Captivate: Keiji Inafune and David Reeves speeches
On reshaping Capcom and leaving Sony.
Last week in Monaco, Capcom gathered games journalists from around the world to showcase its product line-up for 2009 and beyond. On the first night, the publisher invited outgoing Sony Europe boss David Reeves to speak, after Capcom R&D chief Keiji Inafune had outlined his hopes for the publisher's resurgence.
We've reported the key news from the event elsewhere on the site, but I thought you might also like to read the speeches themselves (since I've already transcribed the bastard things). Inafune spoke first, but with Reeves heading off potentially forever, we'll start with the current Sony president, who paid extensive tribute to Capcom for the role it has played in helping to establish PlayStations 1 and 2, and PSP.
SCEE president David Reeves' Captivate speech
I first came to this hotel slightly less than five years ago, and it had been opened about three weeks. There was rain coming through the reception area, the credit cards were getting stuck in the machines, and believe it or not, occasionally the doors on reception just locked, so no one could get in and no one could get out. And of course four and a half, five years later, I would say that... I've been here, what, just a few hours, but everything seems to be working quite smoothly, and I would say that's as much as the games industry, and probably Capcom, has changed in those four and a half or five years.
So, thank you Capcom for inviting me here for this fantastic event. It's a pleasure to be here. As I'm sure you're aware, after 15 very memorable years at Sony Computer Entertainment, I'm actually going to retire at the end of this month. I just want to say what a true pleasure it has been working for PlayStation, a company that has constantly innovated, like Capcom, pushing the boundaries of the gaming industry, and it's with great pride I talk to you tonight as someone who was able to play a role in bringing our beloved industry to the masses.
But that should not take anything away from the reason for being here tonight. I'm here talking to you because I believe that the relationship between Capcom and PlayStation is one that's been cultivated over the years to create some of the greatest partnerships that the game industry has ever seen. And it's a relationship that promises to continue for years to come.
This event is a prime example of software created by incredibly talented and creative developments, to be played on such advanced technology as today's game consoles, produces an entertainment experience that was completely unimaginable even as little as five years ago when this hotel was built. It is the challenge of taking the vibrant industry and constantly striving for even greater entertainment experiences that make this industry so successful. You are all part of it. It's this challenge that has kept a smile on my face every day for the last 15 years since I started in the industry when I opened the company for Sony in Frankfurt.
The relationship between Capcom and PlayStation goes all the way back to the very start of PlayStation in 1994 when it was introduced in the end of November/beginning of December in Japan. Against everybody's advice, we created a disc-based games console and launched it into a market already dominated by the powerhouses of the gaming industry, namely Nintendo and SEGA. Games such as Mega Man, Street Fighter and Resident Evil from Capcom helped establish the PlayStation brand and truly showed how gaming was changing forever.
This relationship has continued throughout PlayStation 1's lifecycle, through to PlayStation 2, with games such as Devil May Cry, and of course into the latest generation of home and portable consoles with PS3 and PSP.
And it is the support that Capcom have shown to PlayStation Portable that has brought me here tonight. Since we launched PSP in the PAL territories back in 2005, we've sold over 50 million units worldwide and 15 million in Europe alone - something that we are very proud of. I'm not going to stand here and tell you we've had it all our own way since we launched the PSP. We know that our own Sony software line-up, and to some extent the third parties', has not lived up always to expectations. But tonight is a prime example of how that has been rectified. 2009 promises to be a very important year for PSP, with its strongest software line-up ever, with some exciting surprises yet to be announced.
The cornerstone of this great software line-up is of course the Japanese sensation Monster Hunter Portable 2G - to be known as Monster Hunter Freedom Unite in Europe, and I should add Australia and New Zealand and all those territories in the Middle East as well. Having sold nearly three million units in Japan alone, the latest chapter in the Monster Hunter franchise has truly shown what can happen when you bring top-quality software to PSP. It is the success experienced in Japan that we believe we can tap into in Europe.
One of the key demographics for PSP in Europe is the ten to 16 year old male - the ideal demographic for Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. By combining the skills and know-how that Capcom and PlayStation possess, we feel we can excite this audience with this fantastic game. We firmly believe that if we can get people actually playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite together in ad hoc mode - which not many Europeans do, but Japanese do all the time - even if it's only for a few minutes, we can create enough intrigue and excitement for them to want to experience more.
It's for this reason that I'm pleased to announce that a demo of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite will be made available pre-release, both on UMD and for download via PlayStation Network. I'm also pleased to announce that we will be offering a PSP Monster Hunter Freedom Unite bundle, which we will sell in retail, that we believe will add to the sense of occasion when the game launches. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite will spearhead the PSP resurgence of 2009, we believe, and I would like to thank Capcom for their unwavering support in this endeavour.
The industry, as I said, has changed beyond recognition throughout the 15 years that I've been part of it, yet the relationships between companies such as Capcom and PlayStation have remained constant. This is not because tradition states they should, this is not because we're afraid to shake things up - the reason these relationships have remained so strong is because we are indeed like-minded, iconoclastic companies, companies that strive for the same goal, to create innovative, and more than anything, fun experiences as the previous speaker [Keiji Inafune] said.
I may be leaving the industry, but as long as it continues to pursue the goal of exciting and inspiring people, it will be an industry I will always be very proud to have been a part of. Thank you for inviting me here tonight, and thank you very much for your attention.
Capcom R&D boss Keiji Inafune's speech
[With particular thanks to translator Ben Judd!]
Five years ago Capcom was at the very bottom of the videogame industry and it was left up to me to think about how we were going to get ourselves out of this pit. At the time I realised one of the key words we had to focus on was 'globalisation' and being able to sell our games on a global scale - not just Japan - was going to be one of the things to help us out of this pit. And of course it's not like Capcom hasn't had any global hits in our past - we have - but there was certainly a long period where a lot of our games were not selling in key territories around the world, and so of course I realised it was very important for us to globalise - to go back and make titles that were going to sell on an international scale, in order to bring Capcom back to the top of the group.
Of course it's very easy to throw out words like globalisation and selling games on an international scale, but when you break it down, there's very many different languages, cultures and countries, and trying to sell a title on a worldwide basis is no easy thing. And so one of the things we did was we hardened our wills - we realised exactly what it was that made Capcom games special and we focused on bringing that out in a lot of different countries, a lot of different territories, and bringing it back to the basics, and something that everyone who appreciated Capcom games would appreciate, only on a larger international scale.
When I say before that we strengthened our will, what I mean to say is that we've created a lot of games which have been hard to understand, some have been easy to reject, easy to dismiss - and yet it's thanks to everyone working very hard at R&D as well as the incredible support of our marketing teams worldwide, that enabled us to bond us as a single unified company and help us push these titles on the worldwide scale. And so if you do look at February/March with Resident Evil 5 and Street Fighter IV, ultimately these titles I think represent, they symbolise the fact that over the last five years all the changes we've tried to enact, unifying the company, all of that has not been for nought. It has all meant that we have made the company into what we needed to in order to get back on top.
However, we're not going to rest on our laurels. We don't think that just because we've made it to the top for a couple of months that that ultimately means we now truly understand what it is to sell and market games on a global scale. It's going to have to be an ongoing process and we're going to have to work at it in order to get it out to the maximum number of gamers. And so for 2009/2010, in order to truly become a global company and continue on this path, I think that this event is going to be something to show that we do, that we are taking the right steps, in order to achieve that goal. You will see a lot of titles that I think are very representative of all of these efforts.
And it's very important for me to also say that ultimately it's not just about making a game that we think is a global product, and then having it sell on a global scale, and say 'yes, great, we've done it', because there are other facets of selling a game on a global scale that are very important to consider, and one of those is an event like this, where we are taking everyone from different territories, different countries around the world, coming together as one unified Capcom in order to show you all the best products that we have to offer.
And I also feel that all of you, the international press, are going to play a crucial part to helping us globalise. And by that I mean, here you are, from many different countries, many different cultures, the very same places we have been trying to analyse, study and create the best games for. This is our opportunity to talk to you and have you talk to us and let us know a better way, a better approach, in order to globalise as a Japanese company. So this symbolises a very critical event for us.
And so tomorrow you're going to see presentations of a lot of different games, one of those which will happen to be Dead Rising 2, a game that I'm working on. I feel that this is on the forefront of this globalisation that we're trying to achieve, and I want this meeting to be symbolic - to send a message to ultimately everyone working at Capcom as well as the press, that, look, we're trying to do something new, we're trying to do something global, we're trying to do something international, and if not just the press but Capcom staff as well can take away from this event that, look, this is a different way to do business, this is something where we're on the forefront, this is trying to think outside the box, then it will be great for us as a company.
And we have no intention of giving up. We will constantly try to challenge ourselves, we will constantly try to innovate as a company, and so all of you here today, please look over all the different titles we have tried to create, all of the different challenges we have tried to overcome over the past five years, and look forward to the future that Capcom has to offer, because we are going to keep pushing the envelope, and we are going to keep trying new things.
For more from Captivate 09, just move your cursor around at random and click. You're bound to hit something.