Koei Tecmo's Latest Questionable Business Interview


Game Industry. Biz met up with Koei Tecmo's CEO to discuss expansion, what's trending in the business industry of games & their recent success in the market. Hisashi Koinuma states that the conglomerate found global interest by focusing on their own Japanese identity when they have in fact been focusing on that specific subject for well over thirty years. Koei Tecmo fails to bring up the words 'Team NINJA' a single time in their ode to the golden brick road despite Team NINJA doing almost all of the work to give them this kind of "global success" to begin with.

I meet Koei Tecmo CEO Hisashi Koinuma on a day that's something of a quiet milestone for his company. Years of growth -- mostly organic, aside from Koei's acquisition of Tecmo a decade ago -- has seen Koei overspill its distinctive headquarters buildings in Hiyoshi, a university suburb in the commuter belt sandwiched between Tokyo and Yokohama. Today is the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new building in the Minato-Mirai waterfront district of Yokohama. Less than 20 minutes to the south by train, it will provide space for 1600 staff -- much-needed room for both expansion and consolidation.

So things are going along swimmingly at Koei Tecmo. For people that think Dead or Alive is a dead franchise that is the furthest thing from the truth. Koei Tecmo is in the green for things like Season Passes & individual DLC that keep them swimming instead of sinking thanks to the very supportive community. The success obviously doesn't just speak to Dead or Alive, but also with Nioh, and game industry leaders who have entrusted Team NINJA to create repetitious Dynasty Warrior clones like Zelda: Hyrule Warriors that went on to ship a little over one million units.

Believe it or not, Dead or Alive is still the flagship series of Koei Tecmo with over 10 million units shipped in the series history when you include digital purchases, it's likely a lot more than that. Judging by this interview they want you to believe that this goes to the Dynasty Warriors franchise, but the series was utterly milked into a late grave, with Koei releasing multiple repetitive titles a year to the point where fans of the series didn't know what to do with themselves. Now sales are dwindling for the franchise and nobody talks about it because Koei milks the udder with lazy formulas despite having a bevy of capital to create new and engaging products.

While the quality has diminished for Koei's games, the reviews are something that have never been particularly good. The Dynasty Warriors games tend to get very low marks for obvious reasons pointed out already and Team NINJA's games like Ninja Gaiden: Black, Dead or Alive and the Nioh franchise typically receive high scores. While this is indeed a business article, is it fair to say that Team NINJA is the golden goose of Koei Tecmo and they haven't given them one SHRED of credit for it?

Nioh was Koei's idea, but without the finesse and skill of Team NINJA this game would have been another failed Warriors experience, and it's proven by Tecmo's cheap aesthetics and lack of evolving game design. They can "go to the bank now" because of Team NINJA's expert craftsmanship in games, but Koei Tecmo is trying to ruin that as well with their loud lashes and strikes to Dead or Alive's quality in favor of a few extra bucks.

When the report switched to the mobile market the CEO went off to say that Chinese love to pay to get stronger in their games, while Japanese players like paying "some money" for lottery systems. While the market does indeed show growth in that regard, can you find articles or comments by these alleged players that love it? Or is this simply another greedy CEO that wants to attempt normalizing this travesty while demoralizing the Westerners for not paying enough? Because what we've learned from the hair color scandal alone is that all players globally HATE it and think something is seriously wrong with Koei Tecmo games for infringing this practice on their players!

"On the other hand, Japanese players prefer lottery or 'gacha' style systems, where you pay some money and don't know exactly what you'll get in return. Chinese players want to spend money directly to get stronger and win competitions. Western players are different again -- they prefer games where you can play and enjoy the game itself without paying much money. So, if we're going to launch in different markets, we definitely need to tune how the monetisation works in order to match the expectations of different cultures."

What is most disturbing about this statement is somehow this CEO thinks that Western's "prefer games where they can play and enjoy the game itself without paying much money." Where might I ask is the record on this? If anything the Western players have put in just as much money as anyone else, with a lot of players here in the DOA community buying season passes on the regular just as a way to donate and support the team. Would you say that almost 400 USD for four season passes is just a little cash?

This is an insulting report to anyone that dedicates their time to Koei Tecmo's games. Instead of thanking the players and giving credit to Team NINJA for bringing them this far and keeping them relevant they try to makes excuses for their maniacal business practices and they take no responsibility globally for their recent actions that have irritated everyone. Dead or Alive, Nioh 2 and Ninja Gaiden are excellent franchises, and unfortunately KT's idea of business ruins the experience for everyone but them.

At Free Step Dodge we desire to post offline community posts, we want to highlight the amazing talent of Team NINJA in this process. Unfortunately in times like these we either fight or we get taken advantage of. The next topic is Koei Tecmo's response to the hair debacle which is about as half-assed as their latest business report.
 
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I really can't stand Koei-Tecmo. I have no respect for this company. I wish that there was some way that Team NINJA could work with a different publisher.

It's the only salvation at this present time. Who knows, they might change and treat it better, but never ever expect the best out of it. Give it to Platinum Games, there's a couple people within it who are actually familiar with fighting games. They just never actually helped with one.
 
lol at the part that pictures the Chinese as pay-to-win maniacs and the Japanese as gambling addicts
 
It's the only salvation at this present time. Who knows, they might change and treat it better, but never ever expect the best out of it. Give it to Platinum Games, there's a couple people within it who are actually familiar with fighting games. They just never actually helped with one.

Oh, I'd be down for a Platinum fighting game. This is a developer that knows how to consistently produce good games (though please don't make it a Nintendo exclusive...). TN + Platinum = Godlike action/fighting game.

Seriously though, KT really doesn't care how low they sink with DOA. The franchise seriously deserves better. As much as I hated on Itagaki sometimes, he had a solid vision for DOA and stood by it.
 
For people that think Dead or Alive is a dead franchise that is the furthest thing from the truth. Koei Tecmo is in the green for things like Season Passes & individual DLC that keep them swimming instead of sinking thanks to the very supportive community.
Citation needed.

SteamSpy estimations:
DOA6 owners - 100k..200k
Nioh owners - 1M..2M
Romance of Three Kingdoms XIV owners - 100k..200k

DOA6 24-hour peak - ~250
DOAXVV 24-hour peak - >4k
Nioh 24-hour peak - ~4k
Romance of Three Kingdoms XIV 24-hour peak - ~6k

DOA6 is not what keeps KT "in green". DOA5 neither. DOA fans' support is not what keeps KT afloat.
Looking at these numbers I'm grateful KT and TN still sticking with DOA fighting game series.

What is most disturbing about this statement is somehow this CEO thinks that Western's "prefer games where they can play and enjoy the game itself without paying much money." Where might I ask is the record on this?
Well, try reading FSD forums for once. Or comments on DOATEC's twitter. Or DOA5/6 user reviews... Strange places to learn what people think about DOA, I know. Anyway there are couple recurring themes: "DOA6 is incomplete game until you buy each and every DLC!" and "We demand free stuff!" Every such post give KT CEO words some weight.
And there is faint memory of boxed games model in the West. It means games are developed for years then printed on disk and sold for fixed price ($60). For moderate amount of money user could get game to play for years. This barely works now but idea "moderate single payment gives you years of entertainment" persists and some "forward-thinking" minds just cann't let it go. That's what CEO was talking about. Seriously, LET IT GO!
 
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Citation needed.

SteamSpy estimations:
DOA6 owners - 100k..200k
Nioh owners - 1M..2M
Romance of Three Kingdoms XIV owners - 100k..200k

DOA6 24-hour peak - ~250
DOAXVV 24-hour peak - >4k
Nioh 24-hour peak - ~4k
Romance of Three Kingdoms XIV 24-hour peak - ~6k

DOA6 is not what keeps KT "in green". DOA5 neither. DOA fans' support is not what keeps KT afloat.
Looking at these numbers I'm grateful KT and TN still sticking with DOA fighting game series.

Well, try reading FSD forums for once. Or comments on DOATEC's twitter. Or DOA5/6 user reviews... Strange places to learn what people think about DOA, I know. Anyway there are couple recurring themes: "DOA6 is incomplete game until you buy each and every DLC!" and "We demand free stuff!" Every such post give KT CEO words some weight.
And there is faint memory of boxed games model in the West. It means games are developed for years then printed on disk and sold for fixed price ($60). For moderate amount of money user could get game to play for years. This barely works now but idea "moderate single payment gives you years of entertainment" persists and some "forward-thinking" minds just cann't let it go. That's what CEO was talking about. Seriously, LET IT GO!

I did not say DLC was the extent, but it's a huge factor because it's recurring money.

I'll attach KT's latest annual business report and you tell me how bad you think they are doing financially.


And by the way on PC we don't need to demand it free when we can customize it ourselves.

Thanks for giving me your two cents! Very cute and cheeky response. Not to mention we didn't even bother responding to Koei Tecmo's half baked response to the hair debacle. I think that's called letting it go.
 
I did not say DLC was the extent, but it's a huge factor because it's recurring money.

I'll attach KT's latest annual business report and you tell me how bad you think they are doing financially.

To clarify. It is you who are on News Team, not me. It is you who should tell me how KT doing financially.
KT's net profit is $123M (year ended 31 Mar 2019). Enough to release couple AAA-titles. But How much of it can be attributed to DOA6?

KT's Net sales to outside customers in Entertainment sector are $315M. That's their biggest sector, other sectors contribute $35M. Let's ignore them for clarity.

Beginning of my off the wall estimations. Any number below does not have any particular basis and SHOULD NOT BE CITED.

100k..200k Steam users owns DOA6. Lets say 150k. DOA6 base price is $60. Lets take into account discounts (up to 50%), regional pricing and Steam 70-30 split. Assume KT got $25 from each owner. That's $3.75M . Triple that to account for fine gentlemen on PS an XB. We got $11M.

About DLC's. How many people bought all 4 season passes? They say in mobile lands that 2% users are "whales". So it is safe to assume that 2% people bought all season passes, 4% - 3 of them, 8% - 2 and 16% bough 1 season pass. Season Pass costs $90, considering regional pricing and 70-30 split... assume $40 goes to KT. $40*150k*(4*2% + 3*4% + 2*8% + 1*16%) = $3.12M . Triple that because PS and XB. We got $9.5M

So we estimated DOA6 and DLCs generated ~$20M in sales. That's 6% of KT's sales in Entertainment sector. And I feel that this is overestimation. Again KT's net profit is $123M, 6 times more than estimation of DOA6 sales. KT can afford to lose it.

End of my estimations. Everything above should be considered a groundless speculation and SHOULD NOT BE CITED.

DOA community should not think of itself as of something that keeps KT afloat.

Also here is a per-region split of KT sales from report
Japan - $239M
Asia,etc - $58M
North America - $35M
Europe - $19M
Again, feel how important your are (not) for KT's business.

And by the way on PC we don't need to demand it free when we can customize it ourselves.
Yet nutcases in FSD community have got enough ... character to demand it. Also does anybody else can see your modifications? I bet no.
Thanks for giving me your two cents! Very cute and cheeky response. Not to mention we didn't even bother responding to Koei Tecmo's half baked response to the hair debacle. I think that's called letting it go.
No. They announced today there will be no more DLC after Season Pass 4. That's what called letting it go.
 
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Yet nutcases in FSD community have got enough ... character to demand it.
What size slice of the pie we are doesn't at all excuse them opting for an RMT system skivvier than anything else in the genre, nor should it silence our right to recompense after the industry at large called them out.

Imagine being broken enough to want to handwave RMT that insipid? o_0
 
You cannot expect customers to lower their expectations just because a product doesn't have the same budget or profit margins as the competition. DOA6 is not a F2P game, there is no F2P economy and the box price isn't cheaper than Tekken 7. Is it our fault that their marketing strategy failed?
 
What size slice of the pie we are doesn't at all excuse them opting for an RMT system skivvier than anything else in the genre, nor should it silence our right to recompense after the industry at large called them out.

Imagine being broken enough to want to handwave RMT that insipid? o_0
Oh, your are forgetting the whole Street Fighter X Tekken ,.. and Capcom's paid stages for SFV ,.. and Bamco's paid Frame Data for Tekken7. I wonder if you actually capable to remember anything. Compared to Capcom and Bamco's shenanigans, KT/TN are moral and trustworthy people.
For original poster "size of slice" does matter for some reason. And he made some interesting claims about it.
No, you have no right to recompense, because there were no damage done to you.
Game industry did not called KT out. It was fans and media. But mostly fans.

You cannot expect customers to lower their expectations just because a product doesn't have the same budget or profit margins as the competition. DOA6 is not a F2P game, there is no F2P economy and the box price isn't cheaper than Tekken 7. Is it our fault that their marketing strategy failed?
Actually, we do not know, if KT/TN consider DOA6 a failure. Console next gen is just half a year away, so they might just switched to DOA6+ (whatever it might be called) development.
Even if DOA6 failed it is not a fault of people who played the game, made conscious buying decisions and did not spread shit about DOA6.

I'll attach KT's latest annual business report and you tell me how bad you think they are doing financially.

https://www.koeitecmo.co.jp/e/ir/docs/33833de079919bad7675b6707903b8765d275855.pdf
Heh. This is report for FY ended 31 Mar 2019. DOA6 released 1 Mar 2019. It had little to no impact on profit and sales. That's FSD's News Team for you: always ready to misinform about KT/TN and DOA. And I failed to notice it in time. My bad.
Luckily, their profit and sales numbers seem stable year-over-year and it's unlikely that global recession would affect KT's FY20.
 
Oh, your are forgetting the whole Street Fighter X Tekken ,.. and Capcom's paid stages for SFV ,.. and Bamco's paid Frame Data for Tekken7. I wonder if you actually capable to remember anything. Compared to Capcom and Bamco's shenanigans, KT/TN are moral and trustworthy people.
For original poster "size of slice" does matter for some reason. And he made some interesting claims about it.
No, you have no right to recompense, because there were no damage done to you.
Game industry did not called KT out. It was fans and media. But mostly fans.

Actually, we do not know, if KT/TN consider DOA6 a failure. Console next gen is just half a year away, so they might just switched to DOA6+ (whatever it might be called) development.
Even if DOA6 failed it is not a fault of people who played the game, made conscious buying decisions and did not spread shit about DOA6.

Heh. This is report for FY ended 31 Mar 2019. DOA6 released 1 Mar 2019. It had little to no impact on profit and sales. That's FSD's News Team for you: always ready to misinform about KT/TN and DOA. And I failed to notice it in time. My bad.
Luckily, their profit and sales numbers seem stable year-over-year and it's unlikely that global recession would affect KT's FY20.

It says right in their business report they have received growth for 9 years straight. Your sales figures are NOT accurate depictions of the money they made. Do you think this year will be any different at all? Based on what you are saying KT lied in their business report not FSD you stupid idiot. If that's not what you meant learn how to write complete sentences that make sense or learn how to read.

It's easy to scan 2 or 3 of our 500+ stories and say "misinformation" if you are going to say that I want organized sentence structuring so I know what the fuck I did wrong. With Capcom you are saying two wrongs make a right so it's easy for me to edge off what you said.

Also you defended the hair colors. Come on - I think that writes the narrative on Stew right away.

You said something else really stupid:

"You are on the FSD news team it's your job to clarify."

It is not my JOB. It is a mere hobby to me thank you. You wanted a citation and I fucking gave you one that proves their growth.

Koei Tecmo is experimenting on a small community and it's wrong. They got called out by EVERYONE else so get over it and move with your pathetic life.
 
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Oh, your are forgetting the whole Street Fighter X Tekken ,.. and Capcom's paid stages for SFV ,.. and Bamco's paid Frame Data for Tekken7. I wonder if you actually capable to remember anything. Compared to Capcom and Bamco's shenanigans, KT/TN are moral and trustworthy people.
'I pay X, I get Y.'

This is acceptable monetisation. You might not like that you have to pay for Y, but that's tough shit - you have the freedom and power to vote with your wallet.

'I pay X, I get Y. Or, I pay Z, and rent Y.'

There are mediums of content where this makes perfect sense, and the ability to pay a lower cost SKU for temporary access to an experience may remove an accessibility barrier for many. This is fine. This is considerate.

'I pay X, I get to rent Y. I have limited space to store Y. Choosing to do locks me out of A to V. When new options 1 to 20 arrive, I arbitrarily lose Y if I want to experience them. I have no way of buying Y. The cost of renting Y is not insignificant. The money spent on Y is not protected in the event of software failure. It is not remembered by any external storage mechanisms.'

This is worse than any example you provided above. In a triple A product, it's worse than lootboxes, which at least give a permanent reward, albeit a random one.

It's literally gold-digging for a regular, repeated revenue stream on static content - engineering a scenario that provides continuous money transactions with no future work to earn it.

Parasitic, at best.

Only a paid company shill would come here and honestly try handwaving behaviour like that. It's not acceptable from Team Ninja. It's not acceptable from Koei. It wouldn't be acceptable from Capcom, or Bacmo, or anyone for that matter.

What on earth is wrong with you?
 
Koei Tecmo is experimenting on a small community and it's wrong.
This.

VV exists because of us. It exists because they experimented and pushed the boundaries with the X series, until they'd built a zeitgeist where parasitic gacha for titties was deemed acceptable by enough fans to run with it.

Hair colour wasn't the first time, and anyone who actually cares about the fighting game franchise wasn't going to let it become the second.

@Stew should be applauding the community and media response, not deriding it.
 
10 mil units shipped not sold.

Yes that's what the story says. Shipped or sold that doesn't include digital sales and would easily go beyond that otherwise.

That's relatively impressive for the type of game DOA is and for how overshadowed it's always been.
 
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