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GS: What happened to Hudson’s hardware division?
JG: That's a good question actually. Hardware in Japan was located in a building that we created out in Hokkaido's more rural area. It was a very cool building that they did and had a train that ran though it - a train that you could actually sit on and ride. And there was a station in the building.
GS: That's awesome.
JG: It was really awesome. It was a great testament to the Kudo brothers [founders of Hudson Soft in Japan] and what they had built. And they loved [trains], I don't know if you know the story about Hudson, but the name Hudson is derived from the train.
GS: Yeah I did know that.
JG: And so these are scaled down Hudson trains.
JG: And they really were awesome. Coal‑powered. You know, fire the train up. And I saw, many times, very big executives from NEC, to Nintendo, to all the bigwigs out on this tiny little train riding, going round in circles, in and out of the building. So you know, these are conservative people, you don't expect that to happen.
That's one of the unique things about Hudson, they have a lot of great culture and things like that. But anyway, what was the question, again?
GS: What happened to the hardware division?
JG: Ah, the hardware. So game R&D was a victim of, I think, some consolidation. When Konami bought us, they consolidated some parts and they saw a building of that kind as being unprofitable.
You can call hardware research and development because basically they create things, but they are also pushing limits trying to see what they can do and so that was just kind of incorporated into the main Hudson structure. So there are still people doing work on hardware and middleware, but it’s not a separate entity like it used to be. It used to be its own division with its own building and so I think we just retrenched a little bit.
GS: There is no more chip development or things of that nature?
JG: Yeah, they still do chip development. You know, the company itself is always doing smaller things like small games. Do you know what Teku Teku Angel is?
GS: I don’t.
JG: It's a little pedometer - it gets happy when you walk a lot. They're just coming out with a new one. They actually have a game that they put out for that; Teku Teku DS.
So all that inherent technology is part of our culture, and the nice thing about Hudson is that it’s always been very much a three-pronged approach to software development. And in that you've got a hardware division, a software division, and a middleware division. So that middleware division is especially important because you’ve got to have your own tools. If you don't, you're relying on somebody else and you can't be as creative, and we have always had a very incredible tool division which, well, you probably know about Nintendo and how those tools are based on Hudson's tools.
GS: I didn’t actually know that.
JG: Yes, if you look at Nintendo's development kit, it’s not on every kit, but you can choose to have Hudson middleware – the hardware is theirs, but I should say the software that runs the middleware is run by Hudson.
And that still goes strong, so my point is those divisions are there. It's just not as visible.
GS: I have to ask, though – I wonder if, even on a small scale, Hudson would ever consider another console, be it handheld or whatnot.
JG: Probably not, I don't think they would.
GS: That’s too bad. I’d love a new Turbo Express [the portable version of the Turbo Grafx].
JG: Do you have one?
GS: Yep, with the TV Tuner and everything.
JG: Even today, it's not a dated product, if you look at it.
GS: It's got a good screen.
JG: It's got a great screen. It's a battery hog though. That was the problem. But in those days you know, that was spectacular.
GS: It was so expensive though.
JG: Yes, because of the screen.
GS: But I bought mine for 75 bucks.
JG: You did? Recently?
GS: No, back in high school. Even when it was expensive. It's because I got a deal from another kid.
JG: (laughs) See what happens when you beat somebody up? I still have mine too, actually.
GS: But back to the question.
JG: I don't think that's on the horizon. The developments in the hardware side are mainly games.
You know, the nice thing about Hudson is the game culture is like everybody is a big kid, and the personalities that made up Hudson were awesome. That’s why I’ve stayed with the company for such a long time, the people who made up the company were all fun people and all showed that in their daily lives and that's how you come up with good games.
You look at companies today, especially in the mobile space which has a lot of newbie companies like Glu and I-play and those guys are there for a big pay off. It's part of a process, and it's a money game. This will not last forever. It’s going to revert to people who can make games for a long, extended period of time and I think that's really where our success lies - we're going to follow the great gaming we've always had and continue to put that on all platforms. So instead of being very mono-visioned, we want to really have a vision toward every platform and get our entertainment across all platforms.
John Lee [Director of Marketing]: You said a really good one. Platform agnostic‑ we just create content and launch on whatever platform is out there.
JG: If you have flagships that can derive that, then I think that's the success of the company.