Many are wondering why Konami has recorded a fifth consecutive year of profit growth yet they are quietly sitting in the shadows of other leading game publishers and developers. And in an interview with Games Industry, Konami European president Masami Saso not only answered these questions, but he also shared Konami’s vision on games played in consoles as well as eSports.
“The devices to play games have diversified, and the number of people who have the chance to play games has increased.”
“We have been working to have our IPs on multiple devices, such as the PES series for console and mobile, and the Yu-Gi-Oh series on physical cards and mobile games, to reach many users as possible.”
Saso cited Pro Evolution Soccer as an example wherein Konami looked for other new avenues for its growth. While the football series started as a console game back in 1995, it made a significant jump and reached a wider gaming community when Konami released a mobile version back in 2017. As Sosa suggested, the PES series now has over 200 million downloads.
High-End Console Remains Important
But while the game publishing giant manages to make its revenue from its new avenues, Sosa believes they still believe that “high-end console games are the most important. We challenge for innovative ideas and technology within our console games and apply them to other devices, so we will continue to put effort into our console games. We also plan to increase our portfolio. In addition to the multi-device titles for PES and Yu-Gi-Oh, we plan to work on projects with other globally known IPs in the near future.”
“It is a part of our legacy to create new ideas and IPs to fit each age, and we believe that spirit is one of the reasons for our strength in the mobile game market.”
“We can provide high-quality mobile games because of our technology to create high-end console games, as well as having the knowledge to operate games because of our experience in the arcade, PC and browser games. Our extensive experience in creating games for many devices is a strength we have at Konami like no other.”
Konami as eSports Leader
Konami is also making a huge push in eSports. Currently, they are construction an eSports studio in its new headquarters in Tokyo.
“Sport has always been changing — starting from physical sports such as running, throwing, kicking, to field sports like soccer and baseball,” Saso said. “With the industrial revolution came motorsports, and now with greater technology comes eSports.”
“Like any other sport, I believe the goal for eSports in this industry is to have audiences, millions of fans, and become a huge source of entertainment, even larger than just video games. But for now, as a game publisher, we see it as a new field of interacting with and enjoying games. Before we go for the big goal, we are focusing on how to expand the fun in playing, participating and watching eSports”
“In 2020, all eyes will be on sports and Tokyo, thanks to the upcoming Olympics, and Konami intends to be the leader for eSports on a global stage.”
“We will continue to research and develop new opportunities in order to provide games to match the needs quickly. Now people can play games with others from all over the world easily online. The culture of watching people play games is as appealing now as actually playing the games, so we will look to continue to support this as well as eSports.”
“We will continue to provide many games, high-end to casual in many genres, and have fan events and eSports championships in the near and foreseeable future.”