Capcom Co., Ltd. (株式会社カプコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Kapukon), is a Japanese developer and publisher of video games. Originally established in 1979, it has since become an international enterprise with branches and subsidiaries in North America, Europe, and East Asia.
The original companies that spawned Capcom's Japanese branch were I.R.M Corporation founded on May 30, 1979, as well as its subsidiary Japan Capsule Computers Co., Ltd., both of which were devoted to the manufacturing and distribution of electronic game machines. The two companies underwent a name change to Sambi Co., Ltd. in September 1981, while Capcom Co., Ltd. was first established on June 11, 1983, for the purpose of taking over the internal sales department.
In January 1989, the old affiliate company Capcom Co., Ltd. merged with Sambi Co., Ltd., resulting in the current Japanese branch. The name Capcom is a clipped compound of "Capsule Computers", a term coined by the company to describe the arcade machines it solely manufactured in its early years, designed to set themselves apart from personal computers that were becoming widespread at that time. The word capsule alludes to how Capcom likened its game software to "a capsule packed to the brim with gaming fun", as well as to the company's desire to protect its intellectual property with a hard outer shell, preventing illegal copies and inferior imitations.
While Capcom's first product was the coin-operated Little League from July 1983, its first real video game, the arcade title Vulgus, was released in May 1984. Beginning with a Nintendo Entertainment System port of 1942 published in December 1985, the company started to venture into the market of home console video games, which became its main business segment a few years later. Since then, Capcom created 15 multi-million-selling game series.