Interview with David Reeves: ‘Middle East region worth $750 million’

By on July 11, 2011

Middle East no longer a “non-important” region, says Capcom Europe head.

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First Impressions
My reaction is
Playstation Vita is on the horizon as well. Does Capcom see any potential there? Has the publisher started focusing more on that platform, software wise?

I think in the case of 3DS and Vita, Capcom are treating them pretty equally. They have Resident Evil: Mercenaries that released last week. Super Street Fighter as well, along with other titles. There will be one launch title for Vita. I am not actually sure if it’s been mentioned, so I am not going to, but there will be a launch title for the platform. And then we will do Street Fighter vs Tekken, and at least two others. I am sure you can guess what one of them has to be, considering the success in Japan.

So there are going to be games coming out for both the platforms. And they are both Japanese companies, Nintendo and Sony, and so is Capcom. So the ties are very, very strong. So I think down the road, you could probably see a Monster Hunter iteration somewhere. Probably on both of them. I haven’t heard any concrete plans…they don’t always share those plans…because they switch teams many times.

Personally I find Vita a little bit more enticing. It’s got more to get into, it has 3G, it feels good in the hand. I find…and Nintendo will probably tell you as well…that 3D is not what they are going to sell it [3DS] on. They think 3D is something that will draw people in, but after a while, that’s it. People will just use the slider and put it into 2D. And they are aware of that.

It’s going to depend on the software ultimately, whether it be a Zelda or a Mario, they are the games that will probably draw players in and sell systems.

It will be interesting to see who prevails. I think in the Middle East it will probably be Vita, because of its Playstation brand. In Russia it will certainly prevail as well. I think in the US and Europe, however, it’s going to be quite a battle. And that’s only good for consumers.

But Capcom themselves are pretty agnostic about it. They will choose the game that will suit the individual platforms and develop for both of them. Just as other publishers, like Ubisoft,  who are developing for both of them as well.

How about WiiU? Does Capcom have any plans for the system, especially for its launch next year, or bringing old franchises to be used with the unique tablet-controller capabilities?

Capcom haven’t announced anything officially on Wii U. I think they have done prototypes. There are only so many things you can get ready for E3 [laughs]. But they might show something at the Tokyo Games Show which is where Wii U is more focused on. I haven’t seen anything personally myself but since the companies are quite close, I am sure they must be looking at something.

Some of the big names like Ubisoft and EA said that they will support it. I think Riccitiello was on stage at E3 and said ‘I am going to support it’, and when they say that, they will.

Capcom still working on prototypes for Nintendo's system.

But at the end of the day, they are all existing titles. They showed Battlefield 3 and other games but all of it will be out a year earlier.

Never underestimate Nintendo though. You suddenly think ‘how have they managed to sell so many?’. Wii Sports and something like that…people play for ten minutes. They become tired and they stop playing. I think Nintendo will bounce back. I think they will come out with some original First Party titles. Nintendo has amazing First Party and that’s what drives it.

Lastly, how was Capcom affected by the PSN down time?

Yeah…we had digital delivery titles…a lot of them. And they are programmed each month, you have to schedule them with the PSN people, you can’t just say ‘there it is!’, you have to schedule it, and it is then adjusted and then packed off in a particular file format. Yeah, we lost out, particularly in Europe and North America by not being able to put it up onto the PSN.

We have seen in the last week…the last 10 days, quite a bit of resurgence in that [users], which is pleasant. We have seen on PSN, and probably Sony are in a better place to tell you this, that there is a resurgence in people buying the generic PSN cards in retail stores rather than putting up their credit card details. Actually I haven’t been in the market so I don’t know what cards are available here. However, I think in the future they will make more non-generic cards, like game branded ones, such as Street Fighter or FIFA, or even Modern Warfare. But the generic ones have done well. People are playing it a bit safe at the moment because the hackers will be back [laughs], that’s my personal opinion. I mean…they will right? They are going to say “so you think you are secure?” But from what we hear from Sony and Microsoft, the growth of the digital downloads is incremental to the packaged goods. It doesn’t seem to hit the packaged goods. What hits packaged goods in Europe and America is probably second hand sales, more than anything which is digital. When it goes second hand, people can buy the game for almost half the price. It’s the big thing we are battling at the moment here.

In Europe we battle second hand, and in 10 years companies like GameStop are going to battle digital downloads. They won’t be able to control it. So it’s kind of two opposing forces.

So Capcom did suffer for a month, and we were not alone.

Any exclusive stuff that you would like to announce?

[Laughs] I don’t have any exclusive stuff to announce actually, although you might see some during GAMES ‘11 or TGS 2011.

I just want to end by saying that the Middle East region is no longer non-important. Games are no longer releasing six weeks after its release. It’s right up there with the rest. We are trying to get the games out on the same day, and sometimes even before. That’s a conscious effort from everybody, be it Capcom, or Codemasters, or Konami. To try and get the games out here in the Middle East as soon as we can. And I know the hardware manufacturers do the same as well. I know Sony ships directly from China, and I think Microsoft is doing the same as well.

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Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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