Japanese firm plans to sign sports titles by independent studios to help grow its casual game slate

Capcom wants a slice of the Western development sector

Capcom has revealed it wants to sign up sports games developed by independent studios in the West as part its bid to target the casual games space.

In its 2008 investors report, published today, the Japanese publisher/developer’s COO said the firm is still keen to grow its slate of games made by teams in North America and Europe.

"As the market underwent major changes, we believed that it was extremely crucial for a Japanese game developer to swiftly organise a structure to create and sell hit titles overseas," say the commentary by chief operating officer and president Haruhiro Tsujimoto.

Globally, the publisher side of the business is looking towards embracing a direct-sales operation – and its dealings with developers have changed accordingly, said Tsujimoto.

"We are not just focusing on the sales structure. A plan is also in place for launching several titles on which we have bee working while collaborating with development companies overseas. These software titles have been developed with the tastes of our overseas consumers in mind so as to realise further growth in the overseas market that is showing significant growth. Combining titles developed in Japan with titles developed locally overseas has enabled us to establish a structure that can steadily supply software titles worldwide."

As part of this, the firm is also looking to grow the type of games it offers as well as the quantity, said Tsujimoto, after successfully applying its action/adventure skills to the casual space with DS game Apollo Justice and PC title Monster Hunter Freedom.

Explained Tsujimoto: "We are also planning to expand the genre itself to address the needs of an even wider range of consumers. Our first strategy in this endeavor is to expand into the sports genre."

And inspired by its work with third-parties to produce MotoGP 07 and We Love Golf! for the Wii, Capcom wants to work with more independent studios: "We will continue to supply game titles in this genre by collaborating with companies with an already established record for developing sport-related games."

Tsujimoto also took time in the report to single out Capcom’s internal engine MT Framework as responsbile for much of its success in the cross-platform release of games in the West.

He said: "Over this fiscal year, our ‘multi-platform development’ strategy using our development engine MT Framework became the driving force for the major leap forward we made overseas. By simultaneously developing game software for several game consoles, we were able to address the market environment in which a variety of game consoles are waging war with one another and the most popular game consoles differ in Japan, the USA and Europe. This strategy served to minimise the effect on our sales that the fluctuating popularity of each game console would have while selling our video games to the maximum number of users."

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