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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Konami closing its Waikiki operation

Advertiser Staff

The company's Web site was still up and running but no one was answering the phones yesterday at the Waikiki offices of Konami Computer Entertainment Hawaii. Konami makes such video games as Frogger Helmet Chaos and Lost in Blue, based on the wildly popular Hawai'i-based television show.

Two weeks ago, Konami executives told John Strom, vice president and director of business development and technology for the nonprofit economic development group Enterprise Honolulu, that they were phasing out the last of their 12 Waikiki employees and closing up shop.

Konami Computer Entertainment Hawaii, a unit of Tokyo-based Konami Co., employed as many as 45 local and foreign workers in Waikiki at its peak in 2004, Strom said.

Konami officials could not be reached for comment yesterday. But Strom said they had decided to focus operations in places such as South Korea.

"It's not Hawai'i," Strom said. "They decided to pull out of North America."

Despite the loss of Konami, Strom said, Hawai'i still has a small but growing industry of young game developers.

"I wanted to make sure there wasn't a problem with Hawai'i," Strom said. "Quite the contrary, people in the gaming industry like Hawai'i because it's a combination of (workers from) East and West."