Today, Capcom announced they will spend nearly $80 million dollars (8 billion yen) on two new R&D buildings in Osaka, Japan near it’s main office. Capcom said the choice to build these two new buildings is in response to the release of the Xbox One and PS4, as well as the rapidly growing focus on the digital marketplace. This is in line with Capcom’s previous moves to make it’s development more centralized, as they hope to increase the quality of their games. The two buildings, called Building S and Building N, have planned completion dates of January 2015, and February 2016 respectively.
This move by Capcom also seems to be in response to the growth of the mobile and social gaming industry. In their announcement, Capcom said “The profit structure and business model are changing at an increasing speed as a result. Furthermore, the popularity of social games due to the widespread use of smartphones is enabling games to reach more user segments and enlarging the entire game market.”
Capcom also announced it plan on hiring nearly 100 new developers each year, with most being recent graduates. The Japanese gaming giant has had a plan in place since 2012 to grow it’s workforce by over 1,000 employees. By the year 2022, they plan to have 2,500 total employees. As I stated above, this internal growth is due in large part to a massive, $73 million “special loss” the company made on cancelled projects that were being developed overseas.
This reporter’s opinion: I am always happy for growth in the game community, and especially in Japan. The Japanese gaming industry has had a decently large downturn over the past console generation, so seeing a planned 1,000 new employees and two new buildings going up is incredibly promising. The choice to (seemingly) focus on digital games, especially mobile and social, is quite worrying to me though. I’m not a major fan of free to play or mobile titles, and honestly see them as a fad. I don’t see it as a sustainable business model for a major company like Capcom, and hope they are using these buildings for traditional development as well. Hopefully a new Mega Man is finally in development as well.
by, Bobby Marquardt