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Pixelitis Staff Musings: Publishers should have a deeper connection with fans

"Having an established fanbase is one thing, but creating a more open dialogue with them is a whole other ballgame. And it's something that more game companies -- particularly ones based in Japan, need to make a stronger push for.

One example of increased fan outreach is Capcom and the transformation its USA branch has undergone over the course of eight years. Capcom USA created a website entitled Capcom-Unity, which serves as a hub where fans of the company's long line of games can read up on its regularly updated news blog, chat about its games in a forum and even use it as a grounds for voicing requests.

This model didn't come at the drop of the hat. It required a lot of conversations with top executives and one employee's willingness to take matters into his own hands. In a recent interview with Pixelitis, former Capcom USA's Senior Vice President Christian Svensson revealed that in 2005, he had stressed that he thought the company wasn't placing enough emphasis on its consumers. And so after convincing late Capcom COO Mark Beaumont and CEO Hiroshi Tobisawa, Capcom-Unity was formed and its first mode of business was talking to fans at San Diego Comic Con 2006. Of note was the fact that Svensson had to take it upon himself to run the company's booth there, given that Capcom's events person at the time had no inkling in interacting with fans at a convention.

Game publishers that originated in Japan, like Square Enix and Konami for instance, ought to take a page out of Capcom's book."

- Patrick Kulikowski

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