It has recently been brought to light by GamesIndustry that one of the biggest third party publisher/developers on the planet; Capcom, is in worrying financial trouble. Their accounts sit hovering around the $152,000,000 figure whilst shareholders gather to ponder what exactly went wrong. To ordinary folk like you and me, $152,000,000 seems like an insurmountable fortune, and it is. However to a company the size of Capcom, especially in an industry like gaming which is bracing itself for a brand new generation, it is an extremely worrying figure. With technology expected to skyrocket in the coming years, so are the predicted costs and budgets for new projects. With Grand Theft Auto V recently rumouring to of cost Rockstar a gargantuan $265,000,000 to create, over $100,000,000 more than what Capcom have left. The future seems daunting for the Japanese company known for smash hits like Mega Man, Monster Hunter & Devil May Cry, and household names such as Street Fighter & Resident Evil.
It’s no secret that Capcom have made some controversial decisions in the past couple of years amongst it’s fans, but nobody could of predicted that they would come even remotely close to going under, especially as the embers from the burial pyre for THQ have only recently extinguished. Fans have recently been speculating on what has caused this situation to arise, and what you can learn with a little research is very interesting. They have cancelled several Mega Man projects in the last 10 years, one of which was rumoured to be near completion. They even nobly decided to start a project in which the fans themselves could become involved with ideas and concepts, but they cancelled that despite over 30,000 fans taking direct part in the games creation.
It is also no secret that many die hard Resident Evil fans have been disgruntled at the direction of which the series has gone since Shinji Mikami left the company in 2004, after the completion of the iconic fourth instalment to the series. Many speculate that disagreements with the upper management caused him and many other iconic visionaries to leave the company, which in part is a large portion of fan speculation on as to why Capcom are in trouble in the first place. With series such as Mega Man having no iterations at all since Keiji Inafune left the company, and Devil May Cry having an extremely controversial reboot in the wake of Hideki Kamiya’s departure, loyal Capcom fans may not be wrong.
Unfortunately, Capcom have been on the receiving end of negative press for their DLC (Downloadable Content) practices, with Street Fighter x Tekken, Resident Evil 6 & Dead Rising 2 having content already on the disk which had been funded with the development budget cut from the final game and sold separately. Street Fighter x Tekken was the most infamous one as it contained 12 unique characters that were finalized and ready for use before the game released, that were locked from the consumer and later planned to be sold as an expansion pack for a fairly hefty $19.99. This caused an uproar within the community, with some fans going as far as calling the practice criminal fraud. To many peoples dismay, Capcom have recently stated that due to the lack of profit generated from their recent releases, they are going to increase their focus on the creation of DLC for some of their titles like Resident Evil, instead of starting entirely new projects for sequels.
It isn’t all bad for Capcom however, as they recently released Monster Hunter 4 for the Nintendo 3DS locally in Japan which has sold over 2 million units in the first few days of release. These numbers are estimated to grow even quicker with time, but with no release date announced outside of Japan, one can only question whether they will squander the opportunity to port it to Europe & North America for much greater profits.
With their future as a company being threatened by bankruptcy, the entire industry focuses it’s gaze on Capcom to see if and how they can turn this around. With costs for future projects and technologies inevitably rising and Capcom’s fanbase steadily dwindling, they may have to attempt to rekindle their love with their fanbase and in the eyes of many; return to form.