Capcom crowed that it had shipped 4.5 million copies of Resident Evil 6 in October, but from the sound of things the company has struggled to translate those sales to retail outlets into actual game sales.
The publisher has over-promised and under-delivered on global sales forecasts in the past. In fiscal 2010, Capcom predicted that it would sell 2.2 million copies of Lost Planet 2, but the game sold so poorly that it was forced to downgrade its profit forecast by 41 percent. The year before, Capcomís financial performance predicted 1.5 million in sales for Bionic Commando and 2 million copies for Dark Void, which in reality sold just 700,000 and 520,000 copies as a result. Capcom blamed the performance of those titles on handing new intellectual properties to Western developers (GRIN and Airtight Games respectively), swearing that only established franchises would be developed by non-Capcom studios in the future.
The risks of releasing didnít damn those games, though. Resident Evil 6 is a sequel to one of the most successful franchises in video game history. Capcom needs to recognize that its every one of its major failures in recent years was caused by marketing-focused development. Capcom shifted away from taking creative risks like funding internal studios like Clover (Viewtiful Joe, Okami) during the past console generation and invested instead in trying to cater to establish tastes. As a result it drove away its best creators and was left with half-baked sequels to moldering IPs. Itís maintained a stable domestic business in Japan with portable games like Monster Hunter and Ace Attorney, but its international business continues to decline.
Capcomís current plans are to expand even further into the international market. Thatís all well and good, but unless Capcom can recapture the creative spirit that defined the company in the years before this console generation, it will continue to watch its games fail, just like Resident Evil 6.