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The Hudson Soft Acquisition
If you check out even the occasional bit of video game industry news, chances are you aware of Hudson Soft’s takeover at the hands of Konami. News of the acquisition had been spread for quite some time, but it wasn’t until recently that Konami revealed plans for the company with the bumble bee logo. As of April 1, Konami will officially have 100 percent ownership of Hudson, which means they can do whatever they want with the company. Fortunately for Konami, this now means they will have more manpower and another branch to focus on different projects. Unfortunately for Hudson, April 1 will mark both the closure of Hudson Entertainment, the company's North American division, and an uncertain future for many employees.
This is a big blow to the company to say the least. Even worse is the voluntary redundancy program being set up by Konami, which requires Hudson Soft employees to voluntarily step down from their positions, receiving severance, additional bonuses, and aid in future job placement. The whole thing is a bit saddening because even with all of the money these employees will attain due to their leave, it is unknown what steps Konami will take in order to help with job placement.
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The Future of Hudson
I’ve never been a fan of social gaming. Online games such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other such titles just don’t appeal to me. I don’t see the quality in these titles, and I definitely don’t see the appeal. That’s why I found it completely disheartening when I found out that Hudson would be run by Konami as a social game division. Reports have indicated that Konami will be moving forward with Hudson as a social network services branch, and for me, this isn’t really something to look forward to. However, I have to admit there is potential in turning Hudson into a social game developer. After all, with titles such as Bomberman, Mario Party, Sudoku, and Deca Sports (oh, the horror), it’s obvious the folks over at Hudson know a thing or two about multiplayer and casual gaming.
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Potential in Social Games
Bomberman is one of my favorite party game franchises. Many people will argue that the series is one of the first to really bring party gaming to light. While it’s obvious Konami won’t let the Bomberman name die due to its large following, by turning Hudson into a social game branch, the opportunity to bring Bomberman to social networking sites creates new possibilities. Not only can the company create quick and easy games for users to get into, but they can also get younger gamers who may not know much about Bomberman and into the quirky little series.
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Does This Mean the End of Deca Sports?
As much as I would love to see one good thing come of this acquisition, I highly doubt we’ve seen the last of the Deca Sports series. After all, Hudson representatives have stated that the series continues to garner a fan base of consumers. And while the sheer idea of people actually enjoying the mediocre sports titles leaves me baffled, there’s no denying Deca Sports will most likely be here to stay, surviving through the Wii, 3DS, and Kinect. Hopefully, however, Konami focuses more on the franchises that matter. In other words, anything other than Deca Sports.
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Hope for Revivals
Over the past several years, Hudson hasn’t really focused on stellar franchises. Though Konami may use the company as a branch for creating social games on sites such as Facebook, by having access to all its existing licenses, we could see some big revivals in the future. Honeycomb Beat and Dungeon Explorer could use the sequel treatment. And classic franchises from days gone by such as Bloody Roar, Bonk, and Star Soldier would make for interesting series to bring back in the modern era of gaming. Maybe, just maybe, Konami will look back at the TurboGrafx-16 library and publish some interesting sequels to classic titles.
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What Will Happen to Hudson?
Obviously, it’s impossible to predict the future of a company such as Hudson after it’s been acquired by Konami. The best thing to do in a situation like this is hope that the legacy of the classic publisher and developer will remain intact once Konami takes total control. We can’t blindly believe that everything is going to be OK, but we can certainly hope that Konami keeps Hudson around, uses the newly obtained assets wisely, and keeps the memory of the bumble bee alive.