom”. Both are easy-to-play card battles.
They are based on action or fighting games and have simplified manipulation for smartphones, but share the same world view, staging, and community development as the console versions.
“Monster Hunter Hunting Quest” exceeded 500,000 downloads about one month after the service started and has been high in the sales ranking. This is a card battle based on an action game, and it wins support from a large number of original game fans. I think this is a factor in its success.
What kind of content are you planning to release in the future?
We are planning to release a smartphone app, “Monhan Itsudemo Airou Life”, and a web-based, full-scale card battle game, “Monster Hunter Roar of Cards”.