Almost two weeks ago to the day, Konami President, Hideki Hayakawa, got the Internet all twisted up when he said that his company was pretty much dropping console game development in order to pursue mobile games aggressively because “mobile is where the future of gaming lies." As expected, these comments got many across the Internet, and in our comment sections, up in arms mostly in defense of “traditional" gaming. Well, today Konami backtracked so fast it looked like a moonwalking Michael Jackson on fast forward. In a letter sent to Polygon, Konami apologized to its fans for causing anxiety about its games and business practices and sought to clarify its future plans.
While Konami admitted that the company has been undergoing significant structural reorganization, it shot down the idea that it’s doing so to redirect towards mobile but, instead, explained that the restructuring was necessary for Konami to remain relevant in the “quickly-changing digital entertainment industry" where new game designs and platforms constantly transform the market environment. Konami apologized to its fans and explained that some of the quotes gave the wrong message because they lacked the necessary context (context from the President of Konami, not from those who discussed the comments). What Konami is planning to do apparently is to build a “comprehensive portfolio of console, arcade, and card game titles for each IP while also making the best possible use of the mobile devices that accompany our customers in their daily life." In an interesting note, Konami said that it’s pretty much pointless to be talking about categories such as mobile and console because the mobile devices will be a driving force in the game industry’s growth that will eventually make any attempts to categorize the market meaningless.
So, Konami seems to have clarified the company’s future plans and dispelled any misconceptions that were, apparently, purely down to the lack of a proper context. The backtracking is, of course, perfectly understandable and even to be expected because of consumers’ and stakeholders’ furious responses. For me, the most interesting statement was Konami’s assertion that breaking down “gaming" into multiple sub-categories will soon become meaningless. The question is whether gaming will become an overarching category where the platform used matters little or not at all, or whether some sectors of gaming will become so gigantic that they will “usurp" the category of gaming. What do you all think about Konami’s apology and view of the future of gaming?