Media Create Sales: Week 27, 2015 (Jun 29 - Jul 05)

So given that we're now pretty well into this generation and Japanese companies have started either directly stating and/or implicitly showing their current business strategies, I wanted to recap my interpretation of what each of the major third party Japanese publishers plan on doing.

If you feel differently for any of them or wanted to otherwise comment, feel free. I wanted to put this up before TGS to see if my impression changes at all then instead of taking the easy route and just waiting to see them cement things one way or another.

Konami: Konami is about six months away from no longer releasing dedicated device games in a meaningful way. While things like Pro Evolution Soccer will still exist, with the number of high profile departures from just about every dedicated series they own, it's pretty clear they're done on that front despite any statements to the contrary. That said, their mobile hits are starting to do notably better again, so I suspect they will be fine financially. We'll soon talk about them in the same way we talk about companies like COLOPL or Mixi or other mobile vendors that have a very limited interest in dedicated platforms, not that we weren't basically there already.

Sega: Sega is a bit more dynamic. After losing money for years on end under their previous dedicated device strategy, they decided to cut and cut and cut until they had burnt most of their dedicated device and arcade business to the ground, with only those few series that were still profitable surviving. Simultaneously, they started finding great success both on PC in the West and on mobile in Japan. This lead them to very heavily be a digital first company. They also continued to foster their multimedia and merchandizing business since it made a good profit, kept their brands in people's mind, and depending on how much they offloaded, could be notably low risk. This successfully stopped the bleeding and allowed them to start taking more risks again. These days their strategy seems to have two fronts. The first is to keep expanding their PC and mobile businesses through acquisitions, hirings, and staff transfers from other divisions that are no longer working. Their second is to slowly try expanding their dedicated device line-up again, but doing so with a strong digital core. Most Sega dedicated titles that remain have had a strong increase in DLC. For example, Miku has went from having 6 DLC songs to having 16 with Diva F 2nd available through a $30 song season pass along with a $100 costume season pass. Total War, which has retail releases in Europe, will have two digital only expansions for the new Warhammer title, a notable increase from before. Even Atlus titles all make sure to have a variety of high margin purchasable DLC, even if its scope is not as large as other series Sega owns. As we continue to see them slowly try out dedicated titles again in an effort to expand their business, expect to see impressive sounding DLC plans for just about all of them. Since the pressure to put titles out is lower again, also expect them to put more focus on each individual title and the gap between entries increase, which has the dual effect of increasing quality and also incentivizing more people to buy the DLC as they get impatient.

Square Enix: After trying out just about every business model on earth, Square Enix is trying to focus on adding more depth to the ones that are working for them, while still experimenting in the areas they're struggling. Square Enix's primary successful businesses are singleplayer heavy Western AAA games, Japanese mid-tier games, Japanese MMOs, and Japanese mobile games. Their areas of heavier experimentation are Western online games, PC/console f2p games from both the West and Japan, Japanese arcade games, Western mobile games, and Japanese AAA games. That's not to say that their area of experimentation have no success, but they're not the types of success where they're going to dive in and make 5+ titles at once like their primary businesses. Over the past year or so, Square Enix has notably shifted a lot of staff that was working in experimental areas and put them in their primary business areas instead. Just Cause 3 has become a AAA game instead of an f2p title, there's been a ramp down in attempts to make AAA Japanese games in favor of making a lot more mid-tier ones, and we're seeing less browser/cloud games in favor of making more mobile titles directly. Basically they've solidified what they feel their strengths are, and they're chasing them heavily while dabbling elsewhere instead of trying to evenly parse out resources to every possible business avenue.

Capcom: Capcom is another really interesting company. Currently, they're where Sega and Square Enix were about 3-4 years ago. Almost all of their businesses are failing or in decline. Every bet seems like a risky bet. They're not sure where to go, but they know they have to go somewhere, so they're setting a course and sailing. The most stable aspect of the company right now is Monster Hunter, so they've set that up as one of their pillars. They're also still quite fond of Resident Evil. However, when deciding what defines the rest of the company, the watch words they've decided they like are "digital" and "service". You see lots of attempts at digital with downloadable titles such as HD remasters and episodic games, heavy focus on DLC, and titles containing or based around microtransactions. For service, you see them embracing free 2 play strongly on mobile, PC online, and even with their console games. While the concepts of digital and service are self evident in their pure forms such as Resident Evil Revelations 2 or Dragon's Dogma Online, these concepts also appear to be extending to their remaining retail titles. Let's take Street Fighter V as an example. For Street Fighter V, you will only ever have to buy one disc to play the game, which helps cover the initial cost for Capcom, and also gets the player a lot of content to start with. However, assuming the rumors pan out, the game's business model will not involve buying an annual $15-$20 upgrade to the next edition of the game, but rather have a constant stream of new characters, new stages, new cosmetic items, and other updates (presumably mechanical ones will be free) available for purchase as soon as they're ready. This is a model you more commonly see in free 2 play games like MOBAs, and helps keep a community engaged throughout the year while giving a steady stream of revenue to the developers. They presumably will offer bundles in the game, and may even offer new retail products that act as content bundles, but the idea is that the game is digital and service oriented first, and if you want content as it comes out, you buy it digitally where Capcom makes the highest margins and get to avoid paying $40 for a new game disc. It's also not hard to imagine them, a year or two after launch, offering some kind of free 2 play version where you can play one free character per week and then either buy in with a starter bundle or simply buy the content you want a la cart. Assuming their digital and service oriented plans don't fail across the board, this is the type of thinking you can expect to define Capcom going forward with few exceptions.

Bandai Namco/Tecmo Koei: Both of these publishers have had no real fundamental changes to their business model in the past five years. Namco is still releasing 800 low budget games a year for a wide variety of platforms, and have simply added releasing way more mobile and PC games to the mix. They've had a few experiments in free 2 play on PC/console as well, but it doesn't seem to be a fundamental part of their business. Koei Tecmo's plan still involves releasing 50 games in their main franchises per year and signing up for as many collaborations as possible. Since they seem fine with their business plans as is, expect them to stick to them until they actually run into a problem while also doing a few experiments here and there.
 

vinnygambini

Why are strippers at the U.N. bad when they're great at strip clubs???
Aug 7, 2013
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Lovely post Nirolak.

Capcom: I'd add that Capcom is in a tight corner comparatively to other Japanese 3rd publishers where their foray to mobile has failed miserably, and have to rely solely on dedicated platforms + PC to generate sufficient revenue. Diversification is key and many publishers (whether that be Activision Blizzard, EA or Square Enix) have realized as such - Capcom is in no such position and would effectively be better off under a corporate umbrella.

Bandai Namco: In addition, I would like to add that Bandai Namco have greatly diversified and have developed what they call: the IP strategy - example: God Eater (game, anime, mobile, manga, etc.). They've done a great job cultivating new hits (God Eater, Aikatsu!) and their evergreen titles (Gundam, One Piece) continue to perform favorably.
 
Feb 5, 2007
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Not anywhere
Level 5: They keep doing Level 5 stuff.

Kidding aside, it looks like their first mobile initiatives aren't doing too well so they went hard on the cross media franchises, like expanding Youkai Watch worldwide and preparing for the next one (Snack World).
 
Sep 2, 2014
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Capcom: Let's take Street Fighter V as an example. For Street Fighter V, you will only ever have to buy one disc to play the game, which helps cover the initial cost for Capcom, and also gets the player a lot of content to start with. However, assuming the rumors pan out, the game's business model will not involve buying an annual $15-$20 upgrade to the next edition of the game, but rather have a constant stream of new characters, new stages, new cosmetic items, and other updates (presumably mechanical ones will be free) available for purchase as soon as they're ready. This is a model you more commonly see in free 2 play games like MOBAs, and helps keep a community engaged throughout the year while giving a steady stream of revenue to the developers.
Do you think we will see Monster Hunter 5+ go this way as well? I do believe we'll be seeing more and more of these "upgrade" titles relegated to long-term DLC practices instead of the current approach of X in 20XX, and X+1 in 20XX+1.

It also helps keep audiences engaged for longer with the brand/game if you keep it regularly updated and in the front of the public consciousness. (See: Splatoon for a case study on this very thing in real time.)
 
Feb 7, 2007
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Level 5: They keep doing Level 5 stuff.

Kidding aside, it looks like their first mobile initiatives aren't doing too well so they went hard on the cross media franchises, like expanding Youkai Watch worldwide and preparing for the next one (Snack World).
I was literally going to post "Level-5: Just keep Level-5-ing it."

I think Hino said he wanted to make something big and new so hopefully he's also working on another financially questionable Ni no Kuni type vanity project that will be subsidized by all the cross media stuff.
 
Mar 9, 2012
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Spain
This week's Saturday releases {2015.07.11}
[3DS] Yo-kai Watch Busters: White Dog Team / Red Cat Troupe <ACT> (Level 5) (¥4.968)
----

It's funny because Splatoon has been on the main stand (first photo), since its release. Even Bic Camera removed already The Great Ace Attorney and Taiko no Tatsujin V (released two days ago) to their individual stands, but Splatoon is still there.
That makes you think about the active promotion of the game, still here.

Edit:

Bic Camera most pre-ordered games:

01. [3DS] Dragon Quest VIII
02. [3DS] Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
03. [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain
 
Jun 2, 2005
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So what are the current lifetime predictions for Splatoon?
A large portion of this thread has talked about this already. Most people are assuming somewhere north of 700k for this year with a higher outcome for it's total LTD. Seeing the holiday bumps it gets will be important for figuring out exactly how high it will go.
 
Dec 14, 2010
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So given that we're now pretty well into this generation and Japanese companies have started either directly stating and/or implicitly showing their current business strategies, I wanted to recap my interpretation of what each of the major third party Japanese publishers plan on doing.

If you feel differently for any of them or wanted to otherwise comment, feel free. I wanted to put this up before TGS to see if my impression changes at all then instead of taking the easy route and just waiting to see them cement things one way or another.

Konami:

Sega:

Square Enix:

Capcom:

Bandai Namco/Tecmo Koei:
The only ones that seem to be in a bad state gamewise are Konami and Capcom, though I am not sure how successful Konami's mobile efforts had been. What Sega, Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and Tecmo Koei are doing seem to be working and of these four, only Sega isn't supporting consoles and handhelds in any appreciable way, though I can see Sega's console and handheld divisions recovering just by adopting what they had done with their acquired developers and applying it to their own internal divisions. No reason that something like Virtua Fighter 6 couldn't adopt the sort of model that Killer Instinct and DOA5 have seemingly done and it would fit with Sega's digital core, for example. Sega isn't back on consoles and handhelds in a noticeable way yet, but they seem like they could recover to such a state in the future and be successful with it.

Given Capcom is in a similar state to Square Enix and Sega years ago, do you believe following Square Enix's or Sega's example help them to recover like Square Enix and Sega did?
 
Thanks.
Lovely post Nirolak.

Capcom: I'd add that Capcom is in a tight corner comparatively to other Japanese 3rd publishers where their foray to mobile has failed miserably, and have to rely solely on dedicated platforms + PC to generate sufficient revenue. Diversification is key and many publishers (whether that be Activision Blizzard, EA or Square Enix) have realized as such - Capcom is in no such position and would effectively be better off under a corporate umbrella.
Even more problematic is that most of their dedicated business has evaporated or decayed in the face of increased competition.

Most of their series aren't selling like they used to, if they're even alive in the first place.

Do you think we will see Monster Hunter 5+ go this way as well? I do believe we'll be seeing more and more of these "upgrade" titles relegated to long-term DLC practices instead of the current approach of X in 20XX, and X+1 in 20XX+1.

It also helps keep audiences engaged for longer with the brand/game if you keep it regularly updated and in the front of the public consciousness. (See: Splatoon for a case study on this very thing in real time.)
In the short term I'd be surprised, but in the long term I'm certainly expecting it. When that turning point happens I feel will depend a lot on when they're actually successful with their other initiatives.

At this point Monster Hunter is basically propping up their entire revenue structure, which is pretty poor in general. They're unlikely to mess with the formula beyond trying to milk out as many games as they can, because they need the profits to enable their business transition.

When they get a new stable business however - assuming they do - then going back to the remaining series and seeing if it fits makes a lot of sense.

It's like how Blizzard has progressively toyed more and more with WoW's business model as they become progressively less dependent on it for their contribution to Activision Blizzard.

Level 5: They keep doing Level 5 stuff.

Kidding aside, it looks like their first mobile initiatives aren't doing too well so they went hard on the cross media franchises, like expanding Youkai Watch worldwide and preparing for the next one (Snack World).
I was literally going to post "Level-5: Just keep Level-5-ing it."

I think Hino said he wanted to make something big and new so hopefully he's also working on another financially questionable Ni no Kuni type vanity project that will be subsidized by all the cross media stuff.
Level 5 I keep forgetting to mention, but basically they seem to view their target market as two parts.

1.) For the 3DS, they view it as the ideal platform for their transmedia kids games.

2.) For mobile, they view it as a secondary platform for their transmedia kids games, and as the primary target for games targeting older audiences.

The console games like NiNoKuni appear to be vanity projects as randomkid said. They're a private company, so they have more leverage than most to do such things, and even then they seem to have scaled back that part of the business significantly. It's not 100% clear if that PS4 game they mentioned is even still around since it's been a while since Hino has said anything about it.

As it stands, they seem to have category 1 on lockdown, and really want to succeed at category 2. They have a lot of attempts lined up for the latter, and I think some launch this year, so we'll find out how round number 2 of the smartphone plan goes soon.

The only ones that seem to be in a bad state gamewise are Konami and Capcom, though I am not sure how successful Konami's mobile efforts had been. What Sega, Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and Tecmo Koei are doing seem to be working and of these four, only Sega isn't supporting consoles and handhelds in any appreciable way, though I can see Sega's console and handheld divisions recovering just by adopting what they had done with their acquired developers and applying it to their own internal divisions. No reason that something like Virtua Fighter 6 couldn't adopt the sort of model that Killer Instinct and DOA5 have seemingly done and it would fit with Sega's digital core, for example. Sega isn't back on consoles and handhelds in a noticeable way yet, but they seem like they could recover to such a state in the future and be successful with it.

Given Capcom is in a similar state to Square Enix and Sega years ago, do you believe following Square Enix's or Sega's example help them to recover like Square Enix and Sega did?
For Konami's mobile efforts, they struggled when the smartphone transition happened, but within the last year they started launching some really successful apps including the mega successful mobile version of PowaPro. Their mobile success is almost entirely within sports gaming.

For Capcom, their apparent strategy seems fine. However, a lot of their previous strategies were also fine. The real issue they've continually run into is that they've been unable to execute successfully on any of them.

What Capcom has historically done is look at whatever is making the most money and chase it as hard as it can, but failed to first understand why the people using that strategy are actually successful, and then failed to launch quality products that actually match expectations.

Will this time be different? It's hard to say. They don't have many other strategies left to go to, and they seem to be taking much longer and spending more thought on each product they're making, so maybe they can actually have some success this time.

That said, I'm skeptical of Monster Hunter Explore and Breath of Fire 6 finding success on mobile, and reading through the Dragon's Dogma Online thread, while the game sounds fine, I'm not exactly clear on how they actually make money with it. Maybe that will be more apparent as people keep posting. Street Fighter 5's rumored model I feel would actually work very well, assuming that it's correct, though that doesn't fit a lot of the other titles they make in a super obvious fashion.

I would compare them most to Sega since Sega is also a company that reformed around digital and services, but Sega had a deeper bench of talent on both mobile and PC to work with. Capcom is a company that needs to learn this all from scratch.

I'm curious to see how their plans pan out over the next year or two. They're definitely one of the more interesting companies in the market from a business perspective.
 
Sep 5, 2014
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Konami:

Sega:

Square Enix:

Capcom:

Bandai Namco/Tecmo Koei:
Konami "yay! mobile!! mobile~!!!...did I coming late?"
Industry "very late."
Konami "...........hope mobile bubble doesn't burst yet, then"

Sega "Now we will make good games again!.......but how?"

Square Enix "OK! fans!. we now doing everything you want (Sony/MS "with our money!"), even creating game base on poll and feedback! you must buy them all!"
customers "whatever..."

Capcom "please buy our 10 HD remasters and we will produce 1 original games"

Bandai Namco/Tecmo Koei (still growing bigger than ever)
 
Oct 10, 2007
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www.wiitalia.it
Thanks Nirolak.

About SQEX, I see a return to its previous business model of focusing on one dedicated platform per time (in this case, the Sony ecosystem). The last generation was actually special for SQEX because they developed important games for basically all available platforms; right now, it seems that AAA projects are aimed at PS4/XB1 (in Japan PS4/PS3/PSV) and nothing else.

As for Level-5, the fact that YW3 is being released two years after YW2 is a sign that perhaps they're changing a bit their business model, probably in light of a new Nintendo hardware? e.g. YW3.5 for NX in Christmas 2016?
 

L~A

Member
Jan 19, 2013
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June edition of my Leg-o-meter. The Yo-kai King has fallen, and the remade Pocket Monsters are eating from its corpse... sort of. Yeah, not surprising since Yo-kai Watch last year was still in an explosive growing phase. Also, Shin Uchi is the third version of the game, so all in all, it did extremely well.

 
Dec 14, 2010
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For Konami's mobile efforts, they struggled when the smartphone transition happened, but within the last year they started launching some really successful apps including the mega successful mobile version of PowaPro. Their mobile success is almost entirely within sports gaming.

For Capcom, their apparent strategy seems fine. However, a lot of their previous strategies were also fine. The real issue they've continually run into is that they've been unable to execute successfully on any of them.

What Capcom has historically done is look at whatever is making the most money and chase it as hard as it can, but failed to first understand why the people using that strategy are actually successful, and then failed to launch quality products that actually match expectations.

Will this time be different? It's hard to say. They don't have many other strategies left to go to, and they seem to be taking much longer and spending more thought on each product they're making, so maybe they can actually have some success this time.

That said, I'm skeptical of Monster Hunter Explore and Breath of Fire 6 finding success on mobile, and reading through the Dragon's Dogma Online thread, while the game sounds fine, I'm not exactly clear on how they actually make money with it. Maybe that will be more apparent as people keep posting. Street Fighter 5's rumored model I feel would actually work very well, assuming that it's correct, though that doesn't fit a lot of the other titles they make in a super obvious fashion.

I would compare them most to Sega since Sega is also a company that reformed around digital and services, but Sega had a deeper bench of talent on both mobile and PC to work with. Capcom is a company that needs to learn this all from scratch.

I'm curious to see how their plans pan out over the next year or two. They're definitely one of the more interesting companies in the market from a business perspective.
Konami sounds like they are in a pretty interesting niche with mobile sports games. I am skeptical about their focus on mobile when other successful video game companies have diversified even with mobile as an important part of their business, though I assume their casino efforts are also helping them out and the skills they have at making casino games translate well into successful mobile games. If Konami's successful with this path then I can't blame them for going that route even if I won't buy future Konami games because of a lack of interest in either mobile in general or sports games.

Sounds like Capcom's problem is understanding the markets they release their games for. I mean, even mobile games cater to a particular market for example and going against that means less success and possible failure. Street Fighter V does sound like it will be a success for Capcom if I understand what they are doing for it, and I am skeptical of their other efforts.
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
Mar 10, 2011
22,885
0
775
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theflyingthoughtsblog.wordpress.com
So given that we're now pretty well into this generation and Japanese companies have started either directly stating and/or implicitly showing their current business strategies, I wanted to recap my interpretation of what each of the major third party Japanese publishers plan on doing.

If you feel differently for any of them or wanted to otherwise comment, feel free. I wanted to put this up before TGS to see if my impression changes at all then instead of taking the easy route and just waiting to see them cement things one way or another.

Konami: Konami is about six months away from no longer releasing dedicated device games in a meaningful way. While things like Pro Evolution Soccer will still exist, with the number of high profile departures from just about every dedicated series they own, it's pretty clear they're done on that front despite any statements to the contrary. That said, their mobile hits are starting to do notably better again, so I suspect they will be fine financially. We'll soon talk about them in the same way we talk about companies like COLOPL or Mixi or other mobile vendors that have a very limited interest in dedicated platforms, not that we weren't basically there already.

Sega: Sega is a bit more dynamic. After losing money for years on end under their previous dedicated device strategy, they decided to cut and cut and cut until they had burnt most of their dedicated device and arcade business to the ground, with only those few series that were still profitable surviving. Simultaneously, they started finding great success both on PC in the West and on mobile in Japan. This lead them to very heavily be a digital first company. They also continued to foster their multimedia and merchandizing business since it made a good profit, kept their brands in people's mind, and depending on how much they offloaded, could be notably low risk. This successfully stopped the bleeding and allowed them to start taking more risks again. These days their strategy seems to have two fronts. The first is to keep expanding their PC and mobile businesses through acquisitions, hirings, and staff transfers from other divisions that are no longer working. Their second is to slowly try expanding their dedicated device line-up again, but doing so with a strong digital core. Most Sega dedicated titles that remain have had a strong increase in DLC. For example, Miku has went from having 6 DLC songs to having 16 with Diva F 2nd available through a $30 song season pass along with a $100 costume season pass. Total War, which has retail releases in Europe, will have two digital only expansions for the new Warhammer title, a notable increase from before. Even Atlus titles all make sure to have a variety of high margin purchasable DLC, even if its scope is not as large as other series Sega owns. As we continue to see them slowly try out dedicated titles again in an effort to expand their business, expect to see impressive sounding DLC plans for just about all of them. Since the pressure to put titles out is lower again, also expect them to put more focus on each individual title and the gap between entries increase, which has the dual effect of increasing quality and also incentivizing more people to buy the DLC as they get impatient.

Square Enix: After trying out just about every business model on earth, Square Enix is trying to focus on adding more depth to the ones that are working for them, while still experimenting in the areas they're struggling. Square Enix's primary successful businesses are singleplayer heavy Western AAA games, Japanese mid-tier games, Japanese MMOs, and Japanese mobile games. Their areas of heavier experimentation are Western online games, PC/console f2p games from both the West and Japan, Japanese arcade games, Western mobile games, and Japanese AAA games. That's not to say that their area of experimentation have no success, but they're not the types of success where they're going to dive in and make 5+ titles at once like their primary businesses. Over the past year or so, Square Enix has notably shifted a lot of staff that was working in experimental areas and put them in their primary business areas instead. Just Cause 3 has become a AAA game instead of an f2p title, there's been a ramp down in attempts to make AAA Japanese games in favor of making a lot more mid-tier ones, and we're seeing less browser/cloud games in favor of making more mobile titles directly. Basically they've solidified what they feel their strengths are, and they're chasing them heavily while dabbling elsewhere instead of trying to evenly parse out resources to every possible business avenue.

Capcom: Capcom is another really interesting company. Currently, they're where Sega and Square Enix were about 3-4 years ago. Almost all of their businesses are failing or in decline. Every bet seems like a risky bet. They're not sure where to go, but they know they have to go somewhere, so they're setting a course and sailing. The most stable aspect of the company right now is Monster Hunter, so they've set that up as one of their pillars. They're also still quite fond of Resident Evil. However, when deciding what defines the rest of the company, the watch words they've decided they like are "digital" and "service". You see lots of attempts at digital with downloadable titles such as HD remasters and episodic games, heavy focus on DLC, and titles containing or based around microtransactions. For service, you see them embracing free 2 play strongly on mobile, PC online, and even with their console games. While the concepts of digital and service are self evident in their pure forms such as Resident Evil Revelations 2 or Dragon's Dogma Online, these concepts also appear to be extending to their remaining retail titles. Let's take Street Fighter V as an example. For Street Fighter V, you will only ever have to buy one disc to play the game, which helps cover the initial cost for Capcom, and also gets the player a lot of content to start with. However, assuming the rumors pan out, the game's business model will not involve buying an annual $15-$20 upgrade to the next edition of the game, but rather have a constant stream of new characters, new stages, new cosmetic items, and other updates (presumably mechanical ones will be free) available for purchase as soon as they're ready. This is a model you more commonly see in free 2 play games like MOBAs, and helps keep a community engaged throughout the year while giving a steady stream of revenue to the developers. They presumably will offer bundles in the game, and may even offer new retail products that act as content bundles, but the idea is that the game is digital and service oriented first, and if you want content as it comes out, you buy it digitally where Capcom makes the highest margins and get to avoid paying $40 for a new game disc. It's also not hard to imagine them, a year or two after launch, offering some kind of free 2 play version where you can play one free character per week and then either buy in with a starter bundle or simply buy the content you want a la cart. Assuming their digital and service oriented plans don't fail across the board, this is the type of thinking you can expect to define Capcom going forward with few exceptions.

Bandai Namco/Tecmo Koei: Both of these publishers have had no real fundamental changes to their business model in the past five years. Namco is still releasing 800 low budget games a year for a wide variety of platforms, and have simply added releasing way more mobile and PC games to the mix. They've had a few experiments in free 2 play on PC/console as well, but it doesn't seem to be a fundamental part of their business. Koei Tecmo's plan still involves releasing 50 games in their main franchises per year and signing up for as many collaborations as possible. Since they seem fine with their business plans as is, expect them to stick to them until they actually run into a problem while also doing a few experiments here and there.
Thanks.
Yeah, it seems very similar to my impressions on the current situation
 

Mpl90

Two copies sold? That's not a bomb guys, stop trolling!!!
Mar 10, 2011
22,885
0
775
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theflyingthoughtsblog.wordpress.com
Thanks Nirolak.

About SQEX, I see a return to its previous business model of focusing on one dedicated platform per time (in this case, the Sony ecosystem). The last generation was actually special for SQEX because they developed important games for basically all available platforms; right now, it seems that AAA projects are aimed at PS4/XB1 (in Japan PS4/PS3/PSV) and nothing else.

As for Level-5, the fact that YW3 is being released two years after YW2 is a sign that perhaps they're changing a bit their business model, probably in light of a new Nintendo hardware? e.g. YW3.5 for NX in Christmas 2016?
IIRC, Level 5 wants to do things differently with YW3: updates through the life of the game, not a mere Shin Uchi/The Ogre/third version released later in general. Now, I could see them release at retail versions of the game with the updates already included, for new customers, and I could see the first update hitting around Christmas 2016 and, then, YW3+1st Update comes on NX too, alongside 3DS.
 
Oct 10, 2007
4,117
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www.wiitalia.it
IIRC, Level 5 wants to do things differently with YW3: updates through the life of the game, not a mere Shin Uchi/The Ogre/third version released later in general. Now, I could see them release at retail versions of the game with the updates already included, for new customers, and I could see the first update hitting around Christmas 2016 and, then, YW3+1st Update comes on NX too, alongside 3DS.
This might also be a possibility; L5 announced the updating model, but who knows whether they will actually implement it. Now that I think of, SQEX should totally release a Theatrhythm FF:CC Complete Edition containing all released DLC - they could advertise the game by having tracks from TWEWY, SaGa, BD and so on.
 
Thanks Nirolak.

About SQEX, I see a return to its previous business model of focusing on one dedicated platform per time (in this case, the Sony ecosystem). The last generation was actually special for SQEX because they developed important games for basically all available platforms; right now, it seems that AAA projects are aimed at PS4/XB1 (in Japan PS4/PS3/PSV) and nothing else.
While it's certainly possible you're right, and they just feel it's way easier to focus on less platforms, I actually suspect this is a side effect of what Square Enix feels their main strength is.

Square Enix has always had incredible production values, and with Capcom/Sega/Konami largely exiting AAA, they're pretty much the unchallenged king of production values in Japan (with the possible exception of Level 5 on 3DS). Even on mobile, and just focusing on their big three self-published games (DQM, Million Arthur, School Girl Strikers), they have better production values than the vast majority of their competitors.

By licensing external technology (Unreal, Unity, Orochi), they've also been able to start efficiently making a large number of high production value games at the same time. This works especially well in tandem with their newfound openness to publishing games directed by independent developers instead of requiring Square Enix directorial and design oversight for everything, allowing even more output to be made.

We've even seen signs of this in their recent announcements. Nier 2's press release makes sure to note how the graphics will be much better this time around, and when explaining the platform choice for World of Final Fantasy, the project lead was keen to point out that they decided on PS4 because they wanted to put lots of details into the characters and monsters.

However, in this situation, the 3DS gets caught in a double whammy. First of all, most of the licensed technology they're using doesn't function on it. Secondly, the 3DS is quite old now, and even if you make the best looking game on the system, it would be notably hard to impress people. Earlier in the generation titles like Kingdom Hearts 3D and Bravely Default really stood out, but by now everyone is both used to that quality of visuals, and they're heavily dwarfed by the shift to PS4/XB1 level technology.

It did stick out to me though that most of their games that were "exclusive" to PS4 were listed as "PlayStation First", so I do think they're leaving the door open to other platforms down the road. A lot of these games are being made on technology that Square Enix isn't used to however, so taking this one step at a time makes it easier to handle, and in the case of the NX, that system doesn't exist yet. It's not hard for me to imagine games like FF7R showing up on PC and/or Xbox One, and games like World of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest Builders showing up on NX eventually. That's not a guarantee that happens, but I suspect these are the kind of options they're looking at when they're not writing them down as lifetime exclusives.

As for Level-5, the fact that YW3 is being released two years after YW2 is a sign that perhaps they're changing a bit their business model, probably in light of a new Nintendo hardware? e.g. YW3.5 for NX in Christmas 2016?
Yeah, I suspect it's a mix of the generation transition and a concern about burning out their franchises. They were in a bit of a scary situation for a while when both Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven were fading without a replacement having already taken off. Notably they're trying to get Snack World going pretty quickly while also applying more care to handling how fast they sequel Yokai Watch and manage the brand in general.

Success abroad would also likely be easier earlier in the generation than at the extreme twilight of the 3DS.

Konami sounds like they are in a pretty interesting niche with mobile sports games. I am skeptical about their focus on mobile when other successful video game companies have diversified even with mobile as an important part of their business, though I assume their casino efforts are also helping them out and the skills they have at making casino games translate well into successful mobile games. If Konami's successful with this path then I can't blame them for going that route even if I won't buy future Konami games because of a lack of interest in either mobile in general or sports games.

Sounds like Capcom's problem is understanding the markets they release their games for. I mean, even mobile games cater to a particular market for example and going against that means less success and possible failure. Street Fighter V does sound like it will be a success for Capcom if I understand what they are doing for it, and I am skeptical of their other efforts.
Right, I suspect Konami just ultimately feels they don't have the stomach to try competing in dedicated devices anymore and would rather just focus on mobile.

It's pretty rare for a company to just completely upend and shift business models, since they usually have leftovers from their old business model they want to keep around, but pretty much everything seems to be going out the window there.
 
To be fair, MH4U was a paid DLC itself.
Right, Capcom is already asking a lot of their customers by charging them ¥6,264 to buy an expansion version of a game they likely already own.

Similarly Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls doesn't have microtransactions since you paid $40 to get the expansion pack in the first place despite Blizzard being quite enamored with them.
 
Feb 3, 2007
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It's interesting to me to see people discussing Capcom as being in a precarious situation regarding console development, when you don't have to go back too far back in time to find people discussing Capcom as the only Japanese company "doing it right" in console development, with their unified engine across games, specific pandering to western tastes and farming out of IPs to western devs to keep them relevant.
Was it RE6 where the perception changed?
 
Sep 25, 2008
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So given that we're now pretty well into this generation and Japanese companies have started either directly stating and/or implicitly showing their current business strategies, I wanted to recap my interpretation of what each of the major third party Japanese publishers plan on doing.
I pretty much agree with that you have written.

By licensing external technology (Unreal, Unity, Orochi), they've also been able to start efficiently making a large number of high production value games at the same time. This works especially well in tandem with their newfound openness to publishing games directed by independent developers instead of requiring Square Enix directorial and design oversight for everything, allowing even more output to be made.

We've even seen signs of this in their recent announcements. Nier 2's press release makes sure to note how the graphics will be much better this time around, and when explaining the platform choice for World of Final Fantasy, the project lead was keen to point out that they decided on PS4 because they wanted to put lots of details into the characters and monsters.

However, in this situation, the 3DS gets caught in a double whammy. First of all, most of the licensed technology they're using doesn't function on it. Secondly, the 3DS is quite old now, and even if you make the best looking game on the system, it would be notably hard to impress people. Earlier in the generation titles like Kingdom Hearts 3D and Bravely Default really stood out, but by now everyone is both used to that quality of visuals, and they're heavily dwarfed by the shift to PS4/XB1 level technology.

It did stick out to me though that most of their games that were "exclusive" to PS4 were listed as "PlayStation First", so I do think they're leaving the door open to other platforms down the road. A lot of these games are being made on technology that Square Enix isn't used to however, so taking this one step at a time makes it easier to handle, and in the case of the NX, that system doesn't exist yet. It's not hard for me to imagine games like FF7R showing up on PC and/or Xbox One, and games like World of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest Builders showing up on NX eventually. That's not a guarantee that happens, but I suspect these are the kind of options they're looking at when they're not writing them down as lifetime exclusives.
People say SE's strategy differ between Wada and Matsuda but bolded part must be large part of their current increase of announcement on console front. Heck even Saga2015 was once proposed by Kawazu as the PS4 game but ended up as Vita project (SE higher ups saw less Western appeal maybe?) Do any unreal engines run on OG 3DS? I'm starting go wonder developing cost of AAA 3DS game won't be that much different from UE4 HD game.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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It's interesting to me to see people discussing Capcom as being in a precarious situation regarding console development, when you don't have to go back too far back in time to find people discussing Capcom as the only Japanese company "doing it right" in console development, with their unified engine across games, specific pandering to western tastes and farming out of IPs to western devs to keep them relevant.
Was it RE6 where the perception changed?
This was never really seen as a positive.
 
Oct 10, 2007
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It's interesting to me to see people discussing Capcom as being in a precarious situation regarding console development, when you don't have to go back too far back in time to find people discussing Capcom as the only Japanese company "doing it right" in console development, with their unified engine across games, specific pandering to western tastes and farming out of IPs to western devs to keep them relevant.
Was it RE6 where the perception changed?
There are several reasons. Remember that at the beginning of last generation, Capcom already had two new big budget console IP (Lost Planet and Dead Rising) plus Resident Evil 5 and Devil May Cry 5 in the pipeline, along with Monster Hunter which was becoming hugely popular in Japan. The perception changed when it became clear Capcom wasn't able to manage their IPs: Lost Planet 3 was a trainwreck, Resident Evil 6 underperformed as well as DmC; also Dragon's Dogma bombed outside Japan and it was turned into a MMORPG. So far, outside Street Fighter 5, Capcom has yet to show a big budget console game, and we're already one year and a half into the new generation of consoles.
 
Aug 22, 2013
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Am I mistaken or did Capcom not start out last generation very strong? In the first few years they released Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Lost Planet, Dead Rising, and Devil May Cry 4 all to successful sales. They seemed to have lost their way now but they were on the ball early last generation.
 
Mar 13, 2013
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Right, Capcom is already asking a lot of their customers by charging them ¥6,264 to buy an expansion version of a game they likely already own.

Similarly Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls doesn't have microtransactions since you paid $40 to get the expansion pack in the first place despite Blizzard being quite enamored with them.
Right but it was clearly a route Capcom were planning on going at one point.
 
Apr 5, 2006
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So what are the WW figures for Splatoon right now? I'm just really hoping that it hits at least 2 million by the end of its life.
It's got 2 million on lock, possibly even before Christmas
It'd shipped over a million 2 weeks ago, and it's selling similarly in Japan and the US.
2 million this year is definitely likely.
 

Scum

Junior Member
Jun 8, 2004
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London, England
Nirolak dropping dem wisdom bombs. Another fine read.

....

NCL needs to do a bloody good job with Project NX and ensure that the hardware can support good shit like UE4 & Unity in dome form or another or else they'll miss out big time!
 
May 23, 2013
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Nirolak dropping dem wisdom bombs. Another fine read.
Nirolak is one of my favourite posters on this forum. Everything he says is on point!

I will say though that Koei Tecmo are moving into mobile a lot more than they were whilst still focusing on Console titles. A good strategy in my opinion but they need Mobile to pay off.
 
Oct 10, 2007
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This game:

21./30. [3DS] Ansatsu Kyoushitsu: Korosensei Daihouimou!! <ACT> (Bandai Namco Games) {2015.03.12} (¥6.145) - 2.218 / 89.252 <80-100%> (-7%)

is just keep selling. It was released in March and after several stock problems, it became a quite constant presence in the chart.
 
Sep 2, 2014
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Might be worth noting that MH4U was setup for paid DLC but they don't seem to actually be going through with it yet.
Right, Capcom is already asking a lot of their customers by charging them ¥6,264 to buy an expansion version of a game they likely already own.
Part of the delay on any DLC may be from the sudden "burst" in the west they've been enjoying with Nintendo. One of the best ways to lose a new customer is to blatantly aim at their pocket with DLC, and if they're playing for the long game of building up the brand worldwide, then they really don't want to burn new customers.
 
Dec 4, 2014
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Mario's strongest games are in the Pokemon league, imo, they are just not as numerous and this gen are getting strangled by the WiiU. But his overall strength of a brand has been watered down and I think Nintendo is aware of it and dreading the fact.

Final Fantasy? Nah, not even in its peak was it a brand that you could identify with a mustache. It was a strong brand amongst core gamers, though... like Dragon Quest, just with global appeal.
Thanks for replying and I see what you mean. It's going to be interesting to see how Mario is going to be managed from now on.

I also wonder what the reaction from Japan is regarding DQ Builders.
 
Sep 2, 2014
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I also wonder what the reaction from Japan is regarding DQ Builders.
I only have a few data points for information: lukewarm interest, but mostly the same as their reaction to Heroes.

I don't think the game is aimed at them, though, they're a bit too old. If you listen to 8-4 there's some more opinions coming from them on the game (and that it looks like Minecraft with DQ monsters imposed over it). One of them is certain that his kid, who's really into minecraft, will love it. And I think that's who its aimed at but I think it will help the Vita more than anything else.

Mario's not even doing as hot on 3DS.
Definitely nowhere close to Pokemon.
MKWii to MK8 shows just how strong "Mario" can be.
 
Sep 25, 2008
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Right, Capcom is already asking a lot of their customers by charging them ¥6,264 to buy an expansion version of a game they likely already own.

Similarly Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls doesn't have microtransactions since you paid $40 to get the expansion pack in the first place despite Blizzard being quite enamored with them.
That's one of reasons that MH4U's reception is somewhat opposite between Japanese and Western market. Some people were disappointed with paying $60 and didn't get enough of it.

In Capcom's defense though, they have been doing this a lot with their fighting games (Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, even Gundam series) and customers were okay with it back then. Also additional contents on MH4U compared to MH4 is somewhat comparable between MHP2 and MHFU. However time has changed that people are now aware that gaming device has storage so they demand Capcom to charge for additional contents only.
 
Oct 10, 2007
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The idea, though, is that Capcom might have held back contents with MH4 in order to sell the G version a year later. This is why I do think that while MH4 sold less than MH3P as a single game, if the G version is considered, numbers are higher (with a lot of double dippers of course) and the overall project was incredibly successful.
 

Man God

Non-Canon Member
Nov 2, 2007
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Am I mistaken or did Capcom not start out last generation very strong? In the first few years they released Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Lost Planet, Dead Rising, and Devil May Cry 4 all to successful sales. They seemed to have lost their way now but they were on the ball early last generation.
No, they started off last gen very strong as they bet hard on the 360.
 
Feb 5, 2007
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Not anywhere
The transition period from 3DS to NX or whatever should be important for Level 5, iirc Inazuma and Layton got killed when transitioning from DS -> 3DS, aside from being just old and milked to dry.
 
Sep 1, 2013
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The transition period from 3DS to NX or whatever should be important for Level 5, iirc Inazuma and Layton got killed when transitioning from DS -> 3DS, aside from being just old and milked to dry.
Layton and IE started their declines before that but the 3DS transition certainly didn't help matters. Confusion with LBX didn't help either.

I feel like Level 5 probably learned some good lessons from that era and they'll be handing this cycle differently with how they transition Yokai Watch and Snack World.