Konami Holdings Corporation, also known simply as Konami, is a Japanese entertainment and gaming conglomerate. Founded in 1969, Konami originated as a jukebox rental and repair business in Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan. The company is well known for popular games like the Suikoden, Castlevania, Contra, Dance Dance Revolution, Metal Gear, Pro Evolution Soccer and Silent Hill, among many others. On top of video games, Konami also manufactures a variety of popular slot machines and electronic casino games.
The name “Konami” comes from a combination of the original founders’ names; Kozuki, Nakama, and Miyasako. The company offers a diverse range of products and services through various industries including Digital Entertainment, Amusement, Gaming and Systems, and Health and Fitness.
Apart from its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, the company also has satellite offices in El Segundo, California, where it manages its video game business as well as Paradise, Nevada, where it manages its casino gaming business. As of March 2016, Konami owns 21 consolidated subsidiaries around the world.
Konami Slot Machines
History of Konami
Konami was founded on March 21, 1969 by Kagemasa Kozuki, but it wasn’t incorporated until March of 1973 as Konami Industry Co Ltd. As we touched on earlier, Kagemasa used to run the company solely as a jukebox rental and repair business in Osaka, Japan, but later transformed it into a manufacturer of amusement park machines for arcades.
The first coin-operated video game was released by Konami in 1978, and exportation of products to the United States started the following year in 1979. By May 1980, the company moved its headquarters to a newly constructed building in Osaka, Japan.
Konami of America Inc.
Konami began to achieve success with hit arcade games such as 1981’s Frogger, Scramble, and Super Cobra – many of which were licensed to other companies exclusively for stateside release, including Stern Electronics and Gremlin Industries. In November of 1982, Konami of America Inc was established in the United States.
During the same year, Konami expanded into both the PC and MSX game business. They began expanding their video game business into the home consumer market, following a brief stint releasing video games for Atari 2600 in the U.S. market.
Listings on Various Stock Exchanges and Konami Franchise
In October 1984, Konami was listed on the Second Section of the Osaka Securities Exchange. In 1985, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released. Several Konami franchises were established during this period on both platforms, as well as arcades, such as Gradius, Castlevania, Twin Bee, Ganbare Goemon, Contra, and Metal Gear.
In February 1988, Konami was listed on the Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and later in August it was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange. The games Konami created for Nintendo were a huge success, and this boosted the company’s earnings from $10 million in 1987 to approximately $300 million in 1991.
Company Changes Its Name
In June 2001 Konami Industry Co Ltd (as it was formerly known) legally changed its name to Konami Co Ltd. The company started supporting the 16-bit video game consoles during this period, starting with the Super Nintendo in 1990. This was followed by the PC Engine in 1991 and the Sega Genesis in 1992. In September 1992, the company again expanded into the Pachislot and Pachinko business, creating LCD games for Pachinko machines. The following year, in April 1993, the headquarters was moved to Minato-ku, Tokyo.
Konami Computer Entertainment (KCE)
In 1994, after the launch of Sega Saturn and PlayStation, Konami became a business divisional organization with the formation of various Konami Computer Entertainment (KCE) Subsidiaries, beginning with KCE Tokyo and KCE Osaka (which would be later known as KCE Studios) in April 1995. KCE Japan, later known as Kojima Productions, followed in April 1996.
The different KCE subsidiaries ended up creating different intellectual properties such as KCE Tokyo’s Silent Hill series and KCE Japan’s Metal Gear Solid series, which was a revival of the Metal Gear series on MSX.
In November 1996 U.S. holding company Konami Corporation of America and Konami Australia Pty Ltd were established. In 1997, Konami started producing rhythm games for arcades under the Bemani brand and branched off into the collectible card game business with the launch of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.
Health and Fitness Business
In January 2000, Konami became the first Japanese company to enter the world’s largest gaming machine market in the United States. During the same year (in July), the company changed its name from Konami Co Ltd to Konami Corporation.
As the company transitioned into the developing video games for the sixth-generation consoles, they also branched out into the health and fitness business. They began this transition with the acquisitions of People Co Ltd in February 2001 and Daiei Olympic Sports Club Inc, which both became Konami subsidiaries. In August 2001, Konami acquired capital in Hudson Soft Company, Limited, thereby making it an affiliated company.
In April 2002, Konami’s headquarters moved to the Marunouchi Building in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. In September of the same year it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. A year later it was added to the Nikkei Stock Average in October 2003.
On October 2, 2006, Konami Corporation announced it had completed the acquisition of Megacyber Corporation; a mobile phone content developer. The following year, on February 6, 2007, Konami Corporation again announced that Megacyber Corporation would be merged into Konami Digital Entertainment Co Ltd, with Konami Digital Entertainment Co, Ltd being the surviving company effective on April 1, 2007.
Konami Digital Entertainment Co Ltd (KDE)
In March 2006, Konami merged all their video game development divisions into a new subsidiary known as Konami Digital Entertainment Co Ltd (KDE), as the parent company, Konami Corporation shifted to a pure holding company. Before Konami Corporation formally became a holding company in 2006, various forms of Konami Digital Entertainment companies had been established either as a holding company or a publisher.
The last of the company, Japan-based Konami Digital Entertainment Co, Ltd, was split from Konami Corporation during the holding company restructuring process. The headquarters was once again moved to Tokyo Midtown in April 2007. In December 2011, KDE was selected as a recipient of a Thomson Reuters 2011 Top 100 Global Innovator Award. The following year, in March 2012, KDE absorbed Hudson Soft Company, Limited.
– Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH: European division, established on April 1, 2003.
– Konami Digital Entertainment Inc: North American division, established on October 13, 2003.
– Konami Digital Entertainment Limited: Hong Kong division, established in September 1994 as – Konami (Hong Kong) Limited. In March 2006, it was renamed to Konami Digital Entertainment Limited.
– Konami Digital Entertainment Co, Ltd: Japanese division, established on March 31, 2006.
KME CO., Ltd (KME Corporation): music division established on October 1, 2010.
Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya Inc (KCEN) was founded on October 1, 1996 and was later dissolved together with Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe Inc (KCEK), in December 2002.
On December 16, 2004, Konami Corporation announced that Konami Online Inc, Konami Computer Entertainment Studios Inc, Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo Inc, and Konami Computer Entertainment Japan Inc would merge into Konami Corporation, effective on March 1, 2005.
On February 22, 2005, Konami Corporation announced Konami Media Entertainment Inc would merge into Konami Corporation, effective on March 1, 2005. Days later on March 11, Konami Corporation announced that Konami Traumer Inc would be merged back into Konami Corporation, effective on June 1, 2005.
On January 5, 2006, Konami Corporation announced the merger of Konami Sports Corporation merged with its parent company, Konami Sports Life Corporation. The parent would be dissolved under the merger and Konami Sports would become the wholly owned subsidiary of Konami Corporation after share exchange between KC and KS. After the share exchange, KS would be renamed Konami Sports & Life Co, Ltd. On February 28, 2006, Konami Sports Corporation merged with its parent company, Konami Sports Life Corporation, and became Konami Sports Corporation.
On September 21, 2010, Konami Corporation announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire with Abilit Corporation via share exchange. Upon the completion of the transaction, Abilit Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of Konami Corporation, effective January 1, 2011. On this day, Abilit Corporation was renamed to Takasago Electric Industry Co, Ltd. As part of the acquisition, Biz Share Corporation also became a subsidiary of Konami Corporation.
With the acquisition of video game developer, Hudson Soft, in August 2001 Limited, and the absorption on Hudson Soft in 2012, several other franchises were added, which includes Adventure Island, Bonk, Bloody Roar, Bomberman, Far East of Eden, and Star Soldier.
Below we have listed the current corporate structure of Konami based on countries/regions:
– Konami Holdings Corporation
– Konami Digital Entertainment Co, Ltd
– Konami Sports & Life Co, Ltd
– Konami Amusement Co, Ltd
– Konami Real Estate Inc
– KPE Inc
– Konami Manufacturing and Service Inc
– Konami Facility Service Inc
– KME Co, Ltd
– Takasago Electric Industry Co, Ltd
– Hudson Soft Company, Limited
– DIGITAL GOLF Inc: On January 20, 2011, Konami Corporation announced the acquisition of DIGITAL GOLF Inc via share exchange. DIGITAL GOLF would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Konami Corporation. The exchange became effective on March 1, 2011.
– Internet Revolution Inc
– Biz Share Corporation
– Combi Wellness Corporation
– THE CLUB AT YEBISU GARDEN CO, LTD
– Konami Holdings Corporation
– Konami Australia Pty Ltd (established in 1996)
– Konami Corporation of America: Current U.S. – based holding company
– Konami Digital Entertainment, In.: Former American holding company, formerly Konami of America Inc, Konami Corporation of America. On October 13, 2003, Konami Corporation of Redwood City, California, said that it was expanding its operations to El Segundo, California, under the new name of Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. The Redwood City operations have since been consolidated to El Segundo in 2007.
– Konami Gaming Inc in Paradise, Nevada.
– Konami Digital Entertainment B.V.: Current European – based holding company.
– Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH: Former holding company Europe, used to be known as Konami Limited, Konami Corporation of Europe B.V. On March 31, 2003, Konami of Europe announced it would be renamed as Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH at the start of Konami’s new financial year April 1, 2003.
– Konami Digital Entertainment Limited, established in September 1994 as Konami Hong Kong Limited. – Korea and Singapore divisions were established in October 2000. In June 2001, the company changed its name to Konami Marketing (ASIA) Ltd. In March 2006, the company was again renamed Konami Digital Entertainment Limited.
– Konami Software Shanghai Inc was established in June 2000.
– Konami Digital Entertainment Co was a South Korea – based game producer and distributor, originally established as the Korea branch of Konami Digital Entertainment Limited. On May 1, 2008, it became a separate company and inherited the existing operations of the former Korea branch in June 2008.
Konami has major titles including the vampire – hunting side-scroller Castlevania series, the survival horror, Silent Hill series, the action/shooter, Contra series, the platform/adventure, Ganbare Goemon series, the espionage action, Metal Gear series, the console role-playing Suikoden series, the music-oriented Bemani series (which includes Dance Dance Revolution, Beatmania IIDX, GuitarFreaks, DrumMania, among others), Dancing with the Stars, the dation simulation, Tokimeki Memorial series, and football simulation Pro Evolution Soccer.
The company has also produced its shoot ‘em up arcade games such as Gradius, Life Force, Time Pilot, Gyruss, Parodius, Axelay, and TwinBee. Konami’s games based on cartoon licenses, especially the Batman: The Animated Series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animaniacs, and the Tiny Toon Adventures series, but there have been other productions from America like The Simpsons, Bucky O’Hare, G.I. Joe, X-Men, and The Goonies, as well as the French comic, Asterix. These have been released at some point in the past by Konami, either on arcades and/or video game consoles.
Recent cinematically styled franchises from Konami are the continuing Silent Hill survival horror franchise, and the Metal Gear series, which underwent a public renaissance with Metal Gear Solid. Another successful franchise is Winning Eleven, the spiritual sequel to International Superstar Soccer, which is really popular in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Europe, where it is sold by the name Pro Evolution Soccer.
In Japan, it is known for the extremely popular Jikkyo Powerful Pro Yakyu series baseball series and the Zone of the Enders games. The company recently picked up Saw from Brash Entertainment, when the game’s production had been suspended due to financial issues.
Konami is known for its password, the Konami Code, which traditionally gives may power-ups in its games.
Controversy and Criticism
Konami has faced different criticisms and backlash for some of its actions as regards it games and actions. Silent Hills, set to be the ninth installment of the Silent Hill franchise, was abruptly canceled on April 2015, without explanations given, despite the critical acclaim and success of P.T., a playable teaser. Hours after the announcement, Konami delisted itself from the New York Stock Exchange.
Reacting to this, Guillermo del Toro, Game co-director, and writer, publicly criticized the cancellation, saying that it made no sense and questioned what he described as a “scorched earth” approach to removing the trailer. Because of this, Guillermo stated that he would never work on another video game.
In a translated interview with Nikkei Trendy Net published in the following month in May, the newly appointed CEO of Konami Digital Entertainment, Hideki Hayakawa, announced that Konami will shift their focus towards mobile gaming for a while, claiming that, “Mobile is where the future of gaming lies.
On March 3, 2015, Konami announced that focus would be shifted away from individual studios, notably Kojima Productions. Sources on the inside claimed the restructuring was due to a clash between Hideo Kojima and Konami. References to Hideo Kojima were soon stripped from marketing material, and Kojima’s position as an Executive Vice President of Konami Digital Entertainment was removed from the company’s official listing of executives.
Later that year, the legal department of Konami prevented Hideo Kojima from accepting Best Action-Adventure for his work on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain at The Game Awards 2015. This act was booed at the event, in disapproval of Konami’s actions. After actor Kiefer Sutherland accepted the award on behalf of Kojima, the choir played Quiet’s Theme from the Phantom Pain, a tribute to the absent Kojima. Hideo Kojima left Konami several days after to reopen Kojima Productions as an independent company.
Metal Gear Solid V
Konami was widely criticized for distributing the PC retail release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain with a disc containing an 8 MB Steam installer, leaving the player to download the 28GB of game content.
In June 2012, Takuya Kozuki assumed the position of President and Representative Director of Konami Corporation. In October 2015, Konami Corporations changed its name to Konami Holding Corporation.
In 2017, Konami is to publicly announce that they would be reviving some of the company’s other well-known video game titles following the success of their Nintendo Switch launch title Super Bomberman R.