At E3, I had a chance to talk to Kazuki Morishita, president and CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment -- creators of perennial champion of the App Store charts, Puzzle & Dragons. As of this writing, it's the number-three top-grossing game on Japan's iOS charts -- but check another day, and it's likely to be number one or two, but no lower.
I've already posted a story on the studio's newly announced relationship with République developer Camouflaj, which is interesting in itself -- that the mobile titan is working with a studio that also embraces mobile as the future of games -- but instead of going match-3, is using the form to make console-style games.
That reflects Morishita's own tastes. The rest of our conversation, which took place at E3, covers topics such as working with Nintendo (and a little on that company's impending entrance into the mobile market), the locked top-grossing charts on mobile, and how the shrinking Japanese console market is more robust than it looks.
The Japanese console market has really decreased. But using E3 as a metric, it seems robust in the West. Do you think that the American and European console markets will continue to keep strong in a way that the Japanese market has not?
KM: From the outside, it probably looks like console is shrinking. But analogy-wise, I'd say, when you jump you bend down and get smaller once, and then you just jump back up. So maybe consoles are going to go back up again.
It's definitely a challenging market, especially if you're releasing stuff physically. But if you look at the mobile market right now, it's already gone past a red ocean to a black ocean. You throw a rock in, and it immediately disappears.
As the market shrinks, that means less people are making it for that market, but that means that there less competitors, so that means that if you make a game it might be a big hit. In terms of Japan's market, [Nintendo 3DS titles] Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons Mario did well. I'm not completely agreeing with the "decreasing market" in Japan.