In its recent financial report for 2014-2015, Marvelous surprised many by announcing that Senran Kagura hadn’t met forecasts. Observers are crestfallen : the game barely had 3 or 4 days of sales in the fiscal term, during which it moved 100’000 units (physical & digital) that were sold through as March 30th. A top result for a game aimed at pure otakus.
Upset, Senran Kagura producer Kenichiro Takaki goes against its own management on twitter, uncommon thing in Japan where hierarchy is absolute. He says something like that.
“[Senran Kagura] is a series about which I had been said that 30’000 sales would be great. This year, we marketed 3 games of the series, all profitable and selling a cumulative 250’000 units, but now some say it’s not enough. The series has grown well and it’s thanks to you all”
Given such information, we can’t help thinking that financial controllers at Marvelous have become a bit megalomaniac. Estival Versus achieved a launch slightly lower than Shinobi Versus, but in a week full of big releases. The Japanese market having contracted in 2014 and the series fanbase hardly being extendable at this point, no one could expect growth. Furthermore, Marvelous’s accountants fail to take into account the future Western sales. They are critical of a profitable game that hasn’t yet brought all the revenues it can.
But Marvelous is already looking elsewhere. The report states that the environment of console games is “difficult” and that the market “shows a turnaround in favour of mobile applications”. Words that worryingly echo Konami’s CEO’s, who’s just thrown Metal Gear and Silent Hills in the dustbin so as to focus on smartphone games. This is no coincidence : smartphone and browser games account for 2/3 of Marvelous’s revenues, and bring 7 times more profit than consoles games, which just fell 78%. This collapse is of course due to their idiotic clinging to 3DS in 2014, but it is sure that financial staff cannot stay idle in front of such figures.
Takaki-san’s clash is not a message lost in the twittosphere, it is the second example in a very short time of the growing discrepancy between developers and management. One Konami is enough, there mustn’t be other cases like that.