Akihabara News (Tokyo) — In recent years, Konami has been distinctly fading as a force within the video game industry, so much so that it was forced to swat away rumors last month that it was shutting down its digital entertainment business altogether.
At mid-month, Konami had announced that it was shutting down “three product divisions,” which was misinterpreted by some observers as signifying a complete withdrawal from video game production. These rumors, in turn, led to an official statement clarifying that “the announcement made refers to an internal restructure, with Production Divisions being consolidated. We have not ‘shut down’ our video gaming division.”
What made Konami ripe for such rumors is its relative lack of visible activity on the video game front. The company has not been the creative powerhouse that it used to be, even if its video game revenues reached record highs in 2020 as more people were stuck at home gaming under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm is known to be working on a next-generation version of its respected Pro Evolution Soccer for the PlayStation 5, but few other of its current gaming projects are known. It’s once vibrant Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill franchises have been dormant for some years.
Most accounts of Konami’s decline link it to the 2015 departure of acclaimed video game designer Hideo Kojima, although arguments continue about whether his exit was the cause or just a symptom of the firm’s stagnation.
It remains to be seen if the pandemic-driven growth of profitability in its video game segment (while most of its other businesses took losses) will stimulate Konami to return more of its focus on the games that made it a household name.