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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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Dan Pearson