Exclusive: Capcom builds fan trust
Here’s a shout-out to our friends at Capcom, an entertainment company that functions at the cross-roads where “Fans” and “Trust” meet. This weekend, Capcom did a stealth relaunch of Capcom Unity’s community destination.
Talking exclusively to FanTrust, Capcom Corporate Officer/ Vice-President – Strategic Planning & Business Development Christian Svensson said, “The feedback is largely positive. No other video game publisher has gone this far synching up fan activity.” Designed to let fans take their Capcom ID on the road, play across multiple devices and communicate across multiple user accounts, the new community hub has been in the works for about a year and sets the stage for the next level of fan engagement. “A lot of this is a very un-Japanese approach,” says Christian who notes that the global company with Japanese HQ had to push the limits of corporate culture for a deeper engagement with fan culture.
The new community site enables media sharing (which along with search is not yet fully developed) and received about 5000 uploads in the first 48 hours. In the past, says Christian, “fans fostered community in spite of Capcom’s inability to support them. Our goal now is to enable fans in all ways up to the point of making money.”
Evidently even that rule is meant to be broken. Capcom helped one die-hard fan of Mega Man monetize a music tribute to his favorite game, signed him for a Comic-Con appearance and gave him a license deal. The Philadelphia-bred rapper Raheem Jarbo, known to indie-hop fans as Random, was recently interviewed by Wired’s music blog, The Listening Post, about the love for Mega Man that inspired his Mega Ran album, and praised Capcom’s policy of encouraging fan content, instead of sending in the lawyers.
Looking ahead, fans can expect more from Capcom, everything from improved search within the community hub to what Christian calls “the most robust digital distribution strategy in the PC space, with up to 150 sites carrying our stuff.” And next month look out for what he promises will be the “world’s largest global digital launch” for the game 1942, when this classic shooter returns with better planes, bigger bosses and even sicker weapons.
At this point it is still hard for the company, which has inspired about 25 active niche communities, to ascertain what comes first, the strength of a game brand or the strength of a game community. But coming soon, says Christian, are some “explosive new products where the community will be the force directly attributed to their success.”
What’s Christian’s take on Fans and Trust? “Trust is the foundation of interaction. The more voice fans feel they have early on, the more they trust us. Trust is a funny thing… it’s not easily earned, but it’s easily lost.”
Thanks, Christian, FanTrust couldn’t have said it better.