CAPCOM going mobile Wait What?

So CAPCOM’s taking all profits they managed to gain from Monster Hunter 4 sales into a brand new, 4 billion yen mobile game development studio. The question is why?

Before I go into a full on rant how they should have put the money into developing the next Monster Hunter game, let’s take a look why did CAPCOM decide to go this way.

First of all, mobile development is relatively cheap. You can churn out mobile games in somewhat fast pace, but then again you shouldn’t take three years to develop a game anyway.  The same applies to portable gaming, and seeing that the 3DS has been slowly gaining some actual sales , portable games are a valid choice if done right. The problem here is that very, very few games on mobile market become successful despite the amount of downloads. Majority of the downloaded games on mobile phones are downloaded free, because why the hell would you pay two euros for a game you can play for free with some ad popping up? Why should anyone pay anything for a Bewellled copy when there’s dozen others already made for free?

To make a successful mobile game is a whole different world from either home or portable gaming. It’s a world, where the cheapest shit with best value can become successful, but not always. Angry Birds didn’t just pop up in right place and in right time, but it was a game based on time tested mechanics that worked on a smarthphone and tablet screen. It has relatively interesting visual design, that was easy to franchise. This kind of lighting can be repeated, if done correctly, but seeing that nobody has even tried to topple Angry Bird’s place from being one of the most well known mobile game, we can only assume that the game industry doesn’t know what to do with mobile games or how to do them.

Not surprising thou. The same industry tells Nintendo to stop making 2D Mario games even thou they sell. Speaking of Nintendo, remember when they did make games for other systems? Those were the good days.

Secondly, because the mobile development is cheap, on the long run it doesn’t eat too much money if it is successful, thus the money gained from it can be redirected into home and portable console markets. Thus, the money gained from Monster Hunter 4 can be applied to the possible Monster Hunter 5, but only if the mobile division becomes successful relatively quickly.

This seems to be reasoning for CAPCOM to put the new studio up. I hope they’re not aiming for a quick buck here, because they actually would need to do some serious work here, and that’s something that CAPCOM has not been very good at lately.

Now, how good idea is this ultimately? Depends really what CAPCOM does to make it succeed. I haven’t heard any of the major game companies having much success in the mobile market, which tells that the market either is hard to penetrate, the market itself is misunderstood or that the market is just a hyperbole bubble.

The mobile market is a bit different from what the game industry is used to handle. It’s weird, but I’ll try to open a little bit it’s as weird as it is. The machines themselves are computers with a different interface. That’s nothing difficult in itself, but they’ve specialised in a large amounts for specific kind of entertainment. These are things like video streaming and point-touch based games, eg. Minesweeper to mention two examples. All these can be done on PC to large and arguable better extent, so approaching the mobile market from the PC market would seem to be the best answer, right? Most successful games on mobile platforms have been PC game variants to large extension, like the aforementioned Angry Birds. Then you have slew of other games that base themselves around the idea of mouse control, but here it’s called touch controls.

However, most of game companies tend to approach the mobile game market from another direction and place games like Grand Theft Auto 3 for sale on various systems. Sure, it plays but the question is whether or not it plays well enough to warrant its stay on a system that barely has any controls? The touchscreen/ mouse controls are best when they’re kept simple and easy. Well, that goes for everything really, but especially with mouse. While multitouch is an interesting option to play with, you can never get the same performance out of eg. iPad touch screen and a game controller. They’re too different things. Of course, the smartphones and pads nowadays have the option to buy a separate controller, but that’s going beside the point and the intended design of having just the screen in your hands and nothing else. If a game for the mobile market is designed to take advantage of a game controller in the first place, then it should appear on systems that use a controller rather than just a touchscreen.

Because of the origin and how the mobile market has become to be, and still is, it’s a separate entity that does not directly compete with the handheld game console market, that’s pretty much in Nintendo’s control.  SONY barely has any part in it, and Microsoft it automatically in the third place for not having a portable gaming console, which is just for the better if all signs are to be considered.

As the mobile market is more mainstream than the current handheld market (things were different during DS after the second year) people are still willing to buy a dedicated machine for a thing. Most pads I know are used just like any laptop would be, ie. somewhat stripped down mobile desktop computer, but game consoles have always been just for games. I used to see people playing a DS here and there, but thus far I haven’t seen one person who wasn’t by friend using their 3DS anywhere. The 3DS doesn’t interest people not because the mobile market exist, but rather than the handheld market doesn’t cater their wants and needs, and lacks the things to grasp their attention.

How does a game company, that has developed arcade and console games for decades, enter the mobile market? With great difficulties. CAPCOM’s Rockman Xover was received with large negative reception, and unlike most of their dead games, CAPCOM just continues on making content for a game nobody wanted.

Speaking of mobile games, damn âge for cancelling that mobile Muv-Luv themed card game. It looked delicious.

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