In the past few months, Japanese games publisher Konami has been at the centre of several controversies. It began with a reported rift between the publisher and the creator of the Metal Gear series, Hideo Kojima. The well-known games developer was previously Konami’s Executive Content Officer but Konami removed his name off their list of executives, took Kojima’s name off of the Metal Gear series’ websites, and said that the Metal Gear games would continue with or without him. The publisher even filed a copyright notice to have a YouTube video taken down after it alleged that the company would fire hundreds of people and would “burn” the Metal Gear series to the ground.
Konami also made a series of drastic business shifts too. Despite Silent Hills being one of Konami’s most highly anticipated games, the game was cancelled, the P.T demo was taken down, and director Guillermo Del Toro considered leaving the games industry for good as a result. Then, Konami delisted themselves from the New York Stock Exchange and CEO Hideki Hayakawa announced that their “main platform” would be mobile.
Understandably, this led to some serious concern and even anger amongst Konami’s fanbase. Not only did fans feel as though they weren’t getting the full story, but the fact that Konami was having information removed from the web meant that they continued to be left in the dark. However the company has now released a statement admitting that “the conjecture surrounding our recent changes has prompted a great deal of anxiety, for which we apologize” and in a new interview with Nikkei Trendy Net the publisher has shed more light about what’s going on.
On their CEO’s mobile stance, the publisher clarified, saying that they aren’t abandoning console gaming, as was initially feared:
“[When Hayakawa was a producer on a mobile game in 2010, he] strongly felt that mobile devices would soon become the major game platforms, and that our business would depend on running an ‘operation-driven’ model that would allow us to stay abreast of changing customer usage trends and swiftly evolve our games to suit them.
Our aim is to continue to build up a comprehensive portfolio of console, arcade, and card game titles for each IP while also making the best possible use of the mobile devices that accompany our customers in their daily life, thus expanding the limits of entertainment and appealing to more and more customers.
The role of the mobile platform will be to connect people with their games across various devices, and so the methods and presentation employed in distributing information on mobile devices will be critical.”
While Konami will certainly be doing more to increase its mobile gaming growth, their words seem to suggest that they’d like these sides of their business to work together, harmoniously, rather than focusing on one or the other. While that may lead to more companion apps and gaming apps based on Konami’s famous console franchises, it hopefully means that the publisher is still committed to delivering great games to fans playing on consoles.
The company also says that Metal Gear and Silent Hill are “extremely important” to them and that “the [MGS 5] development team is diligently working together.” Konami didn’t discuss the ongoing situation between the company and Kojima but they did reveal that on March 16 they introduced a new production division system which aimed to make “clear distinctions between management and creative roles.” Given just how involved Kojima is when it comes to the development of his games, some are suggesting that this new management shift is what forced the developer out.