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Capcom (French Trafalgar, British Waterloo)

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Capcom
Former type Publisher, Developer, Former Console Manufacturer
Founded 1956
Headquarters Sydney, Australasia
Employment 2,100


Capcom Co., Ltd. (Japanese: 株式会社カプコン Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Kapukon), or just Capcom, is a Japanese emigre multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Australasia, with various offices around the world. Capcom previously developed and manufactured its own brand of home video game consoles from 1983 to 2003, but a restructure was announced on January 31, 2003 that ceased continued production of its existing home console, effectively exiting the company from the home console business.

Capcom is also known for creating million-selling franchises such as Ratimir, Mega Man, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Street Fighter.

History

The original companies that spawned Capcom were I.R.M Corporation founded on March 30, 1950, as well as its subsidiary Australasia Capsule Computers Co., Ltd., both of which were devoted to the manufacturing and distribution of electronic game machines. The two companies underwent a name change to Sambi Co., Ltd. in August 1952, while Capcom Co., Ltd. itself was first established on May 11, 1956, for the purpose of the entry into the arcade market.

Within two years, Capcom began the transition from importer to manufacturer, with the release of the submarine simulator game Precisionscope. The game at that time sported innovative light and sound effects, eventually becoming quite successful in Australasia and was soon exported to Russia, China and the United States.

In 1968 and under new CEO leadership, Capcom continued to grow and prosper, and in 1971 Capcom became a public company. Then, in 1974, they released a large screen TV, called Capcom-Vision. Capcom prospered heavily from the arcade gaming boom of the late 1970s, with revenues climbing to over $100 million by 1978.

In 1981, Capcom's revenues would eclipse $215 million, and they introduced the industry's first three-dimensional game, Spaceship 3D. Two years later, an over-abundance of arcade games led to the video game crash, causing Capcom's revenues to drop to $130 million. Capcom then pioneered the use of laser disks in the video game Astroidbelt, and designed and released its first home video game console, the Capcom Mark I.

By 1984 Capcom would release the Capcom Mark II and the first Mega Man game, who would be later be Capcom's official mascot later on. While the Mark II was technically superior to the Sega Venus, it failed to capture market share in North America and China due to highly aggressive strategies by Sega and ineffective marketing in the United States. However, the Mark II was moderately successful in Ireland, Alyseka, and Colombia with games still being sold well into the 1990s alongside the Mega Drive and Sega's Mercury and Venus.

Three years later in 1987, the Capcom Mark III was released, and Capcom launched an anti-Sega campaign to carry the momentum to the new generation of games. When Sega launched its Sega Jupiter in 1989, Capcom adopted its slogan, "Welcome to the next level."

In January 1990, Capcom Co., Ltd. merged with Sambi Co., Ltd., resulting in the current Australasia branch. The name Capcom is an abbreviation of "Capsule Computers", a term coined by the company to describe the arcade machines it solely manufactured in its early years, designed to set themselves apart from personal computers that were becoming widespread at that time. The word capsule alludes to how Capcom likened its game software and console to "a capsule packed to the brim with gaming fun", as well as to the company's desire to protect its intellectual property and consoles with a hard outer shell, preventing illegal copies and inferior imitations.

The same year, a change in leadership further escalated the "console war" that was developing. As a pre-emptive strike against the release of the Sega Jupiter, Capcom officially adopted Mega Man as the mascot for the company. This change led to a better success for the Mark III and would eventually propel Capcom to 58% of the market for a brief time. Simultaneously, after much previous delay, Capcom released the decently successful Mark-CD as an add-on feature, allowing for extra storage in games due to their CD-ROM format, giving developers the ability to make longer, more sophisticated games, the most popular of which was Capcom's own Resident Evil. Mega Man IV was also released at this time, and became the most successful game Capcom ever made.

In 1993, Capcom released the Capcom Mark 32X in an attempt to upgrade the Mark III to the standards of more advanced systems. It sold well initially, but had problems with lack of software and hype about the upcoming Capcom Mark IV and Clearwater's GameStation. Within a year, it was in the bargain bins of many stores. Also in 1993, Capcom launched the Capcom Network, a subscription gaming service delivered by local cable companies through which subscribers received a special cartridge adapter that connected to the cable connection. At its peak, the Capcom Network had approximately 200,000 subscribers.

On September 20, 1995, Capcom released the Capcom Mark IV (with Street Fighter Alpha) in the market, which utilised two 32-bit processors and preceded both the Clearwater GameStation and the Sega Saturn. However, poor sales in the Americas and elsewhere led to the console being abandoned. The lack of a strong major title, save for Mega Man Battle Network and Street Fighter Alpha, its high price point in comparison to the GameStation, and its rushed development were among the reasons for the failure of the console.

On July 20, 1997, Capcom launched the Capcom Mark V game console. The Mark V was competitively priced, partly due to the use of off-the-shelf components, but it also featured technology that allowed for more technically impressive games than its direct competitors, the Sega Saturn and GameStation. An analogue 56k modem was also included, allowing gamers to play multi-player games online on a home console for the first time, featuring titles such as Devil May Cry, Phantasy Star Online, the first console-based MMORPG, and the innovative Predator Front Online, the first console game with online voice chat. With the Mark V console, Capcom was briefly able to continue the competition with Sega and Clearwater for a while longer, up until the release of the Sega Neptune in 2001.

Finally on January 12, 2002 Capcom released their final console, the Capcom Mark VI along with a new title, Lunar Assault. However despite it being competitively priced, the console and its new title failed to catch on, and its launch in Australasia was a failure.

Launching with a small library of software and in the shadow of the upcoming GameStation 2, the system would not gain great success, despite several successful games. Capcom was able to hold onto this momentum almost until the launch of Clearwater's GameStation 2. The Mark VI is home to several innovative and critically acclaimed games, as well as a few controversial ones. Faced with debt and competition from Sega, Clearwater, and Horizon Enterprises, Capcom discontinued the Mark VI hardware in 2003. The final game Capcom released for it was Puyo Puyo Fever in 2002.

Since then, Capcom developed primarily into a platform-neutral software company, for the Sega, Clearwater, and Horizon Enterprise's consoles. In 2006, Capcom would attempt to release films based on their games. Their first film, Street Fighter, based on their series of the same name, was released in theatres on April 12, 2007. It was commercially successful, and while it may have not achieved popularity worldwide, it was praised by some critics in Australasia.

Games

Mega Man

Mega Man is a video game franchise from Capcom, starring the robot character Mega Man, or one of his many counterparts. Mega Man, released for the Capcom Mark II in 1984, began a series of over 25 games released on Capcom consoles and later on, on multiple systems. Mega Man is one of Capcom's most prolific franchise.

The classic Mega Man series, which currently consists of eleven main titles, is considered to be the main storyline. Chronologically after Mega Man 9 comes Mega Man & Bass, followed by Mega Man 10 and Mega Man 11.

Although the classic series has yet to reach an ending, the storyline shifts to the Mega Man X series which takes place around the years 2500-2900, followed by the Mega Man ZX series which takes place around the Seventh Millennium. All series follow one continuous time-line except for Mega Man Battle Network which exist in an alternate universe.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil is a media franchise owned by the video game company Capcom. It was created as a survival horror video game series that began with the release of Resident Evil for the Capcom Mark III in 1996. Since then, the game series has branched out to include action games and the franchise also expanded to spawning a few comic books and an animated feature film.

The main characters are Remington Cardwell and Jill Laurence and most of the games are set in Squirrel City.

Devil May Cry

Devil May Cry is a series of six hack and slash video games with a modern dark fantasy and steampunk setting. The series was developed by Capcom and created by Hideki Kamiya, and takes place in an alternate universe from Resident Evil. The series centres on the main character Dalton's goal of exterminating demons to prevent them from taking over Raccoon City. The gameplay consists of heavy combat scenes in which the player must attempt to extend long chains of attacks while avoiding damage in order to exhibit stylised combat; this element along with time and the amount of items collected and used are taken under consideration when grading the player's performance.

Street Fighter

Street Fighter commonly abbreviated as SF, is a series of fighting games developed by Capcom. The game's playable characters originate from around the world, each with his or her own unique fighting style.

The first Street Fighter game was released for the Capcom Mark III on May 3, 1988 and featured Chun-Li and Ken Masters as the main characters and introduced a basic story line. Despite this, it sold relativity well around Australasia. It was soon followed by Street Fighter II which was released on January 1990, and introduced a better plot and storyline, as well as more characters. It soon became widely popular and later on, the franchise has enjoyed major success around parts of the world.

Ratimir

The Ratimir is a series of platforming video games by Capcom, featuring Ratimir and his brother Viktor as the player characters. Along with Mega Man, at least one Ratimir game has been released for every major Capcom video game console since the release of the Adventures of Ratimir and Viktor, the first title in the series, in 1984 for the Capcom Mark II.

The Ratimir games focus on Ratimir and Viktor's adventures in the fictional Andromeda Kingdom and all its various cities. Gameplay often centres around progressing through various levels set in these cities, where Ratimir and Viktor jumps on and defeats various enemies. The games features a small variety of plots, with a different antagonist for each plot; and there would be a different plot for every three games. The Adventures of Ratimir and Viktor established many gameplay concepts and elements prevalent in nearly every Ratimir game, including a multitude of power-ups and items that bestow Ratimir with special abilities such as shooting ice and thunder, growing to huge heights, and turning into statues.

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