Konami Shuttering Down Game Divisions As Plans For Restructuring

The Konami brand has become less prevalent when it comes to the development of mainstream games. Aside from some middle of the road releases, like Contra Rogue Corps and some anthology collections such as the Konami Arcade Classics and Castlevania/Contra collections released over the last year. 

The news gets a little more glass is half empty, as reports came out that Konami is dissolving their three production divisions and reassigning staff, in a statement to address this, "We are dissolving the Production Divisions to respond to the rapid market that surrounds us.". Hideki Hayakawa remains Chief Operating Officer, Shoji Dewa and Koji Kobayashi will see promotions as Senior Executive Producer and Executive Producer respectively. Newly appointed Tatsuhiko Yamamoto is their new corporate officer. 

Now, I don't feel this is as "doom and gloom" as it seems to be reported. Sega and SquareEnix have made similar moves in the past. Konami is not in financial dire straits, either, as their record profits saw them earn more over the last five years (not to say correlation is causation, but this is roughly around the time of the firing of producer Hideo Kojima). They placed no.1 in third party publishers in Japan throughout 2020, with releases like the huge eSports juggernaut Pro Evolution Soccer and a new entry in the popular long-running train simulator series Momotaro Dentetsu, Showa, Heisei, Reiwa Mo Teiban! for the Nintendo Switch (Japan only). Their advancements in pachinko slot technology has brought them lots of money.

What this indicates, and it's something that's been apparent for a while, Konami doesn't necessarily need video game development to garner profits. Though they've posted a statement saying they have no intention on shutting game development, narrowing down their production staff to one single team isn't a sign that they intend to place much focus on in-house projects.

I suppose if there's any light at the end of that tunnel is they may intend to outsource development to other studios. They have a lot of iconic, yet dormant, properties such as Castlevania, Silent Hill, Contra, and the Gradius series. As a lifelong fan of Konami, I'd like to remain partially hopeful that allowing other teams to provide their creative energy to Konami's IPs, a resurgence is possible. for a company that places stakes in pachislots, it's surprising to not see them "gamble" on this.

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