Capcom is best known for publishing packaged goods like Street Fighter
and Resident Evil
, but the company doesn't intend on missing the social media train.
The publisher plans on releasing its first Facebook game as soon as this fiscal year ending March 2011, Capcom president Haruhiro Tsujimoto told Bloomberg
in an interview.
"Gaming on social networks is poised to impact the traditional video game industry and is a presence that cannot be ignored," Tsujimoto said. "We have to make our move."
Major packaged game publishers are becoming increasingly aware of the financial potential of social games. Electronic Arts purchased Playfish in November 2009 for $400 million, THQ said recently that it will be aggressively expanding in the category, for instance.
Zynga has been one social game company that has shown packaged publishers the way. The company's Farmville
makes hundreds of millions of dollars through virtual item sales and has 80 million players.
Those numbers perk up the ears of packaged software makers, who admit that while packaged retail will be around for a while, the business is moving increasingly to online, where consumers find cheaper alternatives to $60 console games.
As far as the online space goes, Capcom already digitally distributes titles on consoles and PC and the company recently said it's at work on Mega Man Online
with Korean online game maker Neowiz. Capcom also filed the title "Mega Man Universe" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in April.
"[Zynga's] business model is basically a network service, with games as a hook to reel the users into a community," Tsujimoto said. "It looks like in the future the packaged game business and the online component will become one."