Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill creator, Hideo Kojima's separation from Konami has been a slow one. A departure that has gotten weirder and weirder as time goes on. He finally left the studio for good last Friday, but Konami states he still works there and is just on a post-launch vacation. This isn't overly unheard of though, as his non-compete contract doesn't lapse until the end of December. (I've seen some weird, legalese crap happen after the launch of a game first hand. Studio life can be rough.) So regardless of whether he works at the studio or not, he can't get started on any new projects for some time. But Kojima's soured relationship with his home studio isn't just strange happen-stance. It reflects a changing market in Japanese games.
The console gaming market in Japan has been on a steady decline since 2006. With the availability of smart phones, and the relatively cheap cost to develop games that then yield billions in profits, more and more major studios are beginning to ditch high cost, major budget console games. While Kojima's critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain boasts launch day numbers that blew blockbuster movie sales numbers out of the water, it was a long and expensive process to make such a massive and well polished game. Studios like Konami are starting to move further and further away from the high risk and rarely high reward scenarios that big budget games bring with them. While fans of gaming view it as a bad move (myself included), from a business standpoint it does make a fair deal of sense. But where most studios use mobile games the same way movie studios use sure-fire fluff movies to make enough money to back riskier projects, Konami seems to be aiming towards all fluff and no substance. That could very well be the nail that seals their coffin for good. We gamers are a fickle bunch that don't much care for those that don't appreciate the art of the medium.
Source: The New Yorker