News Article

GungHo's CEO Wants To Surpass Nintendo's Sales By His Retirement

Posted by Damien McFerran

"I respect Nintendo"

GungHo Online Entertainment is one of Japan's rising stars, thanks largely to the amazing success of its iOS and Android title Puzzle & Dragons, which has been downloaded more than 14 millon times and generates $3.4 million a day in revenue.

When you're a growing company, it's natural to aim high — and GungHo CEO Kazuki Morishita has Nintendo in his sights.

Speaking to Bloomberg, 39-year-old Morishita said:

I want to top Nintendo’s sales by the time I retire. I want to make people think whatever GungHo does is fun. I respect Nintendo.

It's a lofty claim, but GungHo is a company which is on the up. Its revenue of 30.9 billion Yen (around $307 million) in the first three months of 2013 may only have been a third of Nintendo’s, but the company’s sales have grown nine times in the same space of time, while the Kyoto veteran's has only risen a single percent. Recently, GungHo's share value was higher than Nintendo's.

Ironically, Nintendo may indirectly help its upstart rival on the way to bigger things. GungHo is porting Puzzle & Dragons to the 3DS, and Morishita hopes to shift a million units on the console.

Do you think GungHo's CEO is simply trying to generate publicity by making bold claims, or could his company really top Nintendo? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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User Comments (57)



C7_ said:

It's a bold claim, but I really don't see why you claim that they are "rivals" in the article. He's a software developer in charge of developing small phone games, and right now Nintendo's focusing on shipping hardware using greater, more in-depth games. Sure, the game can be a fun pick-up-and-play game, but calling mobile phones and 3DS's rivals just isn't the case. People have proven they're willing to carry both. The fact that it's even being developed for 3DS proves they aren't rivals so it's kind of a silly word to use.

In any case this is just a media-grabbing statement, and if his game truly is amazing and not just mechanics slapped onto bejeweled then I wish him nothing but the best. I haven't played his game but It's good to see success and optimism in a world dominated by negative press.



DerpSandwich said:

It's going to be a sad day when mobile games are easier and more profitable than real games.

Oh wait, that already happened! This guy's one game at his one studio made a third of what Nintendo made across all platforms and software titles. The end is nigh...



BooJoh said:

Puzzle & Dragons is decent. I'd be slightly tempted to get it on 3DS just to play it without all the horrible nickel-and-diming and play-time cooldowns that plague the smartphone version (par for the course on mobile games,) but I'd probably pass because it's, as I said, merely "decent," nothing to write home about IMHO. And I'm not sure how well it'll sell on 3DS since many people will only see a game priced leagues higher than it is on mobile, and not think about the microtransactions in the mobile version.



Captain_Balko said:

Er... Sorry pal, ain't going to happen. It's fine to aim high and all, but I'm not sure if this guy realizes how much of a spec his company is compared to the big three... The mobile market is different than the console market. From what I understand, the mobile consumers are more fickle and less loyal (to software developers, not mobile companies, of course). This GungHo might have 'the next big thing' right now, but in ten years, I guarantee people will still be playing Zelda and Mario and have no idea what games GungHo made.



Sjoerd said:

Hmm. the vid was slightly disappointing. It could be a nice little game though,with some patching up. I really enjoyed that RPG X Puzzle game on DS, Anyone knows that one? I forgot its name..



Scollurio said:

LOL anyone else notice that he basicly stole all elements that are addicting from other games (puzzle quest, etrian odyssey, pokemon) and crammed them all into one game?



hYdeks said:

If he respects Nintendo so much, how come there games are on iOS and Android, and Ragnarok Odyssey was on Vita? I say he's full of sh**.



Kyloctopus said:

From what I played Puzzle and Dragons is fun and addicting. However, it must evolve through time if it doesn't want to be just a gaming fad.
@hydeks You don't have to support Nintendo to respect them. There are plenty of Playstation gamers that utterly respect Nintendo, yet would rather buy the Vita. I feel that same way for Sony.
Gung ho is releasing a Puzzle and Dragons for 3DS retail. And for all we know, they could have a few more unannounced titles for 3DS and Wii U retail.



Mk_II said:

If you believe he will succeed, i've got some Zynga shares to sell you. One succesful product does not make a Nintendo.



ikki5 said:

once Nintendo gets it's AAA titles, it's not gonna happen. once Zelda U comes out, it will sell more copies than dollars/day revenue.



devilwaffle said:

Gotta respect the guy is ambitious. Not only in his goals, but his game as well. Mixing puzzle and RPG into one game sounds pretty fantastic.



Kirk said:

$3.4 million a day.

Are you f'n serious?!

I've made around £333 in roughly a year with 3 games on iOS, Mac and PC.

God, I'm so jealous and angry!

It's just not fair!

PS. I'm calling it now. There's no chance this guy will sell more total games or make more total money than Nintendo.



rmeyer said:

How much did he profit? Because we all know he already spent 300 million on marketing. When you profit 3.7 million a day tell us



Slapshot said:

Great job at making GungHo Online Entertainment sound like a minor start-up company!

GungHo has been in business since 1998 and the company has developed titles (primarily Japanese) for the PlayStation 2, PSP, DS, Vita, Mobile and PC. The company runs multiple major MMOs: Ragnarok Online, Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, Grandia Online and Ragnarok DS.

Yes, Puzzle Dragons is doing very well for GungHo, but it is the Ragnarok series that has boosted GungHo into its position in the Japanese market.

I completely forgot that GungHo Online Entertainment owns Grasshopper Manufacture.



onex said:

Bah! I just downloaded this game of his on my phone. Honestly, I'm more "intrigued" by Candy Crush Saga than this tripe. Sure, it has decent presentation for a mobile game, but the gameplay itself is rather lackluster. Call me when he manages to make something other than "popcorn entertainment".



Mizzah_Tee said:

How? By making puzzle games? I understand that mobile games are lucrative now, but that bubble WILL burst...



RR529 said:

I wish good luck to him.

Also, if anything, this is a complement to Nintendo. It shows that he views Nintendo as the top dog in gaming, and that's what he is aiming for (and he's not wrong in doing so. Anyone who starts a business, in any field, wants it to be the best in that field. That's a simple fact of life)

The amount of commenters attacking him, or shooting him down is hilarious. They probably won't top Nintendo, true, but if they (or anyone else) wasn't aiming to be number one, they shouldn't be in business in the first place.



rjejr said:

Just got my 30 day 5 magic star bonus a few minutes ago. I play about 20 minutes a day. Havent spent a cent on it though. Wonder how they think they'll make money on the 3DS?



Yodelman64 said:

The only reason why you might is because you make games for iphone and android. Your games will never be the caliber or quality of nintendos.



Damo said:

@Aviator Had you even heard of GungHo in 1998? Or even five years go, when they were porting stuff like Silpheed to the smartphones?

The company might be 15 years old, but it's growth has been recent - hence the term "rising star".

@Slapshot How does this item make them sound like a "minor start-up", exactly? We've mentioned the fact that they have a title which has been downloaded 14 million times, and that they've recently overtaken Nintendo's share value.



Chunky_Droid said:

@Damo: I think Slapshot meant this sentence in particular, just reading.

"Nintendo may indirectly help its upstart rival on the way to bigger things."



Slapshot said:

@Damo "A" title. GungHo is a major publisher in Japan and if you read some of the above comments, it appears that your readers might have been misinformed - it seems that a some of them think that GungHo only owns one IP, which if true, would make this guy look near insane to voice accisations such as this. Not only does GungHo have large, successful MMO's published, but it also owns Grasshopper, which your readers are very likely to be extremely familiar with, because of its success with its niche titles on Nintendo's platforms: Killer7, No More Heroes and Contact.

While I will agree that it is only here recently we are hearing of "GungHo" outside of Japan, that doesn't negate this company's successes in its native country, where it is a major publisher.



Volmun said:

i triyed this... if i remember right it broke eveytime i started it up 8/



onex said:

Also, games heavily reliant on microtransactions for profits are a poison to this industry. They are worse than casino gambling.



Dodger said:

I expect the average sales for a mobile game are larger then the average sales for an NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Gameboy, Gameboy Color or gameboy advance game because of the larger market. Even so, they have a lot of catching up to do. One or ten popular games will never let them catch up given the massive amount of popular games Nintendo has made even if the sales per game are higher. Still, they are a popular company and if they exist for the next 25 to 30 years then they might come close, I guess.



cloudkt said:

@DerpSandwich ummmm that was just in 3 months, and it was the hype of the moment, if the guy doesn't make another great game i seriously doubt he will sell better than that.



DerpSandwich said:

I'm pretty sure they've got lots of games, and they've definitely got the ability to make more. And even if they never hit on anything that great again, that one group of people still made more money for the time they spent than most devs of bigger games.



Mortenb said:

It's like starting a family car factory and saying you want to surpass Rolls Royce in sales.



ramstrong said:

@Slapshot Slapshot said:
@Damo "A" title. GungHo is a major publisher in Japan and if you read some of the above comments, it appears that your readers might have been misinformed - it seems that a some of them think that GungHo only owns one IP, which if true, would make this guy look near insane to voice accisations such as this.

I have to agree with Slapshot. Upon first reading, I thought GungHo only owns one IP, and that it's a start up.

When you put GungHo as "rising star" and Nintendo as "Kyoto veteran", my assumption is that GungHo is a newbie. When you explained it, I guess I can see where you're coming from, but I have to say that as ESL person, I'm having trouble deciphering your intended meaning until Slapshot pointed it out.

I hope you can better provide background info on your articles next time, because if I have to do background research every time I read an article, I'd rather not read it.

Thank you for understanding.



kevkeepsplaying said:

There is no threat, I don't see why this is a big deal, it was a simple statement. A goal he wants to hit. I admire it.



Slapshot said:

@ramstrong You have a fantastic knowledge of the English language, as you write better than most native to it - I applaud you for that. In regards to your comment, that is the very reason that I stated what I did.



Damo said:

@Chunky_Droid @Slapshot @ramstrong

Sorry for the late reply, I've had a pretty busy weekend.

This is a news story about a fairly dramatic comment made by GungHo's CEO - it's not an in-depth company profile. If every news story we did on Nintendo Life had to have an essay-like investigation attached to it, we'd have a lot fewer articles on the site.

Secondly, Nintendo has a history stretching back more than 100 years, has been involved significantly in the video game industry for over 30, and has created some of the most popular gaming systems and most beloved franchises in the medium. GungHo is 15 years old, and has only very recently enjoyed the kind of success which has allowed its CEO to make claims like the one mentioned here.

How exactly can you possibly compare these two companies without one being seen as the "newbie" and one the "veteran"?



Slapshot said:

@Damo I would never expect any fan site to do a "in-depth company profile" for a news piece - this audience simply isn't looking for this kind of information here.

We will have to agree to disagree on the "newbie/veteran" debate - I personally wouldn't consider a company that has been in business for 15 years a "newbie."

In short, I just felt that the article should have stated that GungHo was quite a large publisher and not a one-trick pony (a quick Google search is all that is needed to research this). Because when it seems that this publisher/developer is just that, then (to me) the article came off like it was intentionally designed to smear GungHo and its CEO for his statement.

I'm not, and wasn't, trying to attack you for your writing style - this wasn't the only article that was written in this manner on this very topic - I just don't like to see a publisher/developer not given the credit that it deserves.



ramstrong said:


News articles are essays. Perhaps you're wondering where in the spectrum of First Grade Show-and-Tell and PhD dissertation news articles should lie? I think that's irrelevant. Let's put it this way: You write an article that is incomplete. People get confused. You spend some time to explain further to clarify any misunderstandings. Imagine if you can anticipate where the trouble spots are, and put explanations right there on the article. You will save that much time.

>How exactly can you possibly compare these two companies without one being seen as the "newbie" and one the "veteran"?

The same way you report 2 first finishers of a (marathon) race without making the other look like a slowpoke.

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