Codex Gamicus

Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of multi-million-selling game franchises, with its most commercially successful being Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Devil May Cry, Dead Rising, and Marvel vs. Capcom. Established in 1979, it has become an international enterprise with subsidiaries in Asia, Europe, and North America.

The Beginning (1979-1989)[]

Capcom's predecessor, I.R.M. Corporation, was founded on May 30, 1979 by Kenzo Tsujimoto, who was still president of Irem Corporation when he founded I.R.M. He worked concomitantly in both companies until leaving the former in 1983.

The original companies that spawned Capcom's Japan branch were I.R.M. and its subsidiary Japan Capsule Computers Co., Ltd., both of which were devoted to the manufacture and distribution of electronic game machines. The two companies underwent a name change to Sanbi Co., Ltd. in September 1981. On June 11, 1983, Tsujimoto established Capcom Co., Ltd. for the purpose of taking over the internal sales department.

In January 1989, Capcom Co., Ltd. merged with Sanbi Co., Ltd., resulting in the current Japan branch. The name Capcom is a clipped compound of "Capsule Computers", a term coined by the company for the arcade machines it solely manufactured in its early years, designed to set themselves apart from personal computers that were becoming widespread. "Capsule" alludes to how Capcom likened its game software to "a capsule packed to the brim with gaming fun", and to the company's desire to protect its intellectual property with a hard outer shell, preventing illegal copies and inferior imitations.

Capcom's first product was the coin-operated arcade game Little League (1983). It released its first real arcade video game, Vulgus (May 1984). Starting with the arcade hit 1942 (1984), they began designing games with international markets in mind. The successful 1985 arcade games Commando and Ghosts 'n Goblins have been credited as the products "that shot [Capcom] to 8-bit silicon stardom" in the mid-1980s. Starting with Commando (late 1985), Capcom began licensing their arcade games for release on home computers, notably to British software houses Elite Systems and U.S. Gold in the late 1980s.

Beginning with a Nintendo Entertainment System port of 1942 (published in Dec. 1985), the company ventured into the market of home console video games, which would eventually become its main business. The Capcom USA division had a brief stint in the late 1980s as a video game publisher for Commodore 64 and IBM PC DOS computers, although development of these arcade ports was handled by other companies.

Moving to Home Consoles and Making Million Dollar Franchises (1990-2011)[]

Capcom went on to create 15 multi-million-selling home video game franchises, with the best-selling being Resident Evil (1996). Their highest-grossing is the fighting game Street Fighter II (1991), driven largely by its success in arcades.

Capcom has been noted as the last major publisher to be committed to 2D games, though it was not entirely by choice. The company's commitment to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as its platform of choice caused them to lag behind other leading publishers in developing 3D-capable arcade boards. Also, the 2D animated cartoon-style graphics seen in games such as Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors and X-Men: Children of the Atom proved popular, leading Capcom to adopt them as a signature style and use them in more games.

In 1990, Capcom entered the bowling industry with Bowlingo. It was a coin-operated, electro-mechanical, fully automated mini ten-pin bowling installation. It was smaller than a standard bowling alley, designed to be smaller and cheaper for amusement arcades. Bowlingo drew significant earnings in North America upon release in 1990.

In 1994, Capcom adapted its Street Fighter series of fighting games into a film of the same name. While commercially successful, it was critically panned. A 2002 adaptation of its Resident Evil series faced similar criticism but was also successful in theaters. The company sees films as a way to build sales for its video games.

Capcom partnered with Nyu Media in 2011 to publish and distribute the Japanese independent (dōjin soft) games that Nyu localized into the English language. The company works with the Polish localization company QLOC to port Capcom's games to other platforms; notably examples are DmC: Devil May Cry's PC version and its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One remasters, Dragon's Dogma's PC version and Dead Rising's version on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Controversies and Court Cases (2012-2014)[]

In 2012, Capcom came under criticism for controversial sales tactics, such as the implementation of disc-locked content, which requires players to pay for additional content that is already available within the game's files, most notably in Street Fighter X Tekken. The company defended the practice. It has also been criticized for other business decisions, such as not releasing certain games outside of Japan (most notably the Sengoku Basara series), abruptly cancelling anticipated projects (most notably Mega Man Legends 3), and shutting down Clover Studio.

On August 27, 2014, Capcom filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Koei Tecmo Games at the Osaka District Court for 980 million yen in damage. Capcom claimed Koei Tecmo infringed a patent it obtained in 2002 regarding a play feature in video games.

Hackers Blackmail Capcom and Threaten to Take Corporate Data (2020-2020)[]

On 2 November 2020, the company reported that its servers were affected by ransomware, scrambling its data, and the threat actors, the Ragnar Locker hacker group, had allegedly stolen 1TB of sensitive corporate data and were blackmailing Capcom to pay them to remove the ransomware. By mid-November, the group began putting information from the hack online, which included contact information for up to 350,000 of the company's employees and partners, as well as plans for upcoming games, indicating that Capcom opted to not pay the group. Capcom affirmed that no credit-card or other sensitive financial information was obtained in the hack.

More Controversies Pointed at Capcom (2021-2021)[]

Artist and author Judy A. Juracek filed a lawsuit in June 2021 against Capcom for copyright infringement. In the court filings, she asserted Capcom had used images from her 1996 book Surfaces in their cover art and other assets for Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry and other games. This was discovered due to the 2020 Capcom data breach, with several files and images matching those that were included within the book's companion CD-ROM. The court filings noted one image file of a metal surface, named ME0009 in Capcom's files, to have the same exact name on the book's CD-ROM. Juracek was seeking over $12 million in damages and $2,500 to $25,000 in false copyright management for each photograph Capcom used. Before a court date could be made, the matter was settled "amicably" in February 2022. It comes on the heels of Capcom being accused by Dutch movie director Richard Raaphorst of copying the monster design of his movie Frankenstein's Army into their game Resident Evil Village.

The Future Ahead (2022-Present)[]

In February 2022, it was reported by Bloomberg that Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund had purchased a 5% stake in Capcom, for an approximate value of $332 USD million.

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