Capcom teases Mega Man Online, new dev strategies

Following painful fiscal year, publisher outlines new emphasis on cutting production time, creating new franchises, and revitalizing current brands; Monster Hunter Portable 3 to sell 3M.

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Capcom is coming off a mostly abysmal fiscal year in which net income fell a precipitous 73.1 percent to ¥2.17 billion ($23.8 million). Revenues also slid substantially during the April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010 period, falling off 27.3 percent to ¥66.84 billion ($734 million). Today, the publisher announced its plans for the current fiscal year, outlining a new strategy that emphasizes cutting down on development time, creating new franchises, and revitalizing current brands.

No word on whether Mega Man Online will join the illustrious 8-bit MMOG ranks.
No word on whether Mega Man Online will join the illustrious 8-bit MMOG ranks.

To the first point, Capcom said that it hopes to shorten the launch cycle of franchise titles by relying more heavily on outsourcing and ramping up hires at its internal studios. Capcom also said that it would be taking a more "rigorous" approach to overseeing its overseas partners, saying that it hopes to better meld "overseas input" and "Capcom input" to increase international sales.

As for creating new franchises, Capcom said that it has allocated 20-30 percent of its development budget to creating additional brands. Unfortunately, the publisher offered no further information on new franchises in development.

However, Capcom did tease an extension of a current brand. In describing its efforts to better capitalize on the PC game market, Capcom said that is engaged in a joint development deal with Korea-based Neowiz Games on Mega Man Online. No details on this project were offered, and it was equally unclear whether Mega Man Online bears any relation to Mega Man Universe, a name which Capcom registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office in April.

Capcom saw tepid sales from two of its biggest blockbuster-hopefuls last year, Dark Void and Bionic Commando, the latter of which sold 700,000 units worlds on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Explaining the two games' lackluster performance, Capcom said that the issues were caused by "inadequate know-how about supervising outsourced operations and overly optimistic plans."

Looking ahead to its current fiscal year's headliners, Capcom is expecting a far better performance. The publisher expects its top-selling game for the year to be Monster Hunter Portable 3, which is slated to sell some 3.6 million units upon its launch in Japan later this year. Dead Rising 2, which is expected to come to the US on August 31, is projected to sell 3 million units worldwide, while the critically panned Lost Planet 2 is forecast to sell some 2.2 million units. Capcom expects to sell 2 million units of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 upon its spring 2011 launch.

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