Hudson Going After the Casual Gamers

DSCF9338.JPG Takahashi Meijin taps the table. We're backstage at the Hudson booth. He's been on stage all afternoon, doing calestenics for upcoming Wii fitness game DECASPORTA. He taps the table as if pressing a button. Tap, tap, tap. Takahashi Meijin is Hudson's quick button pushing human mascot and has been since the Sapporo-based company entered the gaming industry when it began writing code for the Famicom back in the early 1980s.

Takahashi Meijin has achieved an iconic status in Japan for the gaming industry. He writes a popular blog and designs T-shirts for games like Adventure Island — a side-scroller in which Takahashi appeared in with the localised language moniker "Master Higgins". Like Nintendo, Hudson, Takahashi says, is focusing on game play more more than graphics. "Graphics," Takahashi points out, "depend on the game — realistic graphics work well with driving and flying games. Hudson doesn't have games that kill people. That's why we use cartoon-like characters. We don't need realistic graphics."

Takahashi grabs a program on the table and draws a triangle. He draws a small section at the top and writes "Xbox 360" and "PS3". Takahashi tells me that those are hardcore gamers. Below that, he scribbles "easy game." This is the biggest chunk of the market, Takahashi explains.

"I play a lot of puzzle game," Takahashi says. Every morning, while taking the train to work, he busies himself with the Nintendo DS. What market is Hudson after? "This," he says. Takahashi circles the easy. In today's Japanese market, consider that a no-brainer. DSCF9341.JPG


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