Capcom upping focus on social gaming

Capcom is looking to increase its presence in the social gaming market, so much so that the company’s next Monster Hunter title will be exclusive to the Gree smartphone social-gaming platform in Japan.

Yoshinori Ono, a man largely associated with the Street Fighter series, will be heading up the shift in focus. He told Famitsu (via 1UP): “Capcom has decided to look at the social-game field from the scope of the entire company. Instead of framing it in its own section like consoles or mobile games, it’s something that all of Capcom development is involved with. When it came to be decided who would lead this effort, the baton went to myself since I had a great deal of experience with game communities and to [Monster Hunter Frontier producer] Kazunori Sugiura due to the knowledge he learned about customer service through his experience with MHF.”

Why the increased attention? Because it’s a new challenge for the publisher. “Capcom’s worked on several types of mobile content in the past,” Ono said. “Some of it has succeeded, some hasn’t, but what we’ve learned through this is that while the audience that goes for social games overlaps a bit with the audience Capcom’s traditionally aimed for with its console titles, it’s basically a different group of people. With that in mind, we’re seeking to use the titles and content we’ve cultivated up to now to knock on the door of social gaming. We want to use what we have already, and there will be some name recognition among social gamers for our titles, though naturally we’ll have to think about original content in the future as well.”

MHF Kazunori Sugiura expanded on this, saying: “We don’t know how this will result, but I don’t feel any anxiety about devoting resources into social gaming. As Ono said, we’ve succeeded with some social titles in the past, and we’ve dissected and analyzed what went wrong with the titles that haven’t. The fact we’ve had both experiences is something we can take advantage of greatly. Also — and I think this is one of Capcom’s greatest advantages — our style is never to give up on something simply because we’ve failed at it once. We use failure as a lesson; we cherish it as we decide where to go next. I think that will be a great push to us as we get into this.”

“I mentioned that the audience for console and social games are different beasts,” Ono concluded, “but in this respect I’m only talking about the present time. I’m not going to say they’ll meld into a single market in the future or anything, but I can imagine MonHan Tankenki players being told by their friends ‘Hey, there’s a new game in the original series coming out, too,’ and vice versa. I’d like to see that sort of interaction take place.”

What other Capcom franchises a fit for the social gaming scene, we wonder?