News: ‘Mobile Is Where the Future of Gaming Really Is’

There's not much to be done for other Konami properties though
At the very least the spirit of Castlevania will live on through Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Konami Wipes its Arse With the Console Gaming Market

Fuck you, Konami. P.T. may not have been a particularly good game [regardless of what fanboys may contend], but it was still part of video game history. It prompted the internet to work together in solving a bunch of cryptic puzzles, and in doing so it stirred up a great deal of excitement for Silent Hills. Now that Silent Hills is officially no more Konami have shown little in the way of compunction in immediately yanking the teaser from PSN, denying it to future generations. Make no mistake – this was a complete dick move. Konami have shown themselves to be terrible custodians of the video game medium, but then that much was already apparent with the release of the Silent Hill HD Collection.

So, in an act of vandalism Konami has abolished any trace that Silent Hills ever existed, but at the end of the day they had the legal right to do so, so whatever. What sticks in the craw however, is that Konami did this in such a slipshod manner that they managed to completely break the digital libraries of many North American gamers. The way that PS4 DRM works is that every piece of owned content has two licenses: one license in the user’s game library, and one license on Sony’s servers – these licenses are then matched up each time the console does a DRM check in order to validate the content. In deleting any trace of P.T. from PSN, Konami succeeded in deleting the game license from Sony’s servers, yet the game license on the user’s end was not being deleted, so when the user’s PS4 conducts a periodic DRM check the licenses are no longer matching up, and thus their entire digital library has been rendered inaccessible. This issue only appears to have effected gamers with secondary PS4s, and it appears to have been resolved now regardless – that being said, this situation is still rather telling with respect to how little regard modern Konami has for their customers, but then why would they have any regard for their console customers when Konami plans to leave them behind for the mobile market?

Sega needs to manage its expectations.
There is nothing about this game that could be truthfully described as ‘disappointing’.

Sega Laments ‘Poor’ Alien Isolation Sales

How many units of Alien Isolation did Sega expect to sell? Sega has this week released their financial results for the past twelve months, wherein they lament the poor sales of Alien Isolation despite the fact that it went on to sell 2.1 million copies, and in spite of the fact that Sega sold a million more games than they predicted they would a year ago. Sega also described the sales of Sonic Boom as being disappointing at 620,000 sales across two very different versions of the game, though this was entirely expected as the game itself is horrible.

This industry is run at the most fundamental level by people who do not understand what video games are, much less have any kind of nuanced knowledge of the medium. Contrary to the earnest beliefs of the out of touch old men running these companies, games are not interchangeable widgets, and their sales potential is determined by a hell of a lot more than having access to a recognisable franchise name. Alien Isolation is a survival horror game, moreover it is a survival horror game which eschews the emphasis on combat of popular titles like Resident Evil and Silent Hill in favour of an emphasis on cautious stealth.

At 2.1 million units sold of this full priced game, Alien Isolation is the most successful game of its kind. If Sega executives thought that the game would sell like Call of Duty then they were doing their jobs wrong, especially given the damage done to the brand following the abortive release of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Games of this type usually do not sell as many copies as Alien Isolation, and they usually are not sold at a $60 price point. That said, these games are not typically developed with high production values of something like Alien Isolation, meaning that they do not need to perform as well in order to turn a profit. If Alien Isolation‘s 2.1 million sales are disappointing to Sega, then Sega needs to work at a more reasonable set of expectations.

Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes SLIDER
Konami: the company that decided it no longer wanted to have Hideo Kojima work for them.

Konami Blithely Scatter Their Development Talent to the Four Winds

Konami’s blunders for the week seem eminently more understandable when keeping in mind that they no longer wish to be in the console development industry, and as such are in the process of sabotaging their console business. So Konami take back the short demo they gave to PS4 owners, break user’s digital libraries, and then to add insult to injury Konami’s new CEO spoke to Nekkei Trendy this week to properly emphasise just how unimportant console gamers were to Konami’s future plans:

We are going to pursue development of mobile games aggressively, our main development platform will be mobile devices. Power Pro and Winning Eleven are examples of the pay-as-you-play model we’re focusing on. Our future games have to move from selling “items” to selling “features”.

We noticed that people who buy physical [retail] games are still motivated to buy extra content. The sales of Power Pro has really motivated us to push more of our popular series into mobile development.

While gaming has branched out onto a multitude of platforms, we always feel like mobile is the platform closest to us. Mobile is where the future of gaming really is.

As with multiplatform titles, there’s no point in dividing the market up anymore. Mobiles are going to be the bridge in between the general public, and the gaming world.

Konami is a sick joke of a company. The Konami management understands so little about gaming that they cannot even see why burning their bridges with console gamers might be a bad thing. Right now their profits are being made with mobile apps and gambling, but if the pendulum should swing the other way, what then? It is far quicker to dismantle something than it is to build it up. Konami cannot simply grow themselves another Hideo Kojima or Koji Igarashi should the situation require it – they will be stranded in a sea of FTP swill. Meanwhile Igarashi’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has smashed its way past two million dollars pledged on Kickstarter with twenty-seven days to go, and Kojima is likely to have his pick of suitors following the release of Metal Gear Solid V.

13 comments

  1. Konami have lost their fucking minds. They have such great properties on their hands too, and they are going to turn them into boring, mind-numbing mobile shovelware. It’s a shame and a travesty to their legacy.

    Very well written article. I enjoyed reading this.

  2. Agreed. There’s just so many bad things going on. You do a great job of summarizing the outrage that all of us are feeling. I look forward to this every week, it is kind of a cathartic release in a way.

    Wonder when we’ll see a FTP Suikoden title! *cries*

  3. Konami going mobile-only, and considering their other business interests, seems like they are focusing on the Japanese market only (in the dickest ways possible). Meanwhile, the trend of the main creative personalities leaving these companies to do their own thing seems like a good thing to me. The major downside to that is how long it seems to take to get these games made (i.e., it seems like Mighty No. 9 has taken forever, but that may be due to the whole Kickstartering process of releasing details bit by bit since a project’s inception).

    We’re watching video games go through a major transitional period of reacting to a serious threat [mobile apps] to the integrity of the art form. Look at that happened to the music industry since the inception of iPod and iTunes. This digital-mobile future is a pretty destructive force. But then things emerge to try to preserve integrity somehow, like the comeback of vinyl. There’s two record stores within a 10-mile radius of me who make their main business on vinyl, with used cd’s as a small afterthought (and more stores like them in the surrounding counties). Vinyl was supposed to have gone off to live with the dodo, and yet here we are. So the pressure on the video game industry caused by mobile will squeeze out a lot of shit while some gems get made in the midst, I expect.

    I just don’t know what we would do without Lusipurr.com… sit at home and apply Imitanus while huffing copious amounts of Zestria, over and over again, hoping to get that feeling back, but nothing could fill that void.

  4. Digital distribution of music has made music better, not worse.

  5. Also also, I’d love to know why you think that being pressed to an archaic medium somehow confers extra credibility onto a piece of music, when the piece of music in question is precisely the same as the music already available for digital download.

  6. @DancingMatt: If the future of decent videogames is analogus to the future of vinyl records–i.e. it becomes some sort of ultraniche hobby for mental defectives who need to convince themselves of demonstrably untrue bullshit in order to feel superior to the rest of gamers–then we’re doomed and gaming should just die and get it over with quickly.

    I think instead that this is more like the shift in the early 80s from huge devs who churned out an avalanche of shit to smaller companies that made awesome stuff (and who are now the huge devs of today).

  7. Digital distribution has collapsed thousands of businesses which once served as local focal points for music enthusiasts, funneling that money instead through a smaller number of hands disconnected from local communities. That’s what I was referring to by “integrity.” But one’s relationship to music and how it’s experienced is one’s own and just because most people are fine experiencing their music through computers, doesn’t mean everybody is. Though it is very annoying to use that as some smug superiority to cast disdain on people who prefer different things, and furthermore cast dispersions on their character.

    When you own a piece of vinyl, you own that piece for a very long time, and can play it on demand. Much like a physical copy of a video game compared to a digital one. Or a book for that matter. It’s great that people enjoy having digital content replace physical goods, but I prefer the latter and am glad when such things survive. Also, saying “vinyl is for hipsters,” is itself for hipsters.

    You may one day see that console gaming is in the same position that records are in now. You will have nothing but mobile, streaming, digital-only games, and if there’s a PlayStation left, it will be looked upon as a very niche hobby (and probably digital-only anyways). I don’t want that either.

  8. Digital distribution has collapsed the purveyors of middle-of-the-road dreck, and has allowed less mainstream acts to sell their music directly to the consumer instead of having to go through a publishing middle-man. This has greatly expanded the genres available.

    Vinyl is nice to have for collectors, but claiming that it confers anything beyond that onto a piece of music is demonstrably false, and is the sort of elitist waffle that a hipster would say.

  9. Konami had a string of good GameBoy Castlevania’s one of which is one of my all time favorite Castlevania games, Dawn of Sorrow. Then they did that 3D one, and I’m pretty sure no one bought it. Konami thought, “no one wants GameBoy Castlevania games.” And so ended a string of enjoyable games.

  10. Great article, ignore the rambles below.

    I can’t wait for Konami at E3, if that’s even still a thing. It will hopefully be a business man saying that they will still work to maintain the franchises we know of love, then announce ZOE 2, which is a mobile free to play game that will have the Kojima Presents label (even though he has nothing to do with it just to give him a final farewell). Maybe even cardboard standouts of Kojima/Igarshi at the conference. Actually, they will just hire look alikes in an attempt to fool consumers, Kideo Hojima for example.

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