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Japanese Game Maker Bases New Division in L.A. to Tap Hollywood

Japanese Game Maker Bases New Division in L.A. to Tap Hollywood

Konami Corp., the Tokyo-based developer of branded entertainment, has formed Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. to oversee its global videogame business and headquartered it in Los Angeles.

The group will be headed by Kazumi Kitaue, who will serve as chief executive. None of Konami’s staff will be relocated from the company’s office in Redwood City. In announcing the move, Konami said it expected to hire as many as 30 people to staff the local office in Century City.

Most of its game production will remain in Japan.

Tammy Schachter, a Konami spokeswoman, declined comment on the move and said company executives were not available for comment.

Konami, which reported revenues of $2.3 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, created such hits as “Frogger” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and has seen its animated “Yu-Gi-Oh!” franchise become a Saturday morning hit on the WB Network. The company has since spun off related card games, books, DVDs and a videogame.

Like Electronic Arts Inc., the Redwood City game maker that recently set up shop here, Konami chose L.A. as the base of its global videogame business to take advantage of the cross-marketing opportunities in Hollywood.

In September, producer Samuel Hadida’s Davis Films Sarl bought the rights to make Konami’s “Silent Hill” videogame into a movie.

Other Japanese game companies have been moving into Hollywood in recent months. DreamWorks SKG is set to begin production of a film based on Tecmo Inc.’s “Fatal Frame” game in early 2004.

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