Falcom and Publishing PC Games

Sometime ago, I found a very informative article posted on the Games BBS on Falcom’s website. Thankfully, as I was flooded with schoolwork, Varion took the time to translate it and post the article on Ancient Land of Ys.

Someone did all the legwork to find all the evidence as to what’s happening with Falcom, regarding the release of- or lack thereof, in this case- of PC games. It also pinpoints the why, and why we will most likely never see another PC release from Falcom directly.

I figured that this is an important thing to pinpoint after reading through some of the comments on the Silicon Era post for that last article. A lot of people are still not informed on what happened. It’s a major piece of information for Falcom and their PC development.

As they have said on twitter repeatedly: They want to develop for PC games. They really do. But in their current situation, it’s just not possible.

The information under the cut will give the details for that.

Floofy directed me to an interesting post on Falcom’s official forum the other day, which appears to be a well researched analysis on why Falcom will likely never make another PC game. Because there’ve been little bits here and there for a while now, I figured I’d throw together a translation of it for anyone who’s interested.

They’ve effectively already declared they’re abandoning the PC, or at least come close to it. Let me explain.

When Falcom used to sell PC retail games, excluding a few places like Falcom’s own mail order service, all the actual distribution was handled by Softbank. Softbank would buy up the goods, then sell them on to retail stores, which they would then sell on to consumers. Falcom’s high-ups have confirmed as much in past stockholder meetings.

Despite this, in 2009 Softbank stopped buying up Falcom’s PC titles. With this Falcom have basically stopped being a PC game business! This is because, as I said already, ‘excluding a few places… all the actual distribution was handled by Softbank.’

It’s a little difficult to convey the significance of this, but I can’t think of any other prominent wholesalers that handle PC games (there probably aren’t any)

With no replacement for Softbank, there’s realistically no way for Falcom to sell their PC games other than their own mail order service and digital downloads. And well, Softbank is the strongest in the digital downloads field as well.

Anyway, with the situation like this Falcom has chosen to abandon PC game development rather than try and search for a distribution channel other than Softbank.

You get the sense the above is true from reading Falcom’s official twitter posts, too, I think. Next, I want to look at that ‘close to a declaration’ statement I mentioned at the beginning.

It’s from none other than their own Investor Relations documents. Look at their 2008/09 marketable securities report here: http://www.falcom.co.jp/kaisya/ir/library_pdf/yuho0809.pdf

On Page 5 in the section on the company’s development, under November 2001 it says ‘With the aim of separating the business of PC game planning, production, development and sales, old Falcom was transitioned into a new company with these areas split.’

On Page 9, in the section on production, orders and sales, Softbank’s sales successes are shown as having gone down from being 47.9% of the total to only 5%. However, they’re still clearly marked as an important client.

Then, in the 2009/09 marketable securities report here: http://www.falcom.co.jp/kaisya/ir/library_pdf/yuho0909.pdf

On page 9, in the section on production, orders and sales, their formerly strongest client Softbank BB has been erased entirely. This is equal to Falcom saying their relationship with Softbank has ended. As I wrote above, this is incredibly close to them saying they’ve stopped selling retail PC games altogether.

On page 5, under November 2001 the section on the creation of new Falcom has been changed to remove the reference to ‘PC games’. In other words, telling investors they’re not that kind of company now.

That’s all. Sorry for the length. The occasional ‘We want to release another PC game’ statements from Falcom are probably true. That’s how they do feel. However, the harsh reality is likely as I’ve written above.

Incidentally, one of the comment replies then quotes a tweet made by Falcom recently which does back this up.

seigayukiduki: “Are there plans for a PC release for Zero no Kiseki?”
nihonfalcom: “Unfortunately, at the moment there’s no prospect it would make any profit, so nothing is happening. Personally, I would love a PC version to be made. I really don’t want to give up on the idea so I don’t want to say there won’t be one. So this is all I can say. I’m really sorry.”

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Kirsten Miller
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The webmaster, creator, and administrator of Endless History and all the sites located on esterior.net. Web developer and designer by day, translator, Kiseki crack theorist, and game streamer by night. Also, apparently a very floofy guy.

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