Magazine SWITCH Interview “Cocone’s New Adventure” Shintaro Takaya, Representative Director and CEO, Cocone Corporation.

※This article is machine translated.

This article was originally published in “SWITCH Vol.40-No.11” and is reprinted with permission. PHOTOGRAPHY :GOTO TAKEHIRO

Cocone’s new adventure

Shintaro Takaya, Representative Director and CEO, Cocone Corporation
Cocone Corporation was founded in 2008 with the aim of providing digital content services that value human sensibilities. In July, Shintaro Takaya was appointed Representative Director and CEO of Cocone Corporation, a leading company in the so-called “avatar service” industry, which has developed many social network entertainment contents the “Pokecolo series” and “Livly Island” smartphone applications, Shintaro Takaya assumed the position of Representative Director and CEO of Cocone Corporation.
With the arrival of the Web3 era, we will transform ourselves into a global company based on what we have carefully nurtured up to now, and begin a new challenge to “realize a Metaverse that is uniquely Cocone”.

 Magazine SWITCH Interview "Cocone's New Adventure" Shintaro Takaya, Representative Director and CEO, Cocone Corporation.

– Please tell us about your encounter with Cocone.
About two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with former Cocone President Tomita (*current Cocone Connect President). I was asked if I could be of any assistance in building an organization for Cocone’s future growth, especially in the area of recruitment, so I initially joined Cocone as an outsourcer. I did not have a deep understanding of Cocone, except that it was the company that created “Pokecolo” and that it was led by Mr. Sen (*Chun Yanghyun, the current chairman of the board), a legend who founded and achieved great success with Hangame.
After graduating from college, I joined SEGA, a video game manufacturer, and started my working career by producing game contents for arcade/household/PC/mobile devices, etc. Around 2000, I fell in love with darts and opened a darts bar called “Bee” and produced a network darts service called “Darts Live”. I then founded Darts Live Inc. with the same group and served as its representative for about 12 years. After leaving the company, I continued to be involved in the digital entertainment industry, planning and producing digital entertainment content and developing a live streaming platform. I have been involved in many services that are rather stimulating, such as competitions for winning, losing, or ranking, so I have not been involved in services that are cute and peaceful like “Pokecolo”.
On that day, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Sen and asked him about the appeal of the CCP business (*Cocone calls its avatar business the CCP/Character Coordinating Play business), how he thinks about running Cocone, future global expansion, and his vision for “creating a metaverse that is uniquely Cocone”. I was completely fascinated by Sen’s personality, way of thinking, and creativity. I was completely fascinated by Sen’s personality, way of thinking, and creativity, and through repeated conversations with Sen and Tomita, I was moved by Cocone’s appeal and potential, and decided to join the company.

– What is the appeal of Cocone?
I believe that there are only a few companies that are so thorough in their efforts to work always with the customer in mind, in every area. Just to give you an example, the revenue base of the CCP business is largely based on item sales, isn’t it? Almost all of those designs are designed by internal designers who are also employees. In such content planning, production, and development, including games, it is common for the art director/head of creative to be in-house but for the majority of production to be outsourced for cost considerations. In such a situation, Cocone has about 300 designers in the entire group, and each of them is working hard on design work, both happy and sad, with the customer in mind. At that time, my common sense was “Why? Why?” I asked Sen, and he gave me a straightforward one-word answer: “In order to provide items to our valued customers with confidence, it is better to have in-house designers who are trustworthy and reliable.”
The planning and management system is also very unique, The teams in charge of planning and operation are clearly divided according to the needs of each customer: “customers who play without paying”, “customers who pay to play”, and “VIP customers who pay a lot to play”, and each team is always thinking of ways to make each customer enjoy the game. Although it may seem obvious to say that the production of items and the planning and management system are both obvious, in my experience I have never met a company that is so thorough in this regard. In fact, I think it is difficult to realize such a system even though we would like to do so, but I was surprised at the company’s sincere attitude toward this matter.
Then, there were many things that surprised me, not only with regard to customers, but also with regard to the way they thought about their employees. When he founded Cocone, Sen did not decide on a business area, but simply wanted to create a good company. It is a good company when good people get together. However, Cocone, which had just been established, was a nobody and had no sales at all. Based on the idea that it is his responsibility to at least provide good food and moderate exercise so that everyone can stay healthy both mentally and physically, the deli and gym have been there since the company was in the red shortly after its establishment. The way it looks is like a welfare program, but I was deeply impressed by the base idea. This July, in an effort to give back to our employees the time that is so important to us, we have started a program that allows Wednesday afternoons to be used as free time. I was very surprised to see that this kind of thinking has taken root and permeated not only in Jim, but also in the rest of the management team and all of the employees, no matter who I talked to.

– The term “metaverse” has been attracting a lot of attention since Facebook announced that it would change its name to Meta. However, there is a sense that the word has become a walking alone term. How do Cocone and you think about the metaverse?
The term “metaverse” has become much more familiar over the past year. There are various opinions that the metaverse will be expressed in VR or in a 3D open world, and in fact, I believe that many services will be launched in the future. We at Cocone are also working on various aspects of expression and technical verification to realize a “Cocone-like metaverse,” but we have not yet reached the conclusion that this is the right way to go.
However, we have several hypotheses. In that world, there must be a mechanism that allows people to express themselves as avatars, even in a form that they might not be in the real world, to project themselves affectionately onto those avatars and feel a sense of identity, and to establish a solid relationship (communication) with others, and that there is a mechanism for establishing relationships (communication) with others. These are all things that Cocone has been working on for the past 11 years since the launch of “Pokecolo” but as an added bonus, based on the fact that we have sold over 13 billion digital items in our service to date, we believe that some kind of economic and asset nature should be implemented, and that there should be an economic sphere. Based on our experience of selling over 13 billion digital items in our services to date, we believe that “the existence of some kind of economic and asset nature and the existence of an economic sphere” are necessary elements for the success of a metaverse that is uniquely Cocone. Based on this belief, we are now planning and developing services unique to Web3, such as NFT of items and implementation of a token economy based on the blockchain technology platform. By the time this issue goes on sale, we hope to have several titles to announce. We hope you will look forward to the future of Cocone.

Shintaro Takaya
Born in 1973. Representative Director and CEO of Cocone, which is challenging a new way of being for the Cocone Group in the Web3 era, as well as strengthening the management system with a view to global expansion.

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