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Konami backtracks on 'mobile first' comments


Metal Gear

Konami has backtracked on comments that suggested it was prioritising mobile game development over its established console business.

With controversy raging about the supposed ousting of Metal Gear auteur Hideo Kojima, as well as the cancellation of the highly anticipated Silent Hills, it appeared as if Konami was turning its back on the console game development it had excelled at through the '90s and much of the '00s.

Such fears appeared to be confirmed a couple of weeks ago when new Konami CEO Hideki Hayakawa outlined his plans for the company. "Mobile is where the future of gaming lies," he said in no uncertain terms.

Or perhaps they were a little uncertain. The publisher has now apologised for Hayakawa's comments after they failed to quell growing unrest from fans of the company's key franchises.

"We are aware that the conjecture surrounding our recent changes has prompted a great deal of anxiety, for which we apologise," reads a Konami statement issued to IGN.

It goes on to assure fans that “the Metal Gear and Silent Hill series, both beloved by countless fans around the globe, are also extremely important to Konami."

The company clarifies that it "will continue to produce products for both franchises, but we are not currently at a stage where we can announce the path these future titles will take."

Meanwhile we can almost hear the reversing beeps in Mr Hayakawa's recent interview with Japan's Nikkei. "Konami’s idea of Mobile First is not at all to focus purely on mobile games," he says.

"Our aim is to continue to build up 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, thus expanding the limits of entertainment and appealing to more and more customers."

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Apparently, this mobile focus is all part of Konami remaining strong in its home market, with smartphone adoption as high as 50 percent in Japan. That's higher than both China and the US.

As for the exile of Hideo Kojima, it seems that this is all part of the new look Konami in which all of its teams operate under one roof and there's a clear delineation between creative types and those who call the shots. There's no place for a maverick visionary in such a setup, it seems.

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