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What Capcom Learned From Making Wii Games In 2009 -- Brands Really Matter

pklepek
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Posted January 15, 2010 - By pklepek




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What Capcom Learned From Making Wii Games In 2009 -- Brands Matter

Look at the top-selling Wii games in December: New Super Mario Bros., Wii Fit Plus and Wii Play. Nintendo has turned Wii into a brand you can trust and Mario -- well, he's Mario. Capcom failed to get an original Wii franchise off the ground last summer with Spyborgs and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles hasn't proven nearly as popular as its predecessor, Umbrella Chronicles.

At CES, I spoke with Capcom's VP of strategic planning and business development Christian Svensson about the company's lessons from Wii development in 2009. Capcom has been an avid, aggressive supporter of Wii development, but 2009 wasn't the stellar year they'd hoped.

"One of the things we've learned is that known franchises matter a lot to a Wii consumer," he said.

Spyborgs, for example, was not a known franchise. Capcom was trying to make it one.

"I would say Spyborgs was a challenge for us," said Svensson. "We knew it was high-risk [investment] in terms of doing new IP with a 'gamer game' on the Wii and it disappointed us, candidly. At the same time, we do have some bright spots here and there."

Those bright spots were Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, a port of the popular Xbox 360 zombie action game. Critics were especially harsh on Chop Till You Drop, a point that Svensson admitted without question, but the game "did not do badly sales-wise." Additionally, while Resident Evi: Darkside Chronicles is proving a slow burn, "it's not a disappointment, either."

Svensson made it clear Monster Hunter Tri is one of Capcom's big Wii hopes for 2009. The series has experienced trouble gaining traction here in the US, despite the rabid popularity in Japan. Monster Hunter Tri, however, introduces a long-missing feature: online multiplayer.

What Capcom Learned From Making Wii Games In 2009 -- Brands Matter "We're hoping to use Tri to grow the brand overall in the West," he said. "We're making a major investment both in marketing and in partnering with Nintendo on it. We're cautiously optimistic that we're gonna have some success there."

Unlike Monster Hunter Tri, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom already has notable buzz for Capcom. The latest in Capcom's long-standing versus fighting titles pits anime characters against some of Capcom's greatest combatants. Svensson said fighting fans have rallied before the game.

"I fought tooth and nail to bring it over," he said. "But we did so with very conservative forecasts [for sales]. Slowly but surely, the hype train kept rolling along and rolling around and our forecasts kept slowly, slowly, slowly kept climbing up and up and up and it's now...the forecasts are now -- everything is relative -- relatively high from where we started."

"What we through we were gonna do [in sales] is now three to four times what we thought we were gonna do," he continued. "It'd be a moderate hit for us if we managed to do those volumes. Again, the fighting game community has been exceptionally supportive of what we're trying to do there."

So, tell me. How interested are you in either Monster Hunter Tri or Tatsunoko vs. Capcom?

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

What Capcom Learned From Making Wii Games In 2009 -- Brands Really Matter
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