Konami closes US arm of Hudson Soft

Publisher converting Bomberman dev's output to social titles

Japanese publisher Konami is closing down the Hudson Entertainment, the US arm of Hudson Soft, as it begins the process of turning the developer's output towards social titles. The studio will shut its doors at the end of the month.

Konami took a 100 per cent stake in the developer in January of this year, having owned a 54 per cent portion of the company since 2005.

At the time of acquisition, Konami made it clear that Hudson would be primarily producing mobile and social titles from here on. The development of these titles will continue at the company's Japanese office.

The announcement came via the blog of Morgan Haro, a Hudson product and brand manager. His post talks about Hudson as something of a macrocosm of Japanese development as a whole, reflecting the industry's struggle to adapt to an increasingly Western-oriented market.

"Like every company, Hudson Entertainment wasn't perfect," writes Haro. "As the industry continues to march towards the drum of Western game development, Hudson became for me, a symbol of why Japan has fallen behind when it comes to bringing world-wide hits to gamers.

"The act of producing and developing a game in Japan, and then bringing that game over to the US to compete in an increasingly competitive market is more and more, and incredibly tough proposition.

"A challenge in itself to be sure, but to compound the issue, minimal communication and stifled collaboration seems to be hampering the chances of success. In previous generations, developers only had so many factors to worry about to produce a title that meets a general level of acceptance.

"But as we, as gamers, became more accustomed to games that demanded not only more from the player, and in turn, more from the developer, many companies seem to be having a hard time keeping up.

"Meanwhile, there were countless missed collaboration opportunities between the US and Japan. By the time we had received the game design document for any given title, development was more than likely well underway, usually past the point of the dev team able to make any major changes," he continues.

"Usually, a green-lit concept would have some redeeming ideas, but from my perspective, there were countless opportunities our titles weren't taking advantage of. Numerous trends to not only watch out for and adapt to, but possibly start as well. It was only at the start of 2011 did an air of change come to that communication process. But it appears it was too late."

All current projects at Hudson Entertainment have been permanently suspended, but parent company Hudson Soft remains unaffected.

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Latest comments (7)

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany7 years ago
More social games?, thanks, we have very little of those... (sarcasm)
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Francisco Javier QA Engineering & Coordination, Saber Interactive Spain7 years ago
Such a classic in the gaming industry, killed by the stupid game industry tendencies. To me, it feels like we killed our own industry.
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I get it that social and casual games will eventually corner 40-45% of the market, but to kill developers with such pedigree....what happens when we're our to our eyeballs in shovelware social, mobile phone and casual sh*teware?
Repeat rinse and back to quality entertainment?

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Turning a blue ocean into a red ocean. Good job.
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Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 7 years ago
Awesome news. This takes us one step closer to the social gaming bubble bursting and making everyone involved with it very wet.

I just wish we didn't have to sacrifice Hudson to get it. This is what we've become? We took out Hudson to have them make stupid Facebook games? Shameful.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 9th February 2011 9:04pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
I hope everyone finds more work somewhere in the industry - this is turning into quite the crappy week...

As for this news, well, we only have ourselves to blame for just sucking in all the Facebook games all the time, calling the trend (and it is a trend that will, as Chris says pop BIG time one fine and dandy day) a game-changer and pretty much creating a new era of free or cheap clones of each other that tend to play alike save for a few tweaks here and there.

Imagine if it were hidden object games that caught on that huge? Hell, we'd all be playing COD: Mystery Shooter or some other popular franchise turned into a playable advent calendar. AND calling it "innovative" at that...

Granted, Hudson's output over the past few years hasn't been packed with loads of memorable mega-hits. Still, I wish we were in the days where all games were sold as packaged goods. That way, I could at least have Bonk: Brink of Extinction or Bomberman: Battlefest to whip out and show off along with Lost In Shadow as museum pieces. That and Neo Nectaris: Military Madness on the iPT. Hell, I spent MONTHS putting together a strategy guide for that game for Hudson and now it's going to vanish for good at month's end? That really sucks.

Feh. When I hear of games such as Farmville or hell, even a cheap mega-hit like Angry Birds any other mobile game being spoken of in the same breath as an 60-hour RPG or other, deeper game experiences as "equals", it makes me cringe. Sure, I love the idea of getting gaming to the masses and as many people seeing the hobby has many facets, but not at this cost.
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R.I.P Hudson Soft
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