The writing has been on the wall for a while, but one of the long-standing stalwarts of the video game console business has announced that it's leaving the market in favor of the world of mobile gaming. Game Informer reports that Konami is focusing purely on mobile for upcoming products and that it looks that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for the Sony PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox One, and Xbox 360 will be the last traditional console release from the company.
Speaking to Nikkei, Konami Digital Entertainment president Hideki Hayakawa says that mobile is the company’s future. “From now on, mobile is at the center,” Hayakawa told Nikkei (roughly translated via Google).
He also indicates that key franchises, like Metal Gear Solid, may also be pushed into the mobile space. The company is exploring ways to expand its presence in that sector in Japan and overseas.
Konami itself isn't going anywhere. Aside from plans in the mobile space, the company also has profitable holdings in non-gaming markets such as health clubs, and of course it's been around long before video games were a popular form of entertainment (fun fact: it started out with jukebox rental and repair in 1969). Konami is currently sitting on a lot of popular properties such as Castlevania, Silent Hill, Goemon, Dance Dance Revolution, Gradius, and Contra plus it also owns the old Hudson catalog giving it control of familiar names like Bonk, Adventure Island, and Bomberman. It's a shame that the company is unable to find a way to keep these properties around as profitable games; how badly do you have to screw up to fail with a powerhouse portfolio like that?
Much of the company's talent has left for greener pastures in recent years with developers like Castlevania's Koji Igarashi and Metal Gear Solid's Hideo Kojima departing to pursue other interests (Igarashi just unveiled a new Castlevania-type project via Kickstarter this week which brought in nearly two million dollars in just a few days). Upcoming console games such as the eagerly awaited Silent Hills have been canceled. Now we'll get to watch as Konami parades the soulless husks of our favorite franchises into the mobile world as shallow freemium titles out to make quick money. It didn't have to be this way, Konami, but, alas, here we are.