Street Fighter: Capcom expands in its bid for international success

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Capcom’s consumer games business chief Katsuhiko Ichii illuminated plans for the company behind Street Fighter and Mega Man to continue expanding into new markets around the world. Creating games for an international market has been a priority for Capcom in recent years, but Ichii’s statements show that the company is planning to extend its reach into growing game markets. For the first time, the publisher behind Devil May Cry is going to aggressively pursue gamers in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and a number of other regions where video games are only now becoming big business.

“We’ve seen a great deal of expansion of markets in emerging countries and regions, such as Russia, Eastern Europe, South Africe, India, and the Middle East,” said Ichii in an interview on Capcom’s Investor Relations homepage, “When you combine the size of these new markets, they’re about as large as the markets in major developed nations such as Germany and France. However, to successfully break into these regions, localizing our games is a must. Up until now we’ve only done English voiceovers for game characters, but by next year we’re looking to do voiceovers in languages of 5 to 7 countries, and have the in-game text translated into 13 to 15 languages. This will give us a major boost in the area of game localization.”

Ichii’s statements are surprising given how selective Capcom has become about releasing its titles internationally. While games like Resident Evil 6 and DmC are developed specifically for near simultaneous release around the world, Capcom has released a number of titles that haven’t left Asia. This isn’t just games whose predominant commercial following is in Japan, like 2011’s Ace Attorney Investigations 2. The Lost Planet spinoff E.X. Troopers released this fall was only released in Japan and other Asian territories like Hong Kong with no plans to release it elsewhere.

This strategy likely won’t change based on Ichii’s comments. “The key is to develop game titles fully adapted to the unique elements of their respective target markets, rather than endure the painful experience of setting a single standard for the global deployment of one title,” said Ichii, “When it comes to the actual development of a game, we need to accurately recognize and incorporate the tastes of gamers in each region.”

There’s certainly logic in Ichii’s statements from a marketing perspective. Resident Evil 6 for example was created to try an appeal to every possible audience and ended up a mess as a result.

He and the rest of Capcom’s corporate hierarchy need to treat lightly, though. The company’s early success with games like Street Fighter II was due to creativity and quality in singular products. Capcom should consider making quality rather than regional marketing needs its top priority.