What is the appeal of the entertainment industry?
I’ve loved games ever since I was a child. I was fascinated by every kind of game—from the board games that everyone enjoyed together to driving games and pinball games on the roof of a department store where my parents took me, as well as traditional Japanese games such as sugoroku and hanafuda that I played over the New Year vacation.
I love to have fun, so I’m also pretty good at creating fun. If you aren’t good at entertaining people, you’ll have trouble creating enjoyable times.
Given my childhood as well as my involvement in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, I have come to realize something—human beings are playful animals.
People instinctively seek fun in their lives, and they want to play. Based on this understanding, the appeal of the entertainment industry lies in stimulating the human instinct for fun and creating enjoyable times. In other words, I think that one major appeal of the entertainment industry is that it plays a role in responding to the needs and desires that make us human.
What aspects do you emphasize when developing new machines?
The key to developing a casino machine is firstly to understand the needs of the market. For example, in some areas machines that give heart-pounding thrills are a big hit, but in other areas, machines that promise larger dividends are a big hit despite offering less exciting gameplay. If you fail to properly analyze the local market and thus you incorrectly determine market needs, demand and supply may become mismatched.
We have great confidence in our creation of entertainment, but in the casino market we cannot expect big hits if we single-mindedly pursue entertainment value alone.
It is very important that we utilize the group’s resources that we have accumulated up to this point, developing machines that take the needs, preferences, and desires of different players as well as different clients into account, which may vary depending on region, such as Las Vegas and Macao.
How is the atmosphere inside the company?
Because our company develops products to entertain people, the company’s internal atmosphere is a lot of fun. If what we did was boring or tedious, such negative emotions would prevent us from creating fun entertainment. Beyond this, the Sega Sammy Group also has its own traditional company culture:
We absolutely never imitate other companies
Wherever possible, we avoid developing our hit products into product series
Even if we can expect good sales to some extent, a copy will never outperform the original. More than anything else, we constantly want to create something new. In the business world, notions such as the second-tier strategy do exist, but that is not for us—we have positioned our goal of always aiming for the top as paramount.
This company culture may be one factor why our employees enjoy being part of the company. It is definitely more fun to devise and develop new things than to copy what others have done.
Please talk a little about the strengths of Sega Sammy Creation and your vision for the future.
More than anything else, our strengths lie in our ability to take advantage of the technology and creativity that the Sega Sammy Group has cultivated so far in the entertainment field. I believe that if we can make full use of this, we can develop innovative machines that are more interactive and exciting than ever. Of course, difficulties also exist—we need to respond to the diverse needs of different casinos, players, regional characteristics, and more. Any new entry into the casino market is a major challenge.
This is all the more reason why I believe that if we can lay solid foundations initially, we will be able to develop casinos into “playful spaces for grown-ups” that offer top quality entertainment.
Always seek new challenges, always aim for the top—and in future, make the casino a space of more fun and more excitement through our gaming machines. That is my vision for the future.