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'Mega Man Online' Part Of Capcom's New Strategic Online Focus

After a rough year that saw a 73 percent drop in profits, Capcom introduced an online-centric strategy for the years ahead that includes Mega Man Online, co-developed with Korea's Neowiz.
After a rough year that saw a 73 percent drop in profits to ¥2.2 billion ($23.6 million), Capcom has introduced a new strategic business plan that includes more game launches, shorter development cycles and a larger presence in the online arena. The Osaka, Japan-based Street Fighter publisher said in an annual report that it plans to renovate its product development activities in Japan, shortening the development-to-launch cycle by "reexamining the use of personnel and making extensive use of outsourcing." Capcom also said it would "update" the model for overseas development partnerships by outsourcing development for new products that are already part of existing series, as Capcom previously stated. The publisher plans to work more closely with these outside developers as well. Poor sales of Western-developed games Bionic Commando and Dark Void were two factors that Capcom claimed negatively impacted the company's financials during the fiscal year. Capcom is also taking steps to adapt to a business environment where online and digital downloads are taking away share from the packaged games business. The publisher said it would strengthen its online games business, a category it says has "growth potential." The firm plans on increasing PC online activity in Asian countries by releasing more products and expanding into more territories. One component of this Asian PC strategy is the joint development of "Mega Man Online" with Korean developer Neowiz. Company president Haruhiro Tsujimoto said this week that Capcom is also working on its first Facebook game, expressing interest in online social gaming. Capcom also said that in general it would also release more home video games that are typically packaged through digital download. The publisher also plans to increase earnings by releasing additional content for games. The company also hasn't forgotten about smartphones, saying it will release games targeted at hardcore and casual players. Its first iPhone release, Street Fighter IV, debuted at the top of the App Store revenue chart. Capcom forecast that it would generate around ¥11 billion ($118.71 million) in revenues from online content by 2011. Fiscal 2009 saw ¥7 billion ($75.6 million) in revenues in the segment. The company projects that total packaged home video game software sales will decline from an estimated $230 million in sales this fiscal year to $184 million in fiscal 2014, due to "diversification of sales channels and a decline in average retail prices."

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