Yes, I know, some of you are getting a little tired of these stories, or you feel perhaps like we’re banging the drum a bit too hard. The thing is, the fiscal year just closed a few weeks ago and most of the year-end reports are coming out at the same time. Many publishers are sharing their plans for the coming fiscal year, and given the state of the overall gaming market, it’s not surprising that many companies pulling back to varying extents on consoles in favor of other avenues, including mobile. This is important news for mobile fans because it means a lot of great companies are preparing to make contributions to our little neck of the woods, some of whom have never done mobile work before. Case in point: Nippon Ichi Software, the niche Japanese publisher probably best known for their Disgaea series of strategy RPGs.
It should be said that the console market in Japan is far worse than in most other regions. Last generation saw a mass migration of players to handhelds, and many of those gamers have now switched out their handhelds for mobiles. It’s becoming virtually impossible for Japanese game companies to ignore mobile, particularly the ones who do plenty of business in Japan. While NIS actually makes a majority of their money outside of Japan through NIS America, their financial results took a serious hit this year. They actually lost money selling packaged software this year. While they still managed to eke out a profit thanks to their online business, their net income was down almost 96% from the previous year. Clearly, a new strategy is required, and one was outlined in their fiscal year report. The upshot of it all is that NIS will start developing mobile games, probably mainly for the domestic market, and PC games via Steam, which is most certainly a move meant to appeal to the rest of the world.
They will, of course, continue to support the systems they always have, but they’re definitely widening their horizons. This is noteworthy mainly because NIS has rarely ventured outside of consoles and traditional handhelds. They’re a fairly small company and have been able to get by simply by catering to their loyal fanbase. That’s obviously not enough anymore, and I can’t say I mind it at all. While their games have a very specific appeal to them, there’s no question that they can put together a heck of a nice SRPG when they set their minds to it. That particular genre undeniably works well on a touch screen, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see how Disgaea or any of their other titles could translate. Of course, this will more than likely just result in some Disgaea-flavored social RPG, but let’s try to keep our chins up and hope for something more interesting than that, yes?