GS: The train thing really seems to be what has driven mobile use in Japan, in my mind, because everybody takes the train for transportation and so, you can check your Internet, you play the games, you can check your Mixi [Japanese equivalent of Myspace] and things like that.
I think it's a common fallacy though, because if you see what happens
at ‑‑ the train is just one part of a Japanese person's life, just like
in the U.S. driving is one part of our life. But everyone has time on
their hands. Maybe you're in the bathroom, maybe you're at the airport,
maybe you're at home in bed. You always have time.
don't think that the carriers really have lived up to the huge power
that they could have, and they probably don't realize exactly what they
need to do. But it will become more and more obvious as more and more
phones become higher end and people want to have that next game.
And, maybe they want to buy Verizon because only Verizon has that phone, for example, or that game for example. So when you have that kind of exclusionary model, I think you're going to have a whole renaissance of hand‑held gaming.
GS: Although, and again, it could be part of the problem of not being marketed right, games are still a really small percentage of the carriers' bottom line.
JL: Data in general in the U.S. is still only about, at most, say 10 percent. Where Japan's almost up to 30 percent.
JG: I don't think it's the games. I think it shows that people don’t understand their phones and have that relationship with the phone. Because, it's not just...
JL: It's a phone in the U.S..
JG: Right, it's a phone in the U.S. still. Where in Japan it's the entire Internet.
I actually think if it's not the carrier ‑‑ because, they may never get
to that point, they'll wait until the business grows to that point.
One of the interesting things that is fascinating is this younger generation. Kids who grow up with this and now have it ingrained in them. You look at something like instant messaging where, in my generation, people have the attitude of “I’ve got to do it because of the people in it.” Kids today don't live without it. And it's become that way with their phones.
it's not necessarily that they're traveling any more. It's just that
when they're hanging out with their friends, they're still text
messaging the guy who's across the street or playing the game or
sharing some data.
So, when that generation that's 14 today, turns 21, by then it will be pervasive because it's part of their culture.
JG: Yeah, exactly. And, even if the carriers don't step it up, which, as you said, is really an economic thing, people will adopt it and it will become just as important as it to the Japanese.
GS: Some people have done mobile to DS transitions and things like that. Have you thought about that at all?
JG: No, because I think that for Hudson, we would not do that. We would not take ‑‑ you're talking about the code?
JG: Yeah, when you develop for the DS you develop for the DS. You don't want to take something that's not meant for that device. Because yes, we want to have an agnostic platform for all of our games, but we want to develop for each and every one of those specifically.
GS: Why do you think there's been so little from Hudson for so long in the West?
I can tell you very honestly that there hasn't been an opportunity for
them. It hasn't been that they haven't tried. I think that they've
tried but they did it the Japanese way. This time this didn't and the
results are already obvious to them.
It's a matter of understanding oh, here's how you do it, number one; and also number two, that's a huge market out there. So, now they're thinking world first - they're not thinking Japan first all the time. They're thinking world first.
It's not like actually, Hudson was ever really gone from the U.S.
market. It's that the focus has been much more behind the scenes. And,
when you're developing middleware, or you're developing for other
people, the publisher gets the limelight more than anything. And,
that's a very sort of Japanese mentality, which isn't necessarily
focused on the marketing part.
I think what's fascinating, what even got me on board, it was the Hudson name still lived on through those years. I can't say how many people there are that are fanatical, just as you are, about the name ‑ like, there's an opportunity, and there’s strong brand equity. And for us not to find a way to aggregate all these businesses under an entertainment unit that included the mobile, including the console, include everything together. It just seems like a smart business move. It's like, here's your opportunity, it really does make sense.
JG: John has a point, it never really went away. One of our big business drivers in Japan is an RSD division. OEMing, basically. OEM software for other companies, for Nintendo ‑ Mario Party, you probably know, Sega Party [Sonic Shuffle –Ed.], all these different games that Hudson has done on a third‑party basis.
GS: Ninja Five‑0 for Konami?
JG: Uh‑huh. Fuzion Frenzy, there's been a lot that they've done, so we're not always in the spotlight. You know, I think traditionally, if you're asking why wasn't Hudson successful before, it's really been marketing. So the games have always been there, whether or not they fit; there's been plenty that have been able to fit, but it's really been the marketing.
And that's where you really need American people running the show, because it's hard for the Japanese to understand the importance the differences in culture and how you get to people, how you make them buy your product.
GS: Branding, too, because the Hudson name wasn't always prominent.
JG: They're like, "Branding? What's that?" Because that's not a Japanese concept, you know, that's very American.