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What's next for Puzzle & Dragons and GungHo?
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What's next for Puzzle & Dragons and GungHo?

March 28, 2014 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

I think a lot of people in the mobile game space would look at your company and say: "Why are you making games for the PlayStation Vita, still? Why did you bother to buy Grasshopper Manufacture?" 

I don't know why people are negative about us doing this stuff.

Smartphone, or PlayStation 4, or Vita, they're all just platforms. It is our initiative. We get to decide which platform to release a title on based on the ideas we have, as a game concept.

Definitely when you compare them, obviously the smartphone market is growing, and that's obvious from the outside as well. But there's no reason to focus only on smartphone because of that.

I still play console games. I'm more of a console gamer. They may be similar, smartphone games and console games -- but they're different as well, completely different beasts.

The whole approach of creating games for both consoles and smartphones is completely different. With console games, you have more of a loyal following and you're catering to hardcore users. With smartphones, it's less hardcore, more casual, and obviously it's more how to kill your time instead of how to spend your time.

It's the difference between TV and movies. It's the difference between eating potato chips and a full-on, four-course meal. Just because McDonald's opened up their stores doesn't mean that we stopped eating steak and lobster, right?

Last year, the Japanese market because the number one spender on mobile apps, which has gained it a lot of attention. What do you think about that happening, and also the increased attention on Japan? 

I'm not very interested. I don't really think of it as a difference in countries. As I mentioned earlier, I just want to make good games. Whoever plays it, as long as they're enjoying it, I'm just fine with it.

Because of this, a lot of Western mobile studios are starting to aggressively target Japan. It sounds like you aren't concerned from a business perspective, but what do you think about it? 

In terms of other companies jumping into the Japanese market, I think that's great. Obviously it's not something that will change anything in our business model, but coming from the console side, I do play a lot of Western games. A majority of the games I play are Western.

I hope more Western companies joining the Japanese market would be good for the users, as they will have a better chance of understanding Western games. I'd like to see Japanese players playing Western games as well.

It goes both ways. An American car company comes to Japan? That's good. A Japanese car company comes to the U.S.? Nobody's going to scrutinize that. I'm sure they'd talk about it, but it's not that big of a deal, I think.

Morishita's laptop: Rockstar and Puzzle & Dragons.

GungHo owns 20 percent of Supercell now. How would you characterize the relationship between Supercell and GungHo these days? 

In terms of synergy in development, we really don't think that's going to happen anytime soon -- because we want them to make their own games, and we want to make our games. But it's more of an initiative to have a bigger global reach as GungHo, and I think working with Supercell is definitely a good thing to do.

Definitely, with Supercell, we'd like to utilize them more on a promotional basis. Obviously, they have a lot of countries that they're serving, and they have their experience as well as the promotional ideas they have. That's something we'd like to learn from them, and gather data from them, as well, and work together.

The global market is all about your 24-hour engagement, and as a media outlet, we feel they're great, because they do have that 24-hour media reach as well. That's the sort of the way we'd like to utilize them and work with them.

Except for maybe the 3DS, the console market in Japan seems to have declined pretty far compared to the heights of the PlayStation 2 era. Do you think it'll be possible to increase the audience for the next generation?

Obviously the past is the past, so I don't think it's going to go back to what it used to be, because it's always changing. In terms of the smartphone market, obviously the smartphone became a very easy entrance for non-gamers to start playing games.

Those non-gamers, some of them will move on to become real, actual gamers, like we are today. That will open up a new era that's completely different to what we had in the PS2, PS1 eras. Obviously that's a good thing. Whatever was in the past is in the past and something new is born -- that's the way it should be, and I think that's a good thing.

Nintendo, you know, is sort of the other way around. Obviously they struggled with the Gamecube and the N64, but then they did well with the Wii and the DS. I'm sure they'll have great ideas that they'll bring to the table as well. It's something that we look forward to. They obviously have enough money to do that.

Have you seen smartphone players come over to the 3DS version of Puzzle & Dragons? Do you have any way of seeing that? Are you seeing the trend of them becoming "gamers"? 

In terms of the route from casual to core user, I don't think it's been created yet. With Puzzle & Dragons to Puzzle & Dragons Z, I'm sure there are people who have taken that path, but we don't have any data and haven't seen any numbers that support it.

When we created PDZ, that was more of a focus on people who don't have smartphones -- that equals kids. That was more of our focus, and our marketing supported that as well. I think there probably are people who went from smartphone to console, but it's just that we haven't seen that route yet.

We believe that in terms of grade school kids, the younger generation, they definitely know the brand name Puzzle & Dragons and a lot of them have already played it. I think we've covered that area, and our share there has been pretty much maxed out.

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