Capcom shares climb 6% as investors weigh mobile prospects

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) -Shares in Japanese video game company Capcom jumped 6% on Monday as gamers engaged with the mobile instalment of its long-running “Monster Hunter” franchise, developed with “Pokemon Go” maker Niantic.

“Monster Hunter Now”, which combines monster fighting action with the location-based gameplay of “Pokemon Go”, has been downloaded 5 million times since its Sept. 14 launch, Niantic said last week, without providing a detailed breakdown.

In Japan, where the “Monster Hunter” franchise has a loyal following, the new game is the top grossing app on Apple’s iOS, showed data from Sensor Tower, ahead of local favourites such as horse racing idol game “Uma Musume Pretty Darby” and manga app Piccoma.

“Monster Hunter Now” has received praise for translating the storied series for a mobile audience. However industry observers question if the title can replicate the success of “Pokemon Go”, which became a global phenomenon after it was released in 2016.

“From a global perspective when compared to a super brand like “Pokemon”, it is still niche,” said Serkan Toto, founder of consultancy Kantan Games.

Investors are weighing Capcom’s mobile prospects, with the company planning to bring titles from the “Resident Evil” franchise to high-end iPhones this year.

Sustained engagement with “Monster Hunter Now” would be a boost for Capcom, whose shares have gained a third this year supported by the strength of franchises such as “Street Fighter”.

It would also be welcome for Niantic, which in June announced redundancies and halted development of some titles after struggles to create new hits.

Japan has proved an attractive maket for location-based games, with “Dragon Quest Walk” a hit for gaming company Square Enix since its launch in 2019.

“It’s getting a little bit crowded in the genre,” said Toto.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Louise Heavens)