When you hear “Capcom,”
you might think of SFIV's bank of hard-to-master characters, or Ghouls 'n'
Ghosts' “Surprise! Do it all over again!” fake-out, or most anything with Mega
Man in the title. But Capcom's best performer over the last six months hasn't
come from any of its stable of legendarily testing franchises: it's been the
company's fast-growing Facebook/mobile division, in particular kid-ready
crowd-pleaser The Smurfs' Village.
You thought the past six
months were tough for fans of Mega Man, who had two titles scrapped this year?
Try being the company making those kind of decisions, particularly when revenue
is down 28% from this time last year and net profits have dropped from ¥1.78
billion ($23.41 million) to ¥906 million ($11.91 million). The company's best
earner hasn't been any of the sectors making the titles you probably know it
for: it's the Mobile Content division, which posted an 89% total revenue gain.
Capcom attributes much of Mobile Content's ¥2.58 billion ($33.93 million)
earnings to The Smurfs Village, calling this the “driving force” of its overall
Capcom's Mobile division
also publishes titles like Capcom Arcade, which repackages games such as Final
Fight and Street Fighter II for mobile players. But it's youth-oriented titles
like Smurfs Village that make the division profitable. The free-play title,
accessible on Facebook or mobile devices, earlier this year had senators asking the FTC to investigate the
incorporation of microtransactions into kid-focused games, after a Maryland
mother was hit with $1400 of charges racked up by her daughter on the game. In
response, Capcom added warnings to the iTunes store and within games like
Above: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D racked up a competent score,
but couldn't hold off the clamoring hordes of mobile Smurf fans
Capcom says entries in
its more traditional franchises such as Resident Evil and Monster Hunter
performed “solidly,” and that the latest Street Fighter IV iteration, Arcade
Edition, “basically achieved” the company's sales targets. However, factors
such as a strong Yen, weak international stock prices and the March earthquake
damaged the performance of these established earners. At the same time, rapid
technological and financial growth in the mobile and social-gaming arenas put
Mobile Content in a good position to save the company's fortunes. So when
you're playing Street Fighter X Tekken online next year, remember to take a
moment and thank the little blue dorks who helped make it all possible...
Oct 26, 2011
Source: GamesIndustry.biz, Metro