The story of Capcom is an interesting one as there have been many changes in the company since its first iteration on May 30th, 1979. Before it was the Capcom that we have come to know and love for titles such as Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, Resident Evil, and Monster Hunter, it was I.R.M. Corporation which was founded by Kenzo Tsujimoto who to this day is still the Chairman and CEO of Capcom.
When Capcom began, it wasn’t just one company either, rather, it was two companies working together as one. These companies were I.R.M. as well as its subsidiary Japan Capsule Computers co., Ltd.
They were both devoted to manufacturing as well as distributing arcade machines. Shortly after this, they started working under one umbrella as Sambi Co., Ltd in 1981 while the name Capcom Co., Ltd was registered in June of 1983 for running the internal sales department. Almost a decade later, Sambi Co., Ltd., and Capcom Co. merged which resulted in the Capcom that we have today.
As a fun fact and something that I didn’t know until fairly recently, the name Capcom is a shortened form of “Capsule Computer”. I mean I knew the “com” part was obviously computer and heard the name “Capsule Computer” but I never connected the two together.
The Games of Capcom
Since its formation, Capcom has always been about games. They started their venture into the industry with coin-operated, or arcade games. Their first product was released in July of 1983 and was the coin-operated title, “Little League”.
In 1985, they started to make their break into the home console gaming market with a port of their widely popular arcade game “1942” to the Nintendo Entertainment System.
In 1987, Capcom started the legendary “Street Fighter” series, one of, if not the most popular fighting game in the world. The series is a staple within Capcom and is one of the company’s flagship titles with over 30 million units sold. In the same year, Capcom also released its other company mascot, and my personal favorite Capcom IP, Mega Man.
Between 1987 and 1996, Capcom went on to release multiple games including the legendary “Street Fighter II” and its countless iterations, as well as a film-to-game version of Street Fighter The Movie which used motion-captured characters from the movie’s actors in 1994.
In the Spring of 1996, Capcom released the survival-horror game “Resident Evil” for the Sony PlayStation console. The game was met with resounding success and critical acclaim receiving multiple Game of the Year honors and often ranked on lists of the best video games ever made.
In 2012, Complex rated Resident Evil number 22 on their list of the best video game franchises and G4tv stated that it is “one of the most successful series in gaming history,” and has gone on to sell over 90 million total units worldwide.
The Internals of Capcom
Capcom has it’s game production affairs separated into three different divisions which they internally call Consumer Games Division 1, Consumer Games Division 2, and you guessed it, Consumer Games Division 3.
Where the names are pretty straightforward and almost identical, the products that they work on within each division are completely different. For instance; Consumer Games Division 1 work on their AAA titles such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Dead Rising.
Consumer Games Division 2 works on their fighting games such as Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, as well as other online-focused games. Consumer Games Division 3 works on titles that are more geared towards the Japanese market such as Monster Hunter, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, etc.
Aside from making their own games internally, they occasionally reach out to external studios to make sure that they always have something coming out. However, due to the failure of some titles in the past due to poor development, they have decided to limit the outsourcing of sequels and new versions of its existing franchises, stating that their in-house teams will work on the development of original titles.
Continuing A Company of Innovation
One thing is for sure, and that’s Capcom knows how to innovate. They’re constantly trying new things with their IPs and they’re not afraid to try something new or which may go against the grain of the industry at the time.
I feel that this is a good thing and is what has allowed them to amass 15 multi-million selling titles across their short 40-year history. With new hardware constantly being released and new technologies being released and right around the corner which will challenge the border between IRL and UR.
You can be sure that Capcom will be right there to try to help bridge the gap and make something enjoyable for everyone.