Anyone who keeps up with video game news knows that Hideo Kojima is no longer working for Konami. While it remains to be seen why this change has happened, many believe that Konami is getting out of the video game business altogether. While others believe Konami and Kojima’s relationship had become too strained to keep working together. Whatever the reason is, it will end an almost 30 year working relationship between the two. This also ends the era of the legendary game designer in the video game industry. He was the last designer to have so much power over every aspect of the creation of a game almost to a fault.
As one of the most respected game makers in the industry I am sure he will be getting calls from about every game developer out there to bring him into their company. Something I think Microsoft desperately needs to do if they want a chance at gaining ground in the Japanese gaming market.
It’s no secret that the Xbox brand has sold terribly over the years in Japan. While they have tried to make some head way there by making great games like blue dragon and lost odyssey. Both are JRPG’s which is a very beloved genre over there, but these games never were big enough to help Xbox break into the Japanese market. This is in part because of what audience the Xbox is targeting the most which is the US. This is why a lot of their first party games are racing games and shooters which the Japanese market has stayed away from for the most part.
While the Xbox is not exactly geared towards the Japanese market the biggest problem it has with sales there is its competition. Nintendo and Sony have been a gigantic powerhouse in the console video game industry long before Microsoft ever got in. Both have developed a big following and a very loyal fan base. This coinciding with the fact that both Nintendo and Sony are Japanese companies makes it seem an insurmountable task to overtake them as the market share for video game consoles in Japan. While it probably is, there are things they can do to win over some new customers.
This is where Hideo Kojima comes in to play. While Xbox is probably the last of the three main consoles he would come to there is still a chance he could. Kojima’s long running series Metal Gear Solid has been one of the most critically acclaimed series in video games. While the series has been on the 360 as a remastered collection. Metal Gear Solid 5 would be the first to release on an Xbox console at the same time as a Nintendo and Playstation console. So Kojima and Xbox are probably not on that of familiar terms they would have to go above and beyond to recruit him over the other two.
While it would be hard to get him, this would be a huge splash across the industry if they gave him his own studio in Japan. The fate of Kojima productions which is a subsidiary of Konami is up in the air. So it would be easy to poach a bunch of the talent from that studio and form a new one with Kojima at the lead. This would drastically increase their appeal to Japanese gamers as a whole because of how well Kojima games have sold there. Not only there but his series have also sold well in the US, which it would have to sell well there too to make enough sales to justify giving him a studio. An extremely high percentage of their consoles sales come from the US. So even if the game brought in a lot of new Japanese gamers to the console it would still need good sales in the US to turn a profit.
Xbox needs to make a move like this badly, the majority of their studios are either in the UK or the US. Diversity in their studio lineup is needed and could bring them a wider audience abroad where they are badly losing the console market to Sony. Phil Spencer the new head of Xbox has been very adamant on having more first party studios so this is a possibility.
While Kojima could be a great get for any studio there are some concerns. Kojima has pretty much been making only MGS games for the last few decades. Does he have the creativity to make a new game or has the series burnt out his creative juices. For all we know Kojima may be done with making games because he has made the claim of retiring many times before. That is the last thing I would hope would happen but it is a possibility.
Kojima will not be leaving Konami till after MGS5 has released and from there anything could happen. It will be wild to see what happens and I really hope he does not retire because of how big of an influence he has been to the gaming industry.
What do you guys think will happen to Kojima after he is let go from Konami, let us know in the comment section below.