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The name Konami means something different to each gamer. Gamers who grew up during the late 80’s will have fond memories of a notoriously difficult game called Contra. Thanks to Contra‘s difficulty, the Konami Code was made famous. If you weren’t quite old enough yet during the late 80’s to grow up with Contra, the Metal Gear Solid series may ring a bell.

Whatever your favorite flavor of Konami was, the firm released many titles over the years that were responsible for childhood memories. After cementing a legacy in the gaming industry, the company is now going to switch its focus over to the mobile segment. Yes, the same segment responsible for your friends pestering you to play Flappy Bird.

According to a translated interview with new Konami president, Hideki Hayakawa (translation via NeoGAF from a Japanese blog):

We will pursue mobile games aggressively. Our main platform will be mobiles. Following the pay-as-you-play model of games like Power Pro and Winning Eleven with additional content, our games must move from selling things like “items” to selling things like “features.”

We saw with these games that even people who buy physical games are motivated to buy extra content. The success of Power Pro especially has motivated us to actively push more of our popular series onto mobile than ever before.

A bold move considering the company’s history to say the least. In Japan, gaming on consoles is on the decline while mobile gaming has a healthy market. This news still may be unsettling for die hard Konami fans to take in.

Japanese Gaming Market

From a business perspective, it makes sense to go where the money takes you. That being said, the mobile market is also saturated. We could very well witness a bubble popping if the market is flooded further. Trends are constantly changing and what is profitable now may not be so the next five years.

Hayakawa isn’t completely ignoring core titles, though he still wants a strong mobile presence:

We hope that our overseas games such as MGSV and Winning Eleven continue to do well, but we are always thinking about how to push our franchises onto mobile there too.

When faced with reality, there is no denying the huge market of mobile gaming. Not everyone who plays video games have consoles or even a gaming capable PC. Everyday average people are on their cell phone all the time. Be it waiting for a meeting or killing time on the bus, we see these people in our daily lives constantly. Hayakawa is wanting to no longer have separation of mobile gaming with other platforms.

Gaming has spread to a number of platforms, but at the end of the day, the platform that is always closest to us, is mobile. Mobile is where the future of gaming lies.

With multiplatform games, there’s really no point in dividing the market into categories anymore. Mobiles will take on the new role of linking the general public to the gaming world.

I’m not quite sure about mobile being the future of gaming. During the Xbox 360 vs Playstation 3 days, people were claiming HD DVD was the future – we all know how that turned out. As of right now, mobile is a profitable market to tap into. Anyone with a capable phone has played some sort of game at some point. Maybe Konami will cement a new legacy or regret this decision in the long term. Only time will tell if shifting focus to this casual market was the right move for the company.

Hardcore Konami fans still have the classics to play, the greatness of those titles isn’t going to be diminished. Hopefully Konami will be able to keep quality control up.

What are your thoughts on Konami changing their direction in favor of mobile gaming?


Anthony Lee

Gamer since the NES era, computer nerd since 2001. Happily in a loving relationship with a happa who has been a gamer since the Sega Genesis era. Who says Sega does what Nintendon't?