Konami Holdings Corporation (コナミ株式会社, Konami kabushiki gaisha) is a Japanese entertainment and gambling conglomerate, mainly operating as a product distributor, video game developer, and publisher.
Originally founded as a jukebox rental and repair service, the company has since become known for their multiple video game franchises including Metal Gear, Castlevania, Frogger, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Silent Hill, Gradius, The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, and Suikoden. Konami is also in ownership of Bemani (creators of Beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution) and the assets from the now-defunct Hudson Soft (creators of Bomberman, Bloody Roar, and Bonk).
Konami was founded on March 21, 1969 by Kagemasa Kōzuki originally as a jukebox repair and rental service in Toyonaka, Osaka. It wouldn't be until the 70's when the company shifted its focus to manufacturing arcade cabinets. Originally nameless, the company became legally known as Konami Industry Co., Ltd. following its transition to the games industry; the name "Konami" is a portmanteau of the surnames of the founder and the two first game creators for the company (Kōzuki, Yoshinobu Nakama, and Tatsuo Miyasako).
Konami wouldn't find its success in gaming until 1981 with the release of Frogger, Scramble, and Super Cobra. The company would go on to expand in their video game ventures a year later with the establishment of their States-side subsidiary, Konami of America Inc. As the 80's went on, the company began developing and publishing games for multiple consoles including the Atari 2600, the MSX computer, and the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was during this period that many of its core franchises made their proper debut such as Metal Gear, Castlevania, Gradius, The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Contra, and Twin Bee. As the games increased in popularity, Konami's revenue increased from $10 million in 1987 to $300 million in 1991. Their popularity would continue through the 16-bit era with their releases transitioning to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the PC Engine, and the Sega Genesis.
In 1994, following the releases of the Sega Saturn and the PlayStation, Konami began forming several subsidiaries under the name Konami Computer Entertainment, starting with KCE Tokyo and KCE Osaka (later renamed to KCE Studios) in April 1995 and KCE Japan (which would go on to become Kojima Productions) in April 1996. Each subsidiary would go on to create new intellectual properties for the greater company, such as KCE Tokyo's Silent Hill series and KCE Japan's Metal Gear Solid series. A rhythm and music game division brand named Bemani was created in 1997, who would later be known for the Dance Dance Revolution and Beatmania series. In the same year, Konami entered the card game business with the creation of Yu-Gi-Oh!.
In 2000, Konami acquired toy company People Co., Ltd. and fitness center chain Daiei Olympic Sports Club, Inc. in an effort to enter the health and fitness business. In 2001, Konami began investing in another games publisher, Hudson Soft (creators of Bomberman, Bonk, Bloody Roar, and Far East of Eden), which would later become another subsidiary to the company in 2012. In 2006, all KCE divisions were merged into one whole subsidiary under the new name Konami Digital Entertainment Co. (KDE), with the new headquarters being relocated to Minato, Toko in 2007. The greater company eventually transitioned into a pure holding company.
2015 proved to be a rather controversial year for Konami. In March, the company announced an internal restructure by shifting away its focus from individual studios, most notably Kojima Productions. Sources later reported that Konami had been clashing with the studio's head Hideo Kojima. This resulted in his name being removed from promotional material for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, as well as him being removed from his position as an executive vice president of KDE. It was eventually revealed in 2017 that Konami's actions had prevented the team to gain health insurance or the ability to secure future jobs as they were forbidden to mention their work in Konami in their resumes; furthermore, the company would send complaints against other game companies that would hire any of its former employees. A month later, Konami de-listed itself from the New York Stock Exchange and changed its name to Konami Holdings Corporation, which came hours after its abrupt cancellation of Silent Hills, the highly anticipated ninth installment of the Silent Hill series following the release of its critically acclaimed demo P.T. The cancellation added more criticism and speculation towards the company's treatment towards Kojima and his team as they were attached to creating the project. Another month later, the then-newly appointed CEO of Konami, Hideki Hayakawa, announced that the company will be shifting its focus to mobile gaming stating "mobile is where the future of gaming lies", another decision that garnered further scrutiny for the company. All of this would eventually come to a head during The 2015 Game Awards, where host and good friend of Kojima's, Geoff Keighley, shared with the audience that Konami had prevented him from accepting any awards received for The Phantom Pain. Kojima would officially announce his leave from the company several days later and announced the return of Kojima Productions in 2016 as an independent company.
In 2017, Konami announced plans to revive some of its intellectual properties following the success of Super Bomberman R on the Nintendo Switch, doubling as somewhat of a comeback for the company to the console gaming market. In early 2020, the company's headquarters was relocated to the Ginza district of Tokyo, which doubles as a hosting facility for eSports events as well as a school for professional eSports players.
Involvement with Super Smash Bros.
Konami holds the unique distinction of being the first third-party company to receive representation in the Smash Bros. series. This began in Super Smash Bros. Brawl with the playable inclusion of Solid Snake, the protagonist of the Metal Gear series. Snake's inclusion was by request from his creator Hideo Kojima, who is a close personal friend of Masahiro Sakurai. He brings with him a stage based on Shadow Moses Island (which was designed by Kojima himself) from Metal Gear Solid, several music tracks, and cameos of different characters as Trophies and Stickers. Snake's allies, Otacon, Mei Ling, and Colonel Roy Campbell, also make an appearance in the Codec conversation Easter egg as well as antagonist Grey Fox, who is a summonable Assist Trophy.
Unfortunately, all Metal Gear content was removed for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (most likely for legal reasons) and wouldn't make a reappearance until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where Konami would gain much more prominent representation with the inclusion of Simon Belmont and his Echo Fighter Richter Belmont from Castlevania. They bring with them a stage based on Dracula's Castle, the Death's Scythe item, a new Assist Trophy being Alucard, and series antagonist Dracula being a boss in Classic Mode and in World of Light. In addition, the eponymous Bomberman also appears as another new Assist Trophy, and a DLC Mii Fighter costume based on Goemon from The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was released on September 4, 2019.
- Konami is the only third-party company to skip an installment.
- Konami is tied with Capcom and Sega for having the most fighters out of the other third-party companies, at three.
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