Konami takes new tack in 2006

Japanese publisher and developer opts to expand existing series with non-game merch; little announced in way of next gen.

SAN FRANCISCO--Konami Digital Entertainment held its annual press event in the Bay Area today, revealing its strategy for the upcoming year. However, instead of just releasing new games with fresh graphics or sequels to existing intellectual property, the company appears to be taking a different step.

Held at Mezzanine, a trendy SOMA nightclub and live music joint, the event kicked off with a lengthy presentation detailing the new products set for release this year, and was followed by hands-on time with several upcoming games.

During the presentation, it was clear that Konami isn't simply prepping the same experience as its previous titles. The company is instead expanding its existing properties beyond consoles and into other media, effectively creating new forms of entertainment rather than simple couch time with a controller in hand.

Catherine Fowler, senior vice president of sales and marketing, pointed out the "slew of new faces" that have joined the company, particularly in the Los Angeles office, that have helped turned the company's focus. She stressed the constant development of technology ("we're doing something others aren't") and innovation ("step out of the mold") as Konami's credo for the next 12 months. In fact, "technology" and "innovation" were words thrown around a lot during the two-hour presentation.

Konami introduced what it calls "a new genre of entertainment products." These interactive media "experiences" for the PSP will be based on the Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill series. Though details on the Metal Gear Solid digital comic are scarce, the Silent Hill Experience is scheduled to be released in April, the same time as the Silent Hill movie from Sony Pictures hits theaters.

Konami further expanded its reach beyond consoles by giving MGS fans another treat. It was announced that gamers who preorder Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, Konami's flagship title for 2006, will get even more MGS for their buck. Metal Gear Saga Vol. 1 documents all the Metal Gear games straight from the mind of Kojima himself, and will be available in mid-February.

Konami was also very pleased to be bringing one of its most treasured franchises back to the arcade. Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova will be the first DDR arcade game released in the US in six years, shimmying into arcades this spring.

Not only will Konami be taking the two-stepping gameplay into arcades, the company has allied with schools in West Virginia to incorporate DDR games into physical education programs.

"We see this as a much larger initiative that will spread across the country," said Jason Enos, product manager at Konami.

With all the hoopla surrounding the next generation of gaming, it was fairly surprising that Konami had only one next-gen title to show--Rumble Roses XX. However, while most gaming companies are approaching the year by going gung ho in a straight line, it appears Konami is taking a different strategy by branching out.

For more details on Konami's press event, head over to GameSpot's complete coverage.

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Discussion

32 comments
kmaster78
kmaster78

It's Good to see that at least we get a new DDR Arcade Game in the U.S. What really is good that Beatmania will come out for the PS2. And Metal Gear Solid 4 looks sweet!!!

Oni
Oni

Silent Hill Goodness! Can't wait to play the "Experience" on my PSP and see the movie!! Konami, you know how to make your fans happy :)

ACNexusDevil
ACNexusDevil

We have a ddr machine in our P.E class. I still play basketball more than worrying about that machine. I get on it sometimes though :)

FuguNabe
FuguNabe

As long as Konami keeps doing them Castlevania, Suikoden series I'm happy. As for Metal Gear I love that series but Kojima is the factor, not Konami.

SouthsideKilla
SouthsideKilla

Yeah as if kids dont hate gym enough already,they're gonna try to make the little porkers play some fruity dancing game?Brilliant.Hell why not get rid of geometry and let em play tetris instead?Come on people games are entertainment,and everyone is entertained by something different.Trying to make everyone play the same game and calling it a workout is just ridiculous.But I thought the excercise bikes that power those playstations were a novel approach.Hook one of those things up to a 360 and let em try to power that freaking thing.Hilarity is bound to ensue.

ZoSo1975
ZoSo1975

Please take DDR out back, shoot it, and bury it... Or at least use some C4 for cripes sake!

Microsoft1234
Microsoft1234

the only thing that saddens me is by the time the ddr gets to every school, ill be in college, ffs, oh well my kids can be good at ddr like i am =p

LorddG
LorddG

Ok, KONAMI.... LET'S ANNOUNCE MGS4: VR SUBSTANTIVITY (or what ever 'substance' title it will be - Let's see pattern: VR Missions, Substance, Subsistence...yep, sounds about right.) for X360 and PS3.... I figure about a year after MGS4:GotP is out on the PS3, it will be announced.

DesFS-
DesFS-

The idea of the DDR in gyms is funny tho I must say.

Khimarhi
Khimarhi

very interesting stuff. . i don't know if i like it or just want to laugh

acu02151
acu02151

yay private sector investment in schools woo hoo! But wait i may just be going crazy here but you don't think there could be a catch do you? Could it be that DDR machines don't actualy provide that great a work out, could it be that by encouraging kids to train hard on dance machines that we are neglecting other sports? Wait a tick what the hell am i saying "we" for i'm scottish you just keep doing what your doing and its GB for the olympic games 2016... well as long as we stop eating too much.

MyGrover
MyGrover

Wait... they passed up an opportunity to show a MGS 4 trailer? Pitching UMD's and arcade machines ahead of what should be the PS3 flagship? That doesn't sound like Konami at all.

Sociologist
Sociologist

I've been a fan of Konami since the 8-bit days, and its brilliant franchises have inspired a lot of brand loyalty in me. I don't doubt for a second that Konami will err with its new approach. Also, I'm in aggreement with the person who wanted to have DDR in their college weight-room. I wouldn't mind a DDR section in the rec center at my University!

Squids-Ahoy
Squids-Ahoy

I had heard about schools adopting DDR into their physical education program before, but not on this scale. It's a brilliant way to advertise as well as excersize, kudos.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Being diverse is a good idea - and I love the idea of the Metal Gear Saga. That will really help long time fans.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

I think a DDR machine in a weight room would be fine, right next to the stairsteppers and treadmills.

Viquist
Viquist

well, I think this is pretty kool... DDR in schools, HAHAHAHAHA... glad I'm too old for that embarassment, yet young enough to still "play" it

Mit_Man
Mit_Man

They better make some sweet titles for the Revolution. If they don't, they = teh phail at innovation, as the only thing new they seemed the present were those comics, which are hardly innovative, just, different and new.

EMH88
EMH88

I want a ddr in my college training room.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

As long as Konami keeps coming with the Suikoden games, it's all good.

joeamis
joeamis

That bonus disk sounds kick@$$.

Zorak000
Zorak000

DEAR SWEET MERCIFUL GOD! Video Games penetrating school curricula? and popular series too! not just low quality crap!! but on the other end of the spectrum... it would be funny to see eye-toy kinetic in gym... also, similar to magus, I PLEAD THE 5TH!

racer360
racer360

ddr in gym would be pretty stupid id rather play a sport

magus704
magus704

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

magus704
magus704

DDR for gym? Why can't these kids just play a some sports to stay in shape. It's easier, more fun, and less embarrassing. Oh and 1st!

Donkeljohn
Donkeljohn

Diversification, eh? A sound strategy.