Most of you by now must have heard that Capcom is in a lot of financial trouble. Gamesindustry.biz reports that Capcom currently has only $152 million in the bank, and that's chump change for a major 3rd party developer/publisher like Capcom. It isn't hard to see that this could mean another THQ situation could be happening soon. Read the full article here.
So what's Capcom's answer to this? DLC and mobile games.
Let's tackle DLC first.
Capcom, part of your problem isn't the lack of DLC. It's the inclusion of it. On-disc DLC to be specific. You cut content from the game and put it on the disc to make people pay for it later. With the exception of fighting game fans, and I'll get to you lot in a second, no one is dumb enough to take that kind of abuse from you and that's why people steer clear of it. Quality DLC that really does add to the game and is worth a fair price is one thing, disc-locked content that has an extra character available to be played but locked until you pay for it is another.
That brings me to the fighting game fans I mentioned. You lot are part of the problem, not part of the solution. By accepting being milked by Capcom, you are showing them that they can get away with half-assed DLC and marginally upgraded re-releases of ONE game. Buying all the versions of Street Fighter 4 shows Capcom that they don't really need to focus on anything else if they have blind SF fans to milk continuously. They know they don't have to put much effort into each new version of the same game because you'll buy it anyway. Stop helping them make bad decisions.
Next up is mobile.
"Today's mobile game industry is a world apparently full of dreams about making a fortune off a hit game. But if the hit is just a one-off, success is transient. For Capcom, it is crucial to maintain and deepen the user support we have worked so hard to earn up to now. We believe we can outperform other companies as long as we are able to continue this approach. This kind of strategy is already beginning to be implemented in Europe and North America, and we don't intend to be left behind. I keep coming back to this point, but the essence of a game's value is derived from it content-its worldview and characters, etc. Only companies that understand this and are able to continue providing customer satisfaction will be able to survive."
Now I'm assuming that mobile in this instance means mobile phones and not handhelds. When we hear about a major developer focusing more on mobile gaming, it is usually met with a mixed reception. Many are ok with it, others see it as an attempt at being lazy, greedy (microtransactions), and just trying to make an easy buck. I personally don't think that focusing on mobile is going to help Capcom at all. Every time I see people gaming on their phones, it's always games like variants of Bejeweled or something quick like that. So unless Capcom is going to make a Resident Evil Card Battle game (which they now will do, you're welcome), I don't see this helping them.
On the other hand, if they are talking about handheld devices like the 3DS or Vita, then it's only prudent to bring up that that's just a trend that developers who've lost their way are flocking to. Look at the focus Japanese devs put on the handhelds. Part of it is definitely culturally based, and it's also smart for business considering the install base of the 3DS. But it's also an obvious move towards making games that cost little and make a lot in return. This helps Capcom in one area, but won't save them. If their focus becomes more about handhelds, then that looks like less attention is being paid to console offerings which is what the bulk of their fanbase are looking for.
Capcom, the problem isn't DLC or a need to focus on "growing" fields within the industry. The problem is you. You are like many Japanese developers. Set in your ways, and refusing to listen to fan feedback. That is a plague that has hit most of your fellow Japanese studios and one that needs to change. If you don't believe me, then take a look at FromSoftware. They have been a beacon of hope coming out of Japan and one of their most endearing qualities is that they listen to fans, and even involve them in their work sometimes. The Dark Souls PC version, and shield design contest spring to mind; and now they are even having beta tests for Dark Souls 2.
You cancelled like 4 MegaMan games when the fans were clamoring for them. You turned Resident Evil into a generic shooter to Westernize it because, instead of listening to the fans that said "we love the survival horror aspect," you listened to Call of Duty money. You outsourced Devil May Cry to a mediocre, and undeservedly arrogant, 3rd party development studio who proceeded to butcher the title and insult its beloved Past. You milk Street Fighter 4 to the point of lunacy, you won't bring Monster Hunter to consoles, and you won't revive some of your past beloved franchises like Onimusha.
The problem is YOU Capcom. People are tired of your greed and how deaf you are to fan feedback and that's why your games are failing, that's why people have boycotted you, that's why you now only have $152 million in the bank. If you want to change your fortunes, start from scratch and listen to what people actually want to buy. Looking at dollar figures means nothing in an industry as fluid and unpredictable as the gaming industry.
You have a forum. Read the posts. You have a twitter, read those too. Take a hint from companies like Sony who have executives that actively engage the userbase. Maybe then you'll be able to make something people will be inspired to by and fall in love with.
DLC and Mobile aren't the answer Capcom, and you're the problem.