Certainly in the large-scale boxed product arena, it seems the U.S. is really the place.
CS: And to be fair, a lot of the projects that have been done lately are creating content with an eye towards western markets. Even our creators in Japan recognize that they want to sell here.
Dead Rising and Lost Planet are so perfect for the market.
CS: Perfect examples. They were clearly with an eye towards the western market. And RE has always done well in the western markets.
I'm actually curious about the rumors of a sequel to Dead Rising being developed by a western developer.
CS: I cannot talk about anything to do with Dead Rising.
No worries. I want to talk about microtransactions, which were mentioned briefly in the presentation. How far is Capcom going to go with that? How are you going to deal with it?
CS: I think you're going to see Capcom playing with a number of different business models in the coming years. A lot of the projects we're looking at will involve some degree of either additional downloadable content, or additional features, things that perhaps we couldn't get to pencil within the budgets or wouldn't have had time for. But given a little extra time, and seeing if we're actually successful with aggregating a community around this content, we're going to be doing some interesting stuff within that space.
I don't think we're necessarily going to be as aggressive as some of the Korean companies have been historically, but it's an area of increasing interest for us. We certainly want to get as much learning about what works and what doesn't work.
And this is true for all of our digital initiatives. We're really racing the line. We're really trying to get a sense of what content, which business models, make the most sense to audiences. How do we market direct to consumer in as effective and efficient a way as we possibly can? Because the publishers that figure that out will have a leg up over the publishers that don't.
I think it's a good idea to figure out the digital space now while it's expanding, because some people aren't.
CS: And let's be honest: there's going to be mistakes made along the way. Mistakes are okay as long as you learn from them. There's [Oblivion's] horse armor. I think we all know horse armor is probably not the best pricing model for that, but everybody learned from that example. There's going to be times when we give away more content than we should for the price, and there's going to be times when we don't.
It's interesting to see with the platinum release of Lost Planet: Colonies, all the previous downloadable content will be included. It's an interesting way to marry the download and the retail, because you're re-releasing it.
CS: We're re-releasing that content, but there's still a lot of people who aren't connected. As frightening as that sounds sometimes, we often assume that everybody has every box connected to the net, and unfortunately, that's not true. Some people may not have had an opportunity to experience some of that content, and we're hopefully going to be able to enable them to.
You may eventually see plays at retail that follow digital some time. I'm not going to say what that might be, but hypothetically, maybe a year after we release some of our digital titles, we put together an aggregate compilation disc that has four or five titles that performed well so that we can get that content out to people who weren't connected. There's a number of ways that could happen. To be fair, we're probably going to have to talk to our retail partners to see how they feel about that.
In terms of the microtransactions stuff, I know you're not going to go as far as Nexon, but they're going to be releasing Mabinogi, a free-to-play, pay-for-items MMO on Xbox Live. Have you considered that model yet?
CS: It's been very well considered. I think Nexon are more experienced with that than virtually anyone else in the world. They have a better understanding of it. My take is probably at the moment free-to-play is probably a bit further than I see us going in the near term, at least in the west.
I think that budgetarily speaking, even if you could come out at a budget price and the consumers made some commitment to your project, even if it's at a very nominal amount, I don't think it's proven out yet in the west.
Your budgets would be better served building a better project, assuming a little bit of revenue and putting one hurdle in front of at least one person and taxing your service, in that case -- rather than just opening the floodgates and incurring all the service load and not having at least some commitment from the player, even if it's a nominal amount.
I assume that may change as your servers get tested?
CS: The other part of this is that we are crawling before we can walk. I think across all of our content, as we experience success in a certain area, we'll become a little more aggressive. Will we someday do free-to-play? Possibly, but I think that day is far enough away, at least in the west, that it's probably not worth getting into detail on right now.