Yoshiki Okamoto (above right) is one clever dude. Not only was the brains behind one of the most iconic video games ever, Street Fighter II, but he also predicted the trend of mobile gaming. Give this man a robe, crystal ball and a caravan and we’ve got a theme-park attraction on our hands.
Following Okamoto’s 12 years with Capcom, the veteran game designer decided to make his own independent studio, Game Republic, but he has since moved on to working with Japanese social messaging service Mixi on Monster Strike, a quirky combination of billiards and Pokemon. And he says he’d put it up against anything on consoles.
“Pick out a PlayStation 4 game, and bring them both in front of people and say, which was the most fun? Which provided the most excitement? Which was the most exhilarating? Which one are you going to come back to immediately? I’m 100 percent confident that this game will actually win over a lot of the console games.”
Okamoto’s views are warranted, as mobile gaming has seen a massive boost in recent years, with revenues from smartphone and tablet titles set to reach $25bn in 2014, up 42% on 2013, and $30.3bn in 2015, according to games market research company Newzoo. Downloadable mobile games, such as Clash of the Clans, or quick-to-play online mobile games, much like online casino gaming, are on the rise, with higher average spend per paying mobile gamer increasing, and the number of players growing rapidly.
Okamoto says he’s always been ahead of the curve in believing that mobile devices are the future. Not always in a good way. “I have been working without a PC or a computer for about 12 or 13 years,” he said.
Right around the time he left Capcom and founded Game Republic, he decided to just stop using PCs altogether. “I was commuting by shinkansen a lot,” he said. He’d use his phone for so much business communication and gaming while on the bullet train, and he believed that mobile phones were getting so amazing and convenient that they were sure to destroy the PC market.
“I do feel that maybe i was a little too early for that time, because feature phones never made it outside of Japan. But i know that the future is in the mobile phone market, so that’s where I’m headed,” he added.
Monster Strike’s producer, Koki Kimura, a man who has worked closely with Okamoto, echoed that view.
“To come up with something brand new out of nowhere is not something that the console market, that developers, can even challenge themselves to do these days. Yes, it is true that the money is flowing into our market. That gives us increasing opportunities to try something new.”