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Capcom to buy/sell IP, publish games with global approach

Zack Stern

As part of a long presentation to captive game writers, Capcom discussed its business plans for the future. We'd normally drift off to sweet dreams about Harvey Birdman, but head of research and development, Keiji Inafune woke our gaming hearts by contrasting Capcom with the current, big-on-budget, low-on-creativity sequel state of gaming. He said his vision for "Capcom in the future" is a company that's "not afraid to take risks."

Inafune and other executives explained how the company can sustain itself without falling into a sequel pattern through new-to-Capcom, licensed IP; using its own IP in other ways; and selling games to a global, multi-platform market.

One of the biggest ways Capcom hopes to maintain creativity while sustaining itself is though licensing of established IP. Capcom hopes to find an immediate audience with MotoGP games. And Harvey Birdman's built-in cult following also mirrors that approach.

Another important angle relies on developing its own IP into other media. Marv Wolfman is developing an original graphic novel set in mobile phone MMO Shade II, while a text novelization of the game is also planned. Capcom is reworking a Japanese Mega Man series into a Cartoon Network special to run in late August. The company already licenses some of its IP, like Resident Evil, to be turned into movies, but these plans seem more hands-on than previous attempts.

While opinions differ about how involved a game company should be in movies -- Ubisoft just opened a studio, while Square shut its down a few years ago -- these projects may generate income to offset game development costs. We wonder, is Capcom hurting for cash, or are these projects the current state of business-as-usual?

Capcom's other big message was that the era of exclusives and Japan-only games may be on the way out, as companies need to offer titles to as many gamers as possible to make money. The company used that global approach with Dead Rising and Lost Planet, while Lost Planet's PC plans fit the multi-platform ideal. And who could forget that other action title?

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