How did the Square Enix thing come about after that?
KF: I think they [saw] some synergy effects, like Square Enix and Taito's specialties are totally different. Taito has the arcade, and Square Enix is most known for consoles. So this is kind of a mutual benefit. It's the same thing with the mobile business, as well.
Was it a mutual agreement, or did Square Enix take over?
KF: Square Enix is considered as the one only shareholder of Taito Corporation. Some management staff has been sent from Square Enix. Some Square Enix executive staff have taken care of Taito as well, actually.
But not the other way?
KF: No, not the other way around. So
you can take it as a subsidiary. They still want to maintain the name
of Taito Corporation, because Taito is pretty famous for its arcade
classics. Branding-wise, they still clearly make it separate.
If you know, how is the arcade market doing in Japan right now?
KF: Good question. I think there's
still a market in Japan. It's very quiet in the overseas market, I guess.
I heard from our arcade team -- I thought they were selling arcade machines
for arcade space in the United States, but it was not true... What I
was explained, that the classic game collectors actually purchase the
arcade machines and put them in their home. That's amazing! That would
never happen in Japan, because you know Japanese houses are...
KF: It's amazing. I think Namco is
Taito's distributor of arcade machines here. I have no idea if Square
Enix will take over this business, or if they'll ask Namco to take care
of it. Namco has experience and distribution channels here, and Square
Enix doesn't have any experience with arcade machines, so I guess Square
Enix will not take care of Taito's arcade machines.
In Japan, is it still a good market?
KF: I would say that it's a good business,
cash flow-wise. It's cash-based, the arcade machines. It's pretty good,
actually. We're not only putting Taito's arcade machines in our shops.
Actually, all the Namco, Konami, and Sega arcade machines -- all the
other publisher's arcade machines are also there, actually.
I've been to Hey and some other places. I've been to a few of the Taito-owned arcades. Do you also operate in pachinko at all?
KF: No, we don't do that.
KF: We don't do that, but I think we've
developed a Space Invaders slot [machine].
Or is it just a license?
KF: No, it's an in-house arcade production, actually. I know exactly who is making it.
It almost seems like you could make
a Cooking Mama arcade game, like with stirring and chopping.
KF: Taito has the skill and the quality
of arcade machines, so they could develop an arcade version of Cooking
Mama. A virtual knife and cooking board or something...
Yeah, they really should do that.
It would make sense. You should tell them to do it.
KF: Maybe they're planning! I don't know.