Konami Group Corporation
Native name
コナミグループ株式会社
Konami Gurūpu kabushiki-gaisha
Formerly
  • Konami Industry Co., Ltd. (1973–1991)
  • Konami Co., Ltd (1991–2000)
  • Konami Corporation (2000–2015)
  • Konami Holdings Corporation (2015–2022)
Company typePublic
ISINJP3300200007
Industry
Founded21 March 1969; 55 years ago (1969-03-21)
FounderKagemasa Kōzuki
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Kagemasa Kozuki (Chairman)
  • Takuya Kozuki (President)
  • Kimihiko Higashio (Vice President)
ProductsList of Konami games
RevenueIncrease ¥ 262.8 billion[1] (2020)
Decrease ¥ 31 billion[1] (2020)
Decrease ¥ 19.9 billion[1] (2020)
OwnerKozuki family (29%)[2]
Number of employees
Konami (total)
8,941 (2022)[3]
Konami Digital Entertainment
1,874 (2022)[4]
Konami Amusement
872 (2022)[5]
Konami Sports
4,748[6] (2022)
Subsidiaries
  • Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Konami Amusement
  • Konami Gaming
  • Konami Sports Club
  • Konami Sports Life
  • Konami Business Expert
  • Internet Revolution
  • KME
  • Konami Real Estate
  • Konami Cross Media NY
  • Kozuki Foundation
Websitewww.konami.com

Konami Group Corporation (Japanese: コナミグループ株式会社, Hepburn: Konami Gurūpu kabushiki-gaisha.)[nb 1] is a Japanese multinational entertainment company and video game developer and publisher headquartered in Chūō, Tokyo. The company also produces and distributes trading cards, anime, tokusatsu, pachinko machines, slot machines, and arcade cabinets. Konami has casinos around the world and operates health and physical fitness clubs across Japan.

Konami's video game franchises include Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Castlevania, Contra, Frogger, Tokimeki Memorial, Parodius, Gradius, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Suikoden, and eFootball. Additionally, Konami owns Bemani, known for Dance Dance Revolution and Beatmania, as well as the assets of former game developer Hudson Soft, known for Bomberman, Adventure Island, Bonk, and Star Soldier. Konami is the nineteenth-largest game company in the world by revenue.[7][unreliable source?] Konami also publishes the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.

The company originated in 1969 as a jukebox rental and repair business in Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan, by Kagemasa Kōzuki, who remains the company's chairman. The name Konami is a portmanteau of the names of three founding members: Kagemasa Kōzuki, Yoshinobu Nakama, and Tatsuo Miyasako.[8][unreliable source?]

Konami is headquartered in Tokyo. In the United States, Konami manages its video game business from El Segundo, California, and its casino gaming business from Paradise, Nevada. Its Australian gaming operations are in Sydney. As of March 2019, it owns 22 consolidated subsidiaries around the world.[3]

History

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is developed and published by Konami. In 2011, Guinness World Records called it the top-selling trading card game in history, with 25.2 billion cards sold worldwide.[9]

The company was founded on 21 March 1969 and was officially incorporated under the name Konami Industry Co., Ltd. (コナミ工業株式会社, Konami Kōgyō kabushiki gaisha) on 19 March 1973.[10][11] The company's founder and chairman, Kagemasa Kōzuki (also known as Kaz Kozuki),[12] ran a jukebox rental and repair business in Toyonaka, Osaka, before transforming the business into a manufacturer of amusement machines for video arcades. Their first coin-operated video game was released in 1978, and they began exporting products to the United States the following year.[13][14][unreliable source?]

Konami began to achieve success with arcade games in the early 1980s, starting with Scramble (1981), followed by hits such as Frogger (1981), Super Cobra (1981), Time Pilot (1982), Roc'n Rope (1983), Track & Field (1983), and Yie Ar Kung-Fu (1985).[12] Many of their early games were licensed to other companies for US release, including Centuri, Stern Electronics, Sega, and Gremlin Industries. They established their U.S. subsidiary, Konami Inc. (later Konami of America Inc., and Konami Digital Entertainment Inc.), in November 1982;[15][non-primary source needed] initially based in Torrance, California, they would later move to Buffalo Grove, Illinois, in 1984 following their acquisition of arcade distributor Interlogic, Inc., with Interlogic founder and president Ben Harel serving as president of Konami Inc.[16] It was during this period that Konami began expanding their video game business into the home consumer market following a brief stint releasing video games for the Atari 2600 in 1982 for the U.S. market.[17] The company released numerous games for the MSX home computer standard in 1983, followed by the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985.[18][19][non-primary source needed] Numerous Konami franchises were established during this period on both platforms, as well as the arcades, such as Gradius, Castlevania, Twin Bee, Ganbare Goemon, Contra, and Metal Gear, in addition to success with hit licensed games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). Due to the success of their arcade and NES games, Konami's earnings grew from $10 million in 1987 to $300 million in 1991.[20] The first TMNT arcade game (1989) was Konami's highest-grossing arcade game.[21]

In June 1991, Konami's legal name was changed to Konami Co., Ltd. (コナミ株式会社, Konami kabushiki gaisha) and their headquarters were relocated to Minato, Tokyo, in April 1993.[13][non-primary source needed] The company started supporting the 16-bit video game consoles during this period, starting with the Super NES in 1990, followed by the PC Engine in 1991, and the Sega Genesis in 1992.

After the launch of the Sega Saturn and PlayStation in 1994, Konami became a business divisional organization with the formation of various Konami Computer Entertainment (KCE) subsidiaries, starting with KCE Tokyo and KCE Osaka (later known as KCE Studios) in April 1995, followed by KCE Japan (later known as Kojima Productions) in April 1996. Each KCE subsidiary created different intellectual properties such as KCE Tokyo's Silent Hill series and KCE Japan's Metal Gear Solid series (a revival of the Metal Gear series on MSX). In 1997, Konami started producing rhythm games for arcades under the Bemani brand and branched off into the collectible card game business with the launch of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.[22][23]

In July 2000, the company's legal English name was changed to Konami Corporation, but the Japanese legal name remained the same. As the company transitioned into developing video games for the sixth-generation consoles, they branched out into the health and fitness business acquiring People Co., Ltd and Daiei Olympic Sports Club, Inc. which became Konami subsidiaries. In August 2001, the company invested in another video game publisher, Hudson Soft, which became a consolidated subsidiary after Konami accepted new third-party shares issued by them. In January 2003, Avranches Automatique began handling sales of Konami's arcade games in Europe outside the U.K. and Ireland.[24] On February 7, 2003, Betson Enterprises took over distribution and service for Konami's arcade games in the U.S.[25][26][27] Some time later, PMT Sales started handling Konami arcade game sales in the U.K. and Ireland.[24] In March 2006, Konami merged all their video game development divisions into a new subsidiary known as Konami Digital Entertainment Co. (KDE), as the parent company became a pure holding company. Their headquarters were relocated to Minato, Tokyo, in 2007.[13] On January 20, 2009, Electrocoin became the exclusive distributor and after-sale agent of Konami's arcade games in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa.[28][29]

The absorption of Hudson Soft in 2012 resulted in the addition of several other franchises including: Adventure Island, Bonk, Bloody Roar, Bomberman, Far East of Eden, and Star Soldier.[30][31]

In April 2015, Konami delisted itself from the New York Stock Exchange following the dissolution of their Kojima Productions subsidiary.[32] In a translated interview with Nikkei Trendy Net published in the following month, the newly appointed president of Konami's gaming division, Konami Digital Entertainment, Hideki Hayakawa, announced that Konami would shift their focus towards mobile gaming for a while, claiming that "mobile is where the future of gaming lies."[33] The trade name of the company was changed from Konami Corporation to Konami Holdings Corporation during the same month.[34][non-primary source needed] Konami consolidated its productions teams established in 2004 into their headquarters, including Pawapuro Production, BEMANI Production, Virtual Kiss Production, Loveplus Production, Kojima Productions and others, that year.

In 2017, Konami announced that they would be reviving some of the company's other well-known video game titles following the success of their Nintendo Switch launch title Super Bomberman R.[35][unreliable source?]

In early 2020, Konami moved their headquarters to the Ginza district of Tokyo, which includes a facility for holding esports events as well as a school for esports players.[36]

Konami Digital Entertainment's North American headquarters in Hawthorne, California

Konami announced a major restructuring of Konami Digital Entertainment on 25 January 2021, which including the dissolution of its Product Divisions 1, 2, and 3 to be reconsolidated into a new structure to be announced at a later time. Konami affirmed this would not affect their commitment to video games and was only an internal restructuring.[37] On 1 July 2022 Konami changed their corporate name again from Konami Holdings Corporation to Konami Group Corporation.[34][non-primary source needed]

In April 2023, Konami announced that it has opened a new studio in Osaka, Japan. The new offices, located in the Umeda Sky Building south building, will support the developer in its efforts both grow and endure over the coming decades. Konami suggested that the new building would be a core entity in the studio's current and future projects, noting that it hopes Konami Osaka will encourage "sustainable growth" over the next 50 years.[38]

In February 2024, Konami Digital Entertainment announced the establishment of its own anime studio called Konami Animation. The studio will invest the CG technology and know-how it fostered from game development into animation, and it plans not only to work on Konami's own intellectual properties but in other properties as well. Its first work was a PV for Yu-Gi-Oh! 25th anniversary.[39]

Corporate structure

Japan

Konami Digital Entertainment booth at Taipei Game Show 2017
Konami Sports Club in Toyohashi. Konami Sports & Life operates fitness clubs across Japan.

Australia

America

Konami America booth at E3 2006

Europe

Asia

On 7 November 2005, Konami Corporation announced restructuring Konami Corporation into a holding company, by moving its Japanese Digital Entertainment Business segment under Konami Corporation. The Digital Entertainment Business became Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. The newly established Konami Corporation was expected to begin operation on 31 March 2006.[49]

Konami Digital Entertainment

Konami Digital Entertainment
Native name
株式会社コナミデジタルエンタテインメント
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
Publishing
FoundedMarch 31, 2006; 18 years ago (2006-03-31)
Headquarters,
ParentKonami
SubsidiariesKonami Animation
Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.
Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH
Konami Digital Entertainment Limited
KME Co., Ltd
Paseli Charger

Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. (株式会社コナミデジタルエンタテインメント, Kabushiki-gaisha Konami Dejitaru Entateinmento) is Konami's Japanese video game development and publishing division founded on 31 March 2006.[50] Before Konami Corporation had formally changed to a holding company in 2006, various forms of Konami Digital Entertainment companies had been established either as holding company or publisher. The last of the company, the Japan-based Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., was split from Konami Corporation during the holding company restructuring process.[51]

Subsidiaries

Technology

Main article: Fox Engine

Former subsidiaries

Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya, Inc. (KCEN), founded on 1 October 1996,[53] was dissolved along with Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe, Inc. (KCEK) in December 2002.[54]

On 16 December 2004, Konami Corporation announced Konami Online, Inc., Konami Computer Entertainment Studios, Inc., Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo, Inc. and Konami Computer Entertainment Japan, Inc. would merge into Konami Corporation, effective on 1 March 2005.[55][56]

On 22 February 2005, Konami Corporation announced Konami Media Entertainment, Inc. would merge into Konami Corporation, effective on 1 March 2005.[57] On 11 March 2005, Konami Corporation announced Konami Traumer, Inc would be merged back into Konami Corporation, effective on 1 June 2005.[58]

On 5 January 2006, Konami Corporation announced the merger of Konami Sports Corporation merged with its parent company, Konami Sports Life Corporation. The parent would be dissolved under the merger, and Konami Sports would become the wholly owned subsidiary of Konami Corporation after share exchange between KC and KS. After the share exchange, KS would be renamed Konami Sports & Life Co., Ltd.[59] On 28 February 2006, Konami Sports Corporation merged with its parent company, Konami Sports Life Corporation, and became Konami Sports Corporation.[60]

On 21 September 2010, Konami Corporation announced it has signed an agreement to acquire with Abilit Corporation via share exchange. After the transaction, Abilit Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of Konami Corporation, effective 1 January 2011.[61][62] On 1 January 2011, Abilit Corporation was renamed to Takasago Electric Industry Co., Ltd.[63] As part of the acquisition, Biz Share Corporation also became a subsidiary of Konami Corporation.

Megacyber Corporation

On 2 October 2006, Konami Corporation announced it had completed the acquisition of mobile phone content developer Megacyber Corporation.[64]

On 6 February 2007, Konami Corporation announced Megacyber Corporation to be merged into Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., with Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. being the surviving company, effective on 1 April 2007.[65]

Video games

Main article: List of Konami games

A Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine

Major titles by Konami include the action Castlevania series, the survival horror Silent Hill series, the action shooter Contra series, the platform adventure Ganbare Goemon series, the stealth action Metal Gear series, the role-playing Suikoden series, the Bemani rhythm game series (which includes Dance Dance Revolution, Beatmania IIDX, GuitarFreaks, DrumMania, and Pop'n Music, among others), Dancing with the Stars, the dating simulation Tokimeki Memorial series, and football simulation Pro Evolution Soccer.[66]

Konami produced its shoot 'em up arcade games such as Gradius, Life Force, Time Pilot, Gyruss, Parodius, Axelay, and TwinBee. Konami's games based on cartoon licenses, especially the Batman: The Animated Series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Animaniacs series, but other American productions like The Simpsons, Bucky O'Hare, G.I. Joe, X-Men, and The Goonies, and French comic Asterix all have seen release at some point in the past by Konami either on arcades and/or video game consoles.

Some cinematically styled franchises from Konami are Silent Hill survival horror franchise, and the Metal Gear series. Another successful franchise is Winning Eleven, the spiritual sequel to International Superstar Soccer. In Japan, it is known for the popular Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū series baseball series and the Zone of the Enders games. The company has picked up Saw from Brash Entertainment when the game's production had been suspended due to financial issues.[67]

Konami is known for its password, the Konami Code, which traditionally gives many power-ups in its games.

Film production

In 2006, Konami started producing films based on their franchises. Konami produced the Silent Hill film (released in 2006) and announced that they will produce a Metal Gear Solid film.[68] On 4 December 2020 Deadline reported that Oscar Isaac will star as Solid Snake in the adaptation, which is currently in development at Sony Pictures with Jordan Vogt-Roberts on board to direct.[69]

Personal computing

In 2020, Konami launched a PC gaming brand in Japan known as Arespear, which includes desktop computers, keyboards, and headsets (the last of which designed in collaboration with Konami's Bemani musicians).[70][71][72]

Controversies

Silent Hills and reduced video game development

See also: Silent Hills and P.T. (video game) § Legacy

Silent Hills, set to be the ninth installment of the Silent Hill video game series, was abruptly cancelled in April 2015 without explanation despite the critical acclaim and success of P.T., a playable teaser.[73][74] Hours after the announcement, Konami delisted itself from the New York Stock Exchange.[32]

Game co-director and writer Guillermo del Toro publicly criticized the cancellation as not making any sense and questioned what he described as a "scorched earth" approach to removing the trailer. Due to the experience, del Toro stated that he would never work on another video game.[75][76]

In 2015 Konami Digital Entertainment CEO Hideki Hayakawa announced that, with few exceptions, Konami would stop making console games and instead focus on the mobile gaming platform. The decision was heavily criticized by the video gaming community.[77][78][79][80][81][82] Konami UK community manager Graham Day soon after pushed back against the reporting that Konami would cease AAA game production, stating that he believed the root of the problem to be either a mistranslation or a misinterpretation of Hayakawa's remarks.[83]

Kojima Productions

Further information: Kojima Productions § Closure

On 3 March 2015, Konami announced they would be shifting focus away from individual studios, notably Kojima Productions. Internal sources claimed the restructure was due to a clash between Hideo Kojima and Konami.[84][85] References to Kojima were soon stripped from marketing material, and Kojima's position as an executive vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment was removed from the company's official listing of executives.[86]

Later that year, Konami's legal department barred Kojima from accepting the award for Best Action-Adventure for his work on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain at The Game Awards 2015. When announced during the event, the audience booed in disapproval of Konami's actions. Host Geoff Keighley expressed his disappointment in Konami's actions. After actor Kiefer Sutherland accepted the award in Kojima's stead, a choir sang "Quiet's Theme" from The Phantom Pain as a tribute to the absent Kojima.[87][88][89] Kojima left Konami several days afterwards, re-opening Kojima Productions as an independent company.

Treatment of employees and ex-employees

In August 2015, The Nikkei criticized Konami for its unethical treatment of employees.[90][91][92] In June 2017, The Nikkei further reported on Konami's continued clashes with Kojima Productions, preventing the studio's application for health insurance, as well as Konami's actions in making it difficult for former employees to get future jobs; they are notably forbidden from mentioning their work with Konami on their résumés.[93][94] Konami also started filing complaints against other game companies that hired ex-Konami employees, leading to an unspecified major game company warning its staff against doing so. A former employee of Konami stated: "If an ex-[Konami employee] is interviewed by the media, the company will send that person a letter through a legal representative, in some cases indicating that Konami is willing to take them to court"; they also pressured an ex-employee into closing their new business.[94]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ IPA: /kˈnɑːmi/ koh-NAH-mee, Japanese: [koꜜnami].

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Further reading