Hideki Hayakawa became Konami Digital Entertainment's representative director last month; now he's speaking out about his plans for the business. Those plans include a shift away from physical retail, a focus on additional content and combining mobile, console and arcade.
"I felt strongly that from now on, mobile will be at the heart of game platforms, and that we need a business strategy which creates games in accordance with observations of consumer usage trends. Arcade games, console games, card games; we need to shift from selling 'physical things' to selling 'intangible things'," he told Nikkei Trendy.
"Within those initiatives, it's not that we're going to totally stop selling console game software; we're starting to introduce the so-called 'additional charges model' to Jikkyo Power Pro Baseball and Winning Eleven."
Despite the reports circulating online, he went on to explain that this didn't mean ignoring other platforms, but combining elements of all of them.
"Recently I hear the phrase 'mobile first' a lot, but for our company, 'mobile first' doesn't mean just doing mobile. Rather, it means that we will combine the use of mobile, the platform which is closest to our customers, with consoles, arcade games and card games, construct a portfolio, expand the styles of play and our customer base."
"It's not that we're going to totally stop selling console game software"
During the interview, he went into further detail about the business models for Jikkyo Power Pro Baseball and Winning Eleven, explaining the potential for monetisation.
"Through this, we've seen that customers who have bought packaged software also have a latent motivation to buy extras. In a mobile game, we generally know what areas to change or what prices to raise in order to raise user retention, user monetisation, our KPIs. It's the case that when we use that know-how well, we can sense a good response from customers."
He also made comments that should be particularly interesting to anyone who has watched the situation with Hideo Kojima and Konami unfold.
"I'm going to clearly divide management and creative roles. Up until now, creative roles have been very broad, covering even the management of the organisation. I think that really focusing deeply on one project is a strong approach, but if an entirely different trend emerges then you're left unable to leverage those skills or cope with it," he said.
"The policy of expanding our IP beyond games is one such thing; moving from home consoles to mobiles is the same. In the new system, people in management will be able to decide how best to exploit all our resources, and thoroughly create a strategy. Then they can execute that alongside the creative people. That's how we're going to do things from now on."
Thanks to GamesIndustry.biz columnist Rob Fahey for his translation of the original Japanese interview.