Japanese gaming giant Konami at a crossroads – Axios

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Image: Konami Digital Entertainment
Some unusual new game releases from Konami highlight the strange state of one of gaming's most legendary companies.
Why it matters: Konami was once as revered as Capcom, Sega, Square, Nintendo and other Japanese game-makers, but it has drifted into other businesses and lost the confidence of many players, particularly in the West, who are no longer quite clear what it stands for.
Driving the news: A pair of new releases (and perhaps a third heavily rumored one) are putting Konami back in the spotlight.
That’s a lot for a company that was once known for a steady, nearly annual flow of releases in its acclaimed “Metal Gear,” “Castlevania” and “Pro Evolution Soccer” series but has drastically slowed down.
What they’re saying: “I’m not in a position to comment on the company’s business, but in general, it is very challenging to release the main titles of a long-term series on a regular basis,” “Grimoire of Souls” director Yota Tsutsumizaki told Axios via a translated email interview.
The big picture: Konami may not be producing the types of games it did before, but it remains a profitable enterprise.
What’s next: Tsutsumizaki’s previous project was 2018’s “Metal Gear Survive,” which compelled us to ask if that series’ hero, Solid Snake, might show up “Grimoire of Souls.”
Image: Nintendo
Nintendo interrupted one of its semiannual Nintendo Direct gaming showcases today to tease plans for its upcoming animated Super Mario movie.
Why it matters: Nintendo’s movie hype, just like its recently opened theme park in Tokyo, is part of its expansion beyond gaming.
Image courtesy of Nintendo
Nintendo Switch Online is expanding with N64 and Sega Genesis games as part of an additional membership called Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.
Why it matters: The new tier is likely to cost more than the existing membership, making access to older games even more expensive.
Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

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