With the volume of stuff Capcom is releasing, you could almost have a Capcom channel on these download services.
CS: I don't think we're there yet, but my hope is that Capcom's name becomes synonymous with: "Y'know, I'm getting good value for money in the digital space, and I'm going to find some fun people to play with when I'm there."
Is this push for digital coming from the U.S. side or the Japan side more?
CS: It's more the U.S. side. I think Japan has been interested in it and Ben Judd in particular has been one of the first producers in Japan to grasp it and say, "You know what, this is really cool," but there will be others, I promise you. So while you're going to see the U.S. leading the charge for a little bit, you are going to see Japan become more active in this space.
It struck me as a natural evolution for the U.S. office, seeing as Capcom U.S. controls the Street Fighter license and has started to be more proactive even with publishing third-party titles like Plunder. Is Capcom going to be expanding more in that direction?
CS: Our western expansion plans have been in progress for about two years. We've talked about this in the past -- there's been some pretty massive restructuring in those two years in both the U.S. office and in Europe. I think you're going to see that continue. We're actually hiring for a whole bunch of positions on both marketing and product development side, because we expect to become an even bigger part of the company's revenue base moving forward.
The issue of where we fit relative to the rest of the company: our revenues are still a bit out of whack in regard to what the actual market sizes are. But I'll use Lost Planet as an example; I think our last announced figure was 1.6 million units sold on the 360 SKU alone -- we're a little bit above that now, but I won't say exactly what. But you can look at the Famitsu numbers and see that less than 100,000 of that was done in Japan.
Similarly, the Devil May Cry numbers, you can look at Japan and see, okay, they did about, hmm, 300,000-ish. And yet we put out a two million announcement. So you can get the idea. There's a lot of units to be done in the west, but revenues overall are still much larger in Japan as a percentage of that market size.
I think it's fair to say that we're probably going to see the Japan market as a whole -- not just for Capcom -- continue to shrink as it has in the last couple of years as the west continues to expand: we're really just investing against that trend.
Why is it that the revenue would be higher in Japan when you're selling fewer units?
CS: Well, they do also have a number of Japan-specific franchises, or franchises that have done really, really well in Japan. I'll use Monster Hunter as an example: Monster Hunter is a phenomenon in Japan, and we're trying to figure out how to make that here -- if we could do half the numbers that it does in Japan, we'll be very happy. We're going to be investing very heavily in the Monster Hunter franchise over the following years to try and close the gap with them there.
And they do a number of Japan-specific titles that do very well for them, and there are arcade operations in Japan that do very well as well. My hope is that we can keep growing Japan as best we can, but the real growth opportunity for the company is in the west, as far as the mismatch between the revenue that's being recorded and what the market sizes are.