Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Cold Truth Of Capcom And Mega Man

    Capcom has recently started an official Twitter account for Mega Man. This move seems to be part of the apparent Mega Man anniversary celebration Capcom claims will stretch into next year. It has also been stated that fan reception of Street Fighter X Mega Man will be used to gauge how Capcom will handle the next year in regards to Mega Man meaning they really don't have anything pre-planned. Honestly, this is the most erratic handling of an anniversary for a game ever. It seems as if there are a few people in the company who have passion for the Blue Bomber and want to please the fans but Capcom is giving them zero resources or support to do so. My prediction is that Capcom will simply leech off of fan works much like SFxMM to buy themselves time and see where they can make money from said works. This is on display with the Mega Man Xmas video recently released by the company on YouTube. The video simply strings together snow level footage from throughout the series with an 8 bit Christmas tune which ironically was taken from a fan work without initially giving credit (This was later corrected). The video ends with a graphic showing Street Fighter X Mega Man as their gift to the fans which is pretty ballsy considering it was entirely a fan made effort that Capcom is taking credit for. 
    What a lot of people don't understand is that while Mega Man has always been a safe and dependable franchise, it has not been the cash cow Capcom would like. Allow me to layout the situation with Capcom's own numbers. For the sake of comparison, I am using the 3 current franchises Capcom has focused on almost exclusively for the last few years versus the entire Mega Man series.
  • Resident Evil: 77 Titles (55 Million Units Sold) Series has only 6 core numbered entries
  • Street Fighter: 76 Titles (33 Million Units Sold) Series has only 4 core numbered entries
  • Monster Hunter: 22 Titles (21 Million Units Sold) Series has only 4 core numbered entries
  • Mega Man: 129 Titles (29 Million Units Sold) Franchise has 35 core numbered entries across 7 independent series
    The numbers don't lie, when you consider that most Mega Man games are individual titles and not rehashes and ports like the other 3 franchises, it is now much clearer why the more money hungry Capcom of recent years shows little to no interest in the Blue Bomber. Mega Man was a safe dependable brand that helped build the company but Capcom is now more interested in easy, multi-million selling franchises that can be milked to death through paid DLC. Capcom is no longer the company it was even 3 years ago in relation to fans and its franchises. On one hand, it's hard to blame them with the industry changing so drastically and major studios either closing or being gobbled up by larger companies but there is something to be said about fan loyalty and support. Street Fighter 4 would not have happened if not for the intensely loyal fan community and the passion of the development team. Capcom, now a shell of its former self, feels like a company who operates primarily on sales statistics and profit motive with few projects showing any real passion simply existing to cash in and move on to the next sequel or DLC. This is further showcased by the failures of Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City prompting the company to consider quick porting the amazing 3DS game Resident Evil: Revelations to the big consoles and PC in digital form to recoup losses. 

    This analysis of the company could prove to be wrong in the long run but with many key people who helped make Capcom what it was now gone, I don't see a bright future for the company in terms of new brands and fan loyalty. Instead, I see the insanely creative, fiercely loyal and ever vigilant fan community taking the torch and furthering this fan driven franchise in the future with Capcom allowing it to happen until they have a need for the franchise again. Funny thing is, this is one franchise where the fans really should be given the reigns considering the care and passion which permeates the MANY works out there. What are your thoughts, should Capcom step up and officially hand this series to the fans and simply assist in releasing the works while splitting profits with fans where appropriate? It may be an unlikely scenario but could change the face of the industry for the better. Please comment below.

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