March 29, 2009 // 1:53 pm
- If Valve is the anti-PS3, then meet the slightly less but ultimately anti-360 developer. Konami has been making the rounds lately with their teasing announcement of the next Metal Gear Solid.
The rumors have already begun flying on whether the game will focus solely on Raiden or if it will be set between the main games of the series. In short, it's doing just what every MGS game has done before and it hasn't even been revealed yet.
Though it wasn't blatantly spelled out, it's most definite that the company will continue providing their most A-list titles to consoles other than the 360. Looking at development history and recent financial earnings besides looking up past fiscal reports, it's not too hard to predict the unlikeliness of Metal Gear Solid 5 (working title) ever coming to the 360.
Konami's Consolidated Financial Reports for the 2nd Quarter of 2009 (from April to September 2008) are optimistic but it's the projected 2009 forecast that's most interesting. The company reported 330 billion yen in net revenues with about 38% of their total sales coming from the PS3 and a measly 3% from the Xbox 360.
The reason for this is obvious: Metal Gear Solid 4, released exclusively for the PS3. An MGS title released only on the PS3 accounts for the lion's share of the company's earnings. So hasn't history clearly demonstrated that Konami can release the MGS5 for a single console and gain more revenue per units manufactured?
"But there's a first time for everything, right?" would be the typical response. Why don't they just release the next MGS in countries outside of Japan like Square-Enix is doing for Final Fantasy XIII? Konami has stated it before for MGS4, that this kind of game is only possible on the PS3 with the power of Blu-ray.
Is there an audience for Metal Gear Solid titles on the 360? Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was released originally for the Xbox but quickly made it's way to the PC and PS2 - a trend Konami didn't repeat with MGS3: Subsistence.
People can argue that it's not necessarily because of financial failure, but that's just diverting from the main topic which is: Konami has not released a single canonical Metal Gear Solid title for any console other than the PS2 and PS3 after Substance.
Even non-canon games like Metal Gear Ac!d and Portable Ops are exclusive to the PSP. Hell, the Nintendo Gamecube got a remake of MGS1 with Twin Snakes. The Xbox and subsequently the 360 got nothing.
But this policy is not simply limited to the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Konami has always released it's best titles on consoles besides Microsoft's. The DS had Lunar Knights, Suikoden Tierkries and the Castlevania games. The PS2 had Zone of the Enders, Suikoden, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness.
The PS3 has Metal Gear Online and Metal Gear Solid 4. The last Konami game on the 360 to receive great coverage was Silent Hill: Homecoming...and that was a multiplatform title. The less said about Rumble Roses XX and Bomberman: Act Zero, the better.
It's not simply that Konami has had better luck on other consoles. "Luck" completely undermines the amount of support and core audience they developed in Japan for Sony's consoles through the release of titles like Winning Eleven and Dance Dance Revolution.
Titles that, despite coming to Microsoft's consoles outside of Japan, enjoy their most dedicated support and revenue from their home region. Some may scoff at the thought of DDR maniacs immediately partaking in MGS, but that's not the point.
The point is: Konami stayed loyal to a user base and with this new generation, where other seasoned devs are scrambling to find their bearings amongst mergers and multi-platform releases, that loyal base is carrying them through. The immense support shown for the PS2, PS3, DS and PSP is paying them back in spades.
Konami knows that it's too risky to begin cultivating a 360 audience at this point when it can rely on its older guns and profit more. As much as people will speculate, Metal Gear Solid 5 or any MGS title coming to the 360 in the future is highly unlikely, if not near impossible.