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Capcom Talks R&D Restructure, Trusting Creators

Capcom Talks R&D Restructure, Trusting Creators

November 2, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

November 2, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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Japanese-headquartered Resident Evil creator Capcom aims to respond rapidly to its declining profits with "radical" R&D reform -- divergent structural goals are what led to the departure of veteran Keiji Inafune, the company said.

"As we were under preparation for executing these structural reforms, Mr. Inafune stated that he wants to continue working as an independent creator," an official Capcom representative told investors in a recent Japanese question-and-answer session.

Inafune had a different way of phrasing it, criticizing what he sees as a transformation of game creators into "salarymen" in secure corporate structures.

But a stable recovery strategy is likely what Capcom's investors want most to see right now. After closing 2009 with a 73 percent profit drop, the strong yen and the underperformance of key titles continue to challenge the company this year. In its first half, the company saw profits down 43 percent even with sales increases.

"We want to be an organization that can create products that reflect our markets and users," the spokesperson explains. "When several people are responsible for a project, we tend to lose sight of the objectives and decision-making slows down."

The result is what it calls a "unified organizational structure," which Capcom believes will help make the company more efficient and agile." Furthermore, the top management of our R&D operations will fulfill their responsibility to determine major strategic objectives and other goals," the company spokesperson said.

The reorganization of the company's approach to R&D is also in part a response to the loss of Inafune, who counted head of R&D among his roles.

"We will entrust the development of individual products to the creativity of our game creators," added the spokesperson.

The company's success strategy could see more acquisitions like the company's purchase of Dead Rising 2 creator Blue Castle Games at some point in the future, too. "We want to enlarge our development line," said the representative. "Doing this will involve increasing our own workforce as well as forming alliances with external game development companies."

"Blue Castle Games acquisition was part of this stance. At this point, we have no definite plans for any more acquisitions. But we may make more acquisitions if, while developing a game with an alliance partner, we decide that an acquisition would better enable Capcom and the partner to utilize their strengths and produce benefits for both companies," the spokesperson added.


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