Capcom Rising

Capcom Rising
If you play games, it’s difficult not to have a little bit of a soft spot for Capcom. Whether you have fond memories of blasting through Mega Man, performing joypad gymnastics on Street Fighter II, or perhaps more recently entering the Resident Evil mansion for the first time, Capcom’s long line of hit franchises means that if you play games, you’ve almost certainly played a Capcom game.

And it is all thanks to the Japanese firm’s highly respected development operation. As track records go, it’s pretty impressive. New head of US and Europe at Capcom Mark Beaumont knows it – but he intends to expand upon it too.

“The basis for our business is the games coming out of Japan, but we have more and more product coming for the Western market, and those will be next-gen products starting in 2008,” begins a fast-talking Beaumont.

“What we’re looking to do is to work with more external studios – we’re not looking to build a studio or acquire right now, but we do want to work with studios that have core competencies in the areas in which we want to be stronger.”

So it is clear that while of course the quality Japanese content will keep on coming, Capcom, like fellow Japanese firm Sega, is looking to achieve global growth by tapping into the Western market. And Beaumont isn’t afraid to shout about it.

“The company is doing about 50 per cent of its revenues in Japan, and that market is about 20 per cent of the worldwide market so if you flip it around the other way we’re really not exploiting the Western territories in the way we should be. That’s really the push for us for the next couple of years – growing our share in Europe and North America and really making a statement about being a broader and more diversified company. Capcom is known for the horror category – you might say we own it – but we’re looking to diversify into other genres.”

But that’s not Beaumont’s only mission. Having expanded his role from boss of North and South America, he wants to bring ‘Capcom West’ closer together. “What we’re doing with Lost Planet – and what we want to do a lot more – is getting games available in the US and Europe on the same day, with our triple–A products and soon our lower level titles as well. It allows us marketing efficiencies and economies and helps us overall to be more effective when we launch a game.”

Just like Sega, Square-Enix and Namco-Bandai have promised in the pages of MCV to invade the Western market, now Mark Beaumont and Capcom is coming to steal market share from the likes of EA, THQ and Ubisoft.

In Japan – and certainly within the gaming fraternity – Capcom already has a big reputation, but now it wants more. It wants genuine global reach. So Western publishers better watch out, adds Beaumont.
“We’re getting to the point where we’re starting to ramp up over here. I expect our Q4 to be very strong.”

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