Konami: We are not at all focusing purely on mobile games

Konami will be doing more in the mobile games market, but it is not abandoning its console business.

This comes from a fully translated version of the Nikkei interview with Konami president Hideki Hayakawa.

A summary of the interview had already been translated earlier this month, and it seemed to suggest the company was shifting all its focus to smartphones and tablets.

"Gaming has spread to a number of platforms, but at the end of the day, the platform that is always closest to us, is mobile. Mobile is where the future of gaming lies,” said Hayakawa according to the summary.

"With multiplatform games, there’s really no point in dividing the market into categories anymore. Mobiles will take on the new role of linking the general public to the gaming world."

This quote followed the news of the (all but confirmed) departure of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, leading many to speculate that Konami would be releasing its big franchises – including Pro Evolution Soccer, Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid – on smartphones and tablets going forward.

But the full translated transcript, made available to MCV this morning, suggests that the switch to mobile isn’t nearly as dramatic.

Recently we often hear the term ‘Mobile First’, and I want to specify that Konami’s idea of ‘Mobile First’ is not at all to focus purely on mobile games,” added Hayakawa.

Our aim is to continue to build up a comprehensive portfolio of console, arcade, and card game titles for each IP while also making the best possible use of the mobile devices that accompany our customers in their daily life, thus expanding the limits of entertainment and appealing to more and more customers.”

Hayakawa says that Konami’s ‘mobile thinking’ is more to do with the business models it adopts, plus the prospect of creating mobile apps that connect to console titles.

In enhancing our approach, we have started introducing additional monetisation models to games such as Jikkyo Powerful Proyakyu and World Soccer Wining Eleven [PES], allowing us to generate additional revenue from intangible additions rather than simply sell products once and move on,” he continued, before mentioning Jikkyou’s ‘Success Mode’ and the Pro Evolution Soccer Mode ‘myClub’, which offers microtransactions.

Through these initiatives, we have found that even customers who bought packaged console games potentially have high motivation for game monetization. In mobile games, we constantly pursue KPI [key performance indicators] such as users’ continued usage rate and paid service usage rate, and we have built up a solid understanding of how to adjust our products to maximise these figures.”

In fact, Hayakawa even plays down Konami’s mobile plans across countries outside of Japan.

For mobile games, we are always considering what types of titles to release in overseas markets such as the US and Europe, but actually Japan is our primary market for mobile content,” he said.

He concludes by saying that mobile devices will be the big growth area for games, but that could be the benefit to all platforms.

I believe that the overall game market will continue to grow, with mobile devices as a driving force. I believe that individual IPs will be made available across various devices, and so eventually it will become meaningless to categorize the market. The role of the mobile platform will be to connect people with their games across various devices, and so the methods and presentation employed in distributing information on mobile devices will be critical.”

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