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Report: Capcom To Fight Flagging Sales With More Franchise Releases, Western Outsourcing

A new report indicates Capcom will start relying more heavily on outsourcing development to Western studios -- aiming to produce installments of key properties like Resident Evil more frequently.
Major Japanese publishers are struggling with rising costs, exchange rate challenges and a steadily-shrinking software market. Publishers Sega, Tecmo Koei and Konami are making deep cuts to their SKU counts; now, after closing its fiscal 2009 with profits down 73 percent, Capcom is looking to its core properties for a turnaround. Capcom's home to numerous enduring hit properties like Resident Evil and Street Fighter, and the company has said it expects this year's new entries into its Marvel vs. Capcom, Lost Planet and Monster Hunter Freedom franchises to each reach 2 million units and up. But the publisher hopes more Western production will help it annualize those key properties better, allowing for more top-property releases in a given year. That's according to a Nikkei report translated by Andriasang, in which Capcom states its aim to increase output of major franchise titles from the current two titles per year to the arena of three to four titles per year. When it comes to fighting franchise Street Fighter, arguably the genre's most beloved and one of gaming's most iconic brands overall, that strategy is already evident: during Comic Con last week, Capcom announced major crossover title Street Fighter X Tekken and arcade remake Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition within days of each other. According to the report, Capcom plans to offset the cost of the large development teams required for major franchise installments by relying on outsourcing to North American studios, banking on external resources and development methodologies to speed up development times. It estimates that titles that would have previously taken four years can be created in two to three years with this approach, which means long waits for games like Lost Planet 2 -- whose delay was cited as causing harm to the publisher's last fiscal year -- can be avoided.

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