Special Feature

Music Simulation Games Rock the Market
The start of the sensation was a game called beatmania, released by Konami's Game Machines Division in December 1997.
For years, the Konami name has been synonymous with top-quality sports game creation. In fiscal 1999, our creative reputation expanded to include leading status in the new genre of music simulation games. In this year's annual report, we take a closer look at Konami’s music simulation games business, pioneered by the Game Machines Division and expanded by the Consumer-Use Software, Amusement Machines, and Creative Products divisions.

The Game Machines Division Lights a Fire with beatmania

In December 1997, the Game Machines Division launched beatmania. In fiscal 1998, this series was the only music simulation game title contributing to Konami's revenues, with sales falling just short of the ¥1.0 billion level. Then, in the first half of fiscal 1999, beatmania 2nd MIX was released and became immensely popular among young people in arcades, creating a boom of music simulation games. We introduced upgraded versions of the beatmania series in the months that followed; a total of more than 8,000 units have been sold as of May 31, 1999, and the trend of growing popularity has not slowed since. In the field of arcade game machines, a product that sells 1,000 units is considered a hit, and thus the number achieved by the beatmania series amply illustrates its tremendous popularity.
One of the main features of this game is its ability to attract a "gallery" of spectators. Until the introduction of beatmania, arcade games were meant to be enjoyed only by the people playing them. However, with beatmania music booms from speakers and the player goes through the motions of a real disc jockey, adding a performance element to the game. The repercussions of this new element have been enormous.
In recent years, makers of arcade games have tended to focus on improving CG technologies and adding complex functions, which trends have been an indirect cause of the decline in numbers of arcade visitors. In such an environment, the appearance of beatmania, which added the element of music and defied categorization into any existing genre, created new demand in the marketplace.
Photo-sticker vending machines, which were a huge hit several years ago, were also a new concept unrelated to existing games; in this respect, they are similar to beatmania. However, a major difference between these products is that beatmania incorporates music, which is closely linked to young people's lifestyles. Accordingly, while photo-sticker vending machines were a short-lived boom that quickly ran out of steam, beatmania and other music simulation game machines can be said to have successfully established a new game genre.

Pop'n Music 2



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