I’m late to this story because I hadn’t heard about this until after I subscribed to ReviewTechUSA. I have a hard time agreeing with what Rich says about Resident Evil (another post for another time) or that Capcom’s collapse could lead to a collapse of the video game industry, but it’s hard to disagree with his assessment that the company is in serious trouble. There are three videos regarding this issue, all posted here, with the articles he cited, in the order they were created (oldest to newest).
Video 1: Capcom Is Almost Dead (They’re Broke)
Video 2: Capcom “Lacks Resources” To Port Street Fighter To Next Gen
Video 3: Capcom Opening Up Mobile Gaming Studio
Finished reading and watching? Before beginning, I have written about Capcom previously. In fact, I tore into Super Street Fighter IV, the latest game of the series, for being an unbalanced, and clearly untested (see infinite combos) mess. After spending my hard-earned money on that disappointment, I kept my distance from Capcom as best as I could. While I would eventually pick up Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, it was when both were at less than half their original prices. The one exception to this was Resident Evil 6, a game I thoroughly enjoyed (once again, another post for another time). To me, it was about trust. Even before the on-disc downloadable content (DLC) fiasco (if you missed it, here’s Angry Joe’s Angry Rant on the subject), Capcom had lost my trust. It wasn’t just Super Street Fighter IV, which may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, it was a slew of poorly designed, if not outright incomplete games, dating back to the previous generation. The most egregious example was Lost Planet 2, a game that was so riddled with glitches, it should have been delayed another few months, if not a year. Even the most loyal of Capcom fans would have trouble forgiving these transgressions.
Suffice to say, I have mixed feelings about this. My first thought is that, like Rich, I hope that Capcom finds a way to pull through. I would hate seeing the company that makes Mega Man, Resident Evil, and Street Fighter, games I grew up playing, be forced to shut down. I imagine many people who have been following this news feels the same, especially the older gamers. The next thing that comes to mind, however, is that, if Capcom’s survival means a continuation of the present business practices, then it might be better if the company was forced to go through bankruptcy proceedings. Despite what Rich has saying, Capcom going bankrupt wouldn’t bring about a collapse of the gaming industry. It would take the collapse of a much larger company, like Sony for example, for that to happen. Bankruptcy also wouldn’t mean the end of our favourite franchises. If Capcom doesn’t find new ownership, I’d imagine a number of gaming companies will be fighting over the rights to it’s many game series. For example, imagine how well the Wii U would sell if Nintendo acquired the right to Mega Man (Rockman in Japan) and announced a new game was in development. Aside from the ‘Big Three’, there are a number of third-party developers who would jump at the chance to have the rights to one of Capcom’s game series. At least then gamers could get the games they want.
To say that Capcom has questionable management is an understatement. There have been a number of decisions which have left many gamers, including myself, scratching their heads. Take, for example, the current state of the Mega Man franchise. The cancellation of Mega Man Universe, for example, was particularly confusing as Capcom had already spent, I assume, millions in developing and advertising the game. This was not the first Mega Man title that was cancelled, however. A two years ago, Mega Man Legends 3 for the Nintendo 3DS, another highly anticipated game, was cancelled months after it was announced. Considering that Mega Man was Capcom’s original flagship franchise, one has to wonder why fans of the series have been left waiting years for a new game. With ‘The Blue Bomber’ appearing in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. games for the Wii U and 3DS, these fans will have to make due until a new Mega Man game is finally announced. There are other examples I could discuss, but I think I’ve made my point.
As for the news that Capcom is opening a new mobile game studio, why did it take them so long? Mobile gaming with handheld devices is very popular right now. If I were making the decisions at Capcom, I would have made sure that older titles like Mega Man and Ghosts ‘n Goblins were ported over, with or without a high definition upgrade, three years ago when Angry Birds first became a hit. While there are a few titles out already, there are so many more that are not yet available. These are titles everyone, fans and newcomers, would buy, especially at reasonable prices. A quick cash infusion from the sale of these games would help put Capcom back on track. From there, with the profits they will receive from Ultra Street Fighter IV, they could afford to port said game to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Capcom can’t simply stay afloat. They need to start planning for the next console generation. Capcom’s statement concerning DLC and actions towards mobile gaming demonstrate that they aren’t.
In any event, Capcom’s fate, in my opinion, will be determined with the release of Ultra Street Fighter IV. If the company has no intentions of localizing Sengoku Basara 4, a game they’ve spent millions developing (considering their predicament and FUNimation’s success with the anime, one would think they would at least take a chance), than they’re hoping Ultra Street Fighter IV will sell enough to keep Capcom afloat for a bit longer. From there, they either start selling off assets and/or cutting jobs or they will collapse. Mismanagement has brought them to this point, and while I would hate to see Capcom go under, maybe it’s for the best. Let’s hope that, if that day does come, the rights to our favourite franchises are quickly bought up. I’d imagine Nintendo would give Mega Man more respect that Capcom has of late.