PS3 News: Are Japanese Devs Wrong In Their View Of Western Gamers? - PS3 News

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Are Japanese Devs Wrong In Their View Of Western Gamers?

Japanese developers are lagging behind. I don't think there's any argument or debate; sadly, it's a fact commonly referenced by the Japanese devs themselves.

But many of the hardcore gamers often ask: is the Japanese assessment of Western tastes and preferences skewed? Long-time JRPG fans have asked this question due to the death of slower, more strategic turn-based experiences; after all, those titles didn't suddenly start to sell like crap. In truth, they were taken away from us so Japanese studios could follow a perceived shift to "twitchiness" on the part of Western audiences.

And maybe it's happening everywhere in Japan. Maybe they're making gross exaggerations that are only exacerbating the problem. Even the great Hideo Kojima seems to have fallen prey to the idea that US gamers only want to play shooters. Now, it's true that Call of Duty dominates on a yearly basis and 2011 could be viewed as the year of the FPS (Crysis 2, Resistance 3, Battlefield 3, Killzone 3, RAGE, etc.). But not all those titles dominated the sales charts. Far from it.

In fact, if you look at some of the most popular games of the generation, you see a pretty fair sampling of genres. Action/adventure, which includes names like Grand Theft Auto, Assassin's Creed, Batman, and Uncharted, seems to be doing exceedingly well; just ask publishers like Take-Two and Ubisoft. Even the hardcore RPGs seem to be thriving; they're not turn-based, but they're definitely not CoD-like, either. How many copies did The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sell all told? And what about progressive titles like Heavy Rain? A big success, relatively speaking.

The idea that shooters is the most popular genre in the West could be called into question, really. "Action" or "Action/adventure" is still the broadest genre by far, and these titles not only tend to dominate sales charts, they also win a whole bunch of awards. Even if 2011 could be considered the year of the shooter, do you see a lot of shooters winning Game of the Year Awards? This year, that honor seems to be mostly reserved for Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Arkham City, and Portal 2, among others. And what about other genres? Know how many copies Gran Turismo 5 sold worldwide?

I just wonder if the Japanese devs are dead flat wrong in their views. Maybe they're letting assumptions get the better of them. Or maybe they just don't want to admit that so much of the innovation and creativity seems to be coming from the West these days, and that it's difficult to keep up. ...that'd be known as "sour grapes," and I'd hate to accuse the Japanese game makers of that. As far as I and many other gamers are concerned, there are still fantastic creators over there (Kojima is only one example).

But if we take an accurate overview of what works in this industry today, it's all too easy to say, "oh, shooters are all that matters," when in fact, it isn't true at all. Let's be a little more realistic. All you have to do is look at the numbers. Remember, GTAV has a shot at outstripping the new CoD this year...again, only one example.

Tags: gaming industry, japanese games, japanese developers, western gamers

1/4/2012 9:04:12 PM Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (50 posts)

BikerSaint
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 @ 9:45:24 PM
Reply

I don't know but I think that maybe the Japanese developers have just learned another undesirable Western trait.....

.....how to stereotype

Agree with this comment 12 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

La_Bete12
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 @ 10:09:43 PM

I completely agree...

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Qubex
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 7:35:29 AM

Possibly Biker Saint, but as Ben eluded to, why are they scared to stick to their roots. They seem to have overwhelming success with specific gender of games such as RPG's and the like.

Many in the States and Europe really do enjoy their JRPG's and Kojima-sam type productions. Why do they have to try and emitate the west. It may be best that they refine what they do best and let the rest of the world enjoy their flavour of gaming... the Japanese way...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 12:22:57 PM

Qubex,

Well, I can't say much about JRPG's or RPG's as a whole cause I've never been able to get into them, even though I have tons of them in my collections & keep on re-trying them.

But as others have already said, all they see any more is one single game, so their whole sole focus anymore has become an unholy obsession with...COD. And because COD keeps wildly exceeding every financial forecast as each new episode comes out.

To this overall outsider to the RPG world, I think that they've become nothing more than human racing greyhounds at the dog track.

Meaning that they've now gotten this one-track mindset & because of it, they don't see anything else, nothing on the sidelines, not the other dogs, not the players, not the noise, not the food vender smells........
....only that one mechanical COD rabbit dangled out there right in front of their noses, yet never obtainable

And now their minds are completely conditioned to that, so nothing else matter's any more to them except to keep trying to catch some of that rodent's leftover lettuce, and they wind up sinking right down the rabbit hole instead.






Last edited by BikerSaint on 1/5/2012 12:24:16 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 @ 10:29:47 PM
Reply

I like this article. I think you are right on the money with your reasoning. Please send this page's link to every single Japanese dev.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Excelsior1
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 12:01:43 AM

@alienage

That post you came up with the other day was great. I'm talking about the "imagined FPS dominace" in the Kojima article. You should post it again in this article.

Anyways, Kojima said that FPS games get all the crazy sales and there really isn't demand for anything else basicaly.

Sorry, that is just flat wrong. There are a handful of shooters that get "crazy sales". For a long time it was just COD and Halo. Now BF3 probably would be on that list. The point is that games in other genres do sell and even outperform many games in the FPS genre.

The KZ series and the Resistance series have never been big sellers. Resistance 3 is widely considered to have been a flop. Like Alienage mentioned the other day Heavy Rain's sales are comparable to both R3 and KZ3. It even managed to outsell R3. Crysis 2 sold a little over 3 million accorss all platforms as of July this past year according to VG chartz. To be fair I could not find another source to confirm that number. Rage's sales were considered to be dissapointing.

It sounds like the insane sales of a few FPS games has messed with Japanese developers heads. Shooters do get a lot of attention from the gaming media, but that does not explain why Japanese gaming publishers can't look at a simple sales chart to see other genres have been successful.

Kojima's qoute is a perfect example of how the crazy sales of a few FPS games have distorted the gaming industry. I'm afraid our Japanese friends may be a little to caught up in the headlines and not actually looking at the sales data. It would appear their view is most defintely skewed.

Off topic: My cat is very sick and has a 50/50 chance of making it. Can you pray for her? Her name is Patches.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 1/5/2012 12:12:54 AM

Agree with this comment 4 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 6:59:44 AM

... but the strangest thing is: Don't Japanese developers play any of the games developed outside their country? And are they totally out of touch with the rest of the business?

I mean, my impression is that devs play other devs games a *lot*. Just look at that post from Jaffa, other devs favs in a recent IGN article, etc. Do the Japanese devs really *need* to be told this?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 8:29:33 AM

oh for sure. I don't think anyone was disagreeing on this one. It's pretty obvious diversity (NOTE: With a side of quality) succeeds still. Even Japanese devs are diverse and successful.

Look at everything from Zelda, to everything Mario, to Metroid, to MGS, to Final Fantasy, to Dragon Quest, to Deus Ex, to Mega Man, to Catherine, and yeah... the list goes on and on and on.

People like more than just FPS'. That much is clear. And Japanese dev's are capable of making something for each and every genre.

To me, any issues that they feel are due to other aspects that have nothing to do with genre. The three biggest problems when it comes to NA and EU, in my humble opinion of course, are these:

1) They make a lot of great stuff for handhelds. But we are not as into handhelds as Japan is. So of course it's not going to be as successful here.

2) many of them seem to alter their vision for already well established franchises for the worse. Just look at what happened to Front Mission.

and
3) The genres they are specifically known for, such as jRPG's, are not made as often any more, and the ones that are, are not made with equally high production values. They might be good games, but not keeping up with technology is a barrier, in my opinion.


I actually feel there are many more little issues than just these. NA and EU devs seem to be faster, more focused, and have better vision into what they want to create. Great proof is Naughty Dog. A NA dev working exclusively for a Japanese company (Sony). Why aren't Japanese devs known as the best of the best for a Japanese console?

I think that example sort of sheds some light on the issue.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Friday, January 06, 2012 @ 12:28:58 PM

@ Excelsior1 - Thanks for the compliment.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

matt99
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 @ 10:35:56 PM
Reply

I'm not sure they're assuming western gamers prefer shooters. I think it's due to CoD, they see a high paced action shooter getting an annual billion dollar payday and they want a cut, so they take more and more influence from CoD. Unfortunately what they don't realize is that their fans don't want more CoD, they want what they're used to getting from their favourite japanese devs, and the new crowd they're trying to cater to doesn't care about them because they've already spent their money on CoD.
So really these japanese devs need to accept that they probably won't get a CoD sized payday, but if they stick to what their fans want they will be rewarded with a comfortable payday and more importantly the respect they used to have.

Last edited by matt99 on 1/4/2012 10:37:34 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

AcHiLLiA
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 2:01:18 PM

Probabley the 360 also.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BigBoss4ever
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 @ 10:52:50 PM
Reply

the problem can be summed into two points:

1. they care too much about sales and not too much about talents;

2. they tried too hard to be something they are not and not doing what they are naturally good at;

nothing more.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 1/4/2012 10:53:45 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Jutter
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 1:08:47 AM
Reply

Catchy. That's all you need to become a platinum selling recording artist. There is good music out there, that can sell well and most music isn't generic and unoriginal but most people just want a catchy tune without much else going for it. Some may be classified in the same genre as this catchy "artist" selling millions but they still have to keep their day job just to make ends-meat.

With gaming becoming more and more popular the same is true for the majority of the market. People who just want fast paced, point and shoot gameplay. There are great games out there and most being released don't fit this mold and these games can sell well. Some FPS's don't sell well while being an overall better game than CoD and with a complete package.

For the hardcore the Western market looks great and those looking for more of a pick-up and play every once and a while it looks great as well. These casual players are a huge chunk of the market and a lot of the hardcore themselves can't get enough CoD.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 1:31:07 AM
Reply

Good article, it's about time someone says so in editorial space. This "the Japanese says so ergo it must be true" kind of mentality has annoyed me for quite some time.
We, the western gamers, are not a bunch of single minded fools. We don't just buy COD. The proof of that is all around us.

My 13 yrs old son (who is my only real contact with teenagers these days so he represent everyone young for me :D) had saved up his hard earned money for... Skyrim. Yes. Walked straight past the shooters aiming for one of the most hardcore RPGs released this year.
Makin' daddy proud!


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/5/2012 1:34:12 AM

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Excelsior1
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 4:59:50 AM

I have been very annoyed by this as well. It is insulting that many Japanese developers consider us to be a bunch of COD drones when there are many examples of games outside the FPS genre that sell well. Kojima himself even thinks there is no "strong demand" or interest in games outside the FPS genre. Hello? Skyrim, the Mass Effect series, and the Fallout series are all examples that show the COD drone theory is incorrect. Do these games put up COD numbers? No, but they have been successful in terms of sales and critcal acclaim.

It's like they think we are one solid homogeneous mass or something. Yes, very annoying indeed. I have become quite annoyed with Japanese game production this generation aw well.Maybe if they spent a little less time coveting and obsessing over the NA market things might improve for them. Slow to adapt, and slow at making games....but , but they have always taken a long time to make games. I seem to recall Gran Turismo 3 a-spec arriving on the PS2 just 8 months after the PS2's launch. but, but there have been major internal problems at various studios. True, but the result is just the same. Decreased game production.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 5:14:44 AM

... or LA Noire, Dragon Age, Flower, Buzz, LittleBigPlanet, Minecraft, man the list goes on and on. And now we haven't even looked at the top selling mobile games.

Indeed it is insulting, no less. And one must be completely in denial to see the world that way. It's their loss - literary speaking.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/5/2012 5:22:47 AM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 8:34:58 AM

It is a little insulting, actually. lol

I play CoD as well, but not exclusively. And it's far from my favorite game. But it's wonderful multiplayer fun with my friends. We are all spread out across the globe now that we're all "growed-up", and it's wonderful to meet up online to catch up.

Japanese devs, in general (as there are exceptions), seem to be losing vision. They're brilliant developers, but I think they're getting lost in their own sob stories.

Only the jRPG genre seems to have almost completely lost ground in NA and EU in favor of other genres. But that has NOTHING to do with us. It has everything to do with what they're making for that genre... which is next to nothing unless you have a handheld... and guess what? NA and EU are not as into handhelds as JP.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 8:45:59 AM

It's so cute how you seem to always feel the need to explain why you play Cod, Underdog. :D


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/5/2012 8:47:26 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 9:57:37 AM

Cause it's a shitty game, comparatively speaking, and I'm embarrassed that my friends list always sees me playing that game.

I have higher standards, damnit! I swear!

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

jimmyhandsome
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 10:34:18 AM

I'm in agreement with all of you. The Japanese developers have spent this generation trying to figure out what western gamers want based on one hit series.

I don't think western games are "dominated" by just shooting games. I agree with your assessment 100%, Ben. CoD sells RIDICULOUSLY well, and that unfortunately leads to alot of "me-too" games that try to get a piece of that huge pie (Homefront, Medal of Honor, Battlefield 3, etc).

I think the Japanese overlook other successful titles this generation (like the ones mentioned by Ben and others) and just see CoD sitting at the top of the sales charts (by a large margin) and assume thats all westerners like.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 11:15:24 AM

All that CoD sales indicate is that a lot of people buy that game. But the Japanese are acting like it's the ONLY game we buy. That's extremely far from the truth. They aren't analyzing the industry properly.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ColTater
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 12:20:10 PM

Don't be ashamed or embarrassed Underdog. If your tropy list shows a wide genre of games you have had a chance to partake in, then all is well.

I have the same reasoning for playing it from time to time, even though I openly really don't like it. Heck, I don't know why my friends still want to invite me to play when all I do is complain the whole match.

I don't own the game, it is a GF rental, and I have the 4 game plan, so I keep MW3 around for my 11 year old.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 2:44:48 PM

Underdog dude....

"I'm embarrassed that my friends list always sees me playing that game."

Yeah, you have been playing that a lot lately...You know the solution though...

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 3:45:07 AM
Reply

no of course not, there sales are just plummeting for the sake of it!
\ sarcasm.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Fane1024
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 5:43:28 AM
Reply

I've been saying for years that Japanese developers were stagnating. Compare, for instance, SH2 (one of my favorite games BTW) or Onimusha to GTA3 or Jak & Daxter in terms of gameplay technology and you should see what I mean; the Japanese games play like PS1 games, while the Western games are innovating. It has only gotten worse this generation.

At some point, the Japanese seem to have realized that they had fallen behind in terms of game design / innovation, but they seem to have decided to emulate the (perceived) flavor of Western games, rather than simply incorporating the technical advancements. Which is certainly not what their long-standing customers want.

I know that many of those customers (and many here) want the current Japanese games to (continue to) mimic the iterations of the past. Heck, people keep buying Dynasty Warriors year after year. I guess that's their prerogative. I'd rather have games that maintain the flavor of Japan (e.g., anime art style) while playing like 21st C games.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 8:36:25 AM

That second paragraph is BANG on!

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Looking Glass
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 7:06:23 AM
Reply

I would replace the word "death" with "decline". That would seem to be more precise and accurate.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SoulController
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 7:50:49 AM
Reply

It breaks my heart to see Japanese devs make excuses & blame others for their misfortunes. Be yourselves, be Japanese, Knuckle up & get 'er done.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 8:37:35 AM

Be yourselves, be Japanese, Knuckle up, & FINISH HIM.

(I figure it needs a video game reference)

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SoulController
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 11:36:44 AM

Nice!!! Lol or (insert final fantasy end of battle music)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ichigo40
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 8:45:24 AM
Reply

I couldn't agree with this article more...I'm just curious how these developers can keep making these weird assumptions and continue to alienate the fans that have kept them in business for so long

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

gumbi
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 9:09:35 AM
Reply

I think one of the biggest problems is that the CoD and WoW phenomenon has skewed many developers/publishers perception of success.

I also think some good ol fashioned greed plays a big role in this. Japanese devs see these twitch games getting massive sales and raking in big money in the West and they forget about the market they've always catered to. A market that is still alive and well.

This isn't a trend created by gamers, it's a trend forced upon us by Japanese devs abandoning their niche market for delusions of grandeur. They think they need to compete with the likes of Call of Duty, but games like CoD are anomalies that can't be used as measuring sticks.

Japanese devs: Stick to your niche. Cater to the same market you've always catered to and you will find the same success you've always found. We're not the ones changing, you are.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 11:07:26 AM
Reply

I think that part of the problem is actually illustrated by the reasoning in the article. we've talked here before about how the hyper success of games like Call of Duty MW3/MW2 distort the market perceptions. But I think we have missed a truly important point. Ben raised Skyrim as an example of a non FPS game that is very successful, and that's true, but I think that what Skyrim does is illustrate two things that are in the same ballpark as the thoughts about the dominance of shooters.

First of all, shooters or what some define as FPS really is a wide category that for some *does* include action games like GTA and Uncharted. Skyrim was clearly included within the group of action adventure games in the article. The article talks of the Japanese devs being wrong in their view that western gamers only want shooters. OK, if you specifically want to call out FPS games as shooters that's demonstrably wrong because of games like GTA, Uncharted and Skyrim. But if you talk about that wider group of action adventure games in general, the view is pretty much spot on. Game sales in the west are dominated by that action genre, and especially first and third person shooters/action games.

When you look at what Japanese companies have done in their efforts to emulate Western Devs and somehow capture some of the huge sales numbers, you can see that they are chasing action games. Look at the way FF (for example) has morphed into an action game.

Sure there are still sales in other genre but in a relative sense, the sales for other genre are dwarfed by those of action games.

The second point is that the perception of success is distorted by the uber successful franchises. The original definition of success was that you cover your costs and make a profit. So let's say that you spend $5M developing a game and another $5M publishing and promoting that game. If you don't sell 5 million copies are you still going to make a profit? If you made a JRPG and don't sell as many copies as FFXIII or Skyrim, are you deemed to be successful? The perception is that if you don't sell millions of copies you are a failure. But how true is that? What if you sell 500,000 copies at full retail price, that works out at about $25 per copy to the publisher to be split with the developer. Say $13 a copy for the Dev and $12 for the publisher. At 500,000 copies that is about $6 million. Throw in some lucrative DLC ad you might have the dev and publisher seeing anything up to $7 million a piece (or more depending on the strength of the DLC sales).

I'm not saying these are exact or specific numbers, but they are in the right ballpark. What I am getting at is that the media perception of a game that doesn't sell more than 500,000 copies is that it is an abject failure. But in fact it may well be quite profitable for the publisher and developer concerned. Relative to Activision and the mega games like CoD, clearly it's small potatoes, but every game cannot sell like CoD, and every developer/publisher cannot expect 20 million copies of a game to sell.

But that perception of what is a success pervades the industry and colors the view of everyone - including developers and publishers in Japan. In that environment, if your game only sells half a million copies, some question the point of making the game, whether it's profitable or not.

If developers and publishers views on what it takes to be successful are distorted by the hyper success of certain action genre games, they may not decide to make a game that they know will sell fewer than a million copies, simply because it seems too small by comparison with others. It might be considered too risky, especially by a larger publisher, because it's almost by definition a niche title.

So you have (in Japan) a development and publishing community comparing themselves to western developers and publishers and trying to compete. But in trying to compete and making those comparisons, they distort their own perception of what success is. To compound that, they get a distorted view of what western gamers like, because of the blinding success of action games. Within that somewhat false perspective, I think these devs are now trying to emulate the games they see being successful in the west. They are trying to somehow blend their games with the action genre that are so successful, and at the same time produce a game that will attract large sales like the western games do.

In doing that, the development and publishing community within japan is split between the developers of smaller budget games that sell well in Japan, but never release outside Japan, and those that make bigger budget games that chase western markets. These developers see themselves lagging behind western developers because they cannot match the western game sales. But that question remains, do they have to match those sales to be profitable?

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 11:08:49 AM

The point of all of that? Japanese developers need to clear their vision and return to what they do best. Japanese publishers need to remember to judge success on absolute terms, and what makes a profit, rather than how the sales or profits compare to other uber successful games.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 11:17:54 AM

Actiony-games have always dominated, though. Most games have action/adventure. Exceptions are for racing, sports, and turn-based rpg's. Even in the PS1 era, MOST games had action/adventure elements. There just wasn't a shortage of other genres.

Also, what I don't like about the Japanese mentality, is that while 20 million people buy CoD, those same 20 million also very likely buy other games as well.

How many people actually exclusively play one game and one game only?

No one on my PSN friends list does, that's for sure.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/5/2012 11:20:26 AM

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 11:22:27 AM

Agreed, but I think that the dominance is far heavier now than in the past. That dominance has specific poster children, such as Call of Duty. I can easily see game publishers like SE looking at that context and believing that anything less than 5 million sales worldwide is utter failure - simply because they want to play in that league with Activision.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 12:56:27 PM

Yeah, I think they think that way too.

Problem is, NO ONE comes close to CoD sales. It should be seen as the exception to the rule. Not the standard.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 1:21:05 PM

That is so true Underdog, and it's so weird that we have to tell them this. It's so obvious!

Highlander,
What you say would make sense if the Japanese were on the outside looking in. Like they were some fresh economy students straight from school trying to understand a new market.

If that were the case, if they did not know the market they tried to enter they'd probably read some statistics, take note of the properties of the market leader and try to imitate that one in an attempt of making money. Typical freshman behaviour, just like all those millions wasted in failed web projects run by people that don't have a clue how the Internet works and try to imitate instead of innovate.

But the Japanese are *not* freshmen! That's the mystery in all this. They should know this market by now! They should know their customers, the market mechanics, the diversity amongst the gamers, the competing products, they should know all this!


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/5/2012 1:28:52 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 2:41:27 PM

I think you underestimate the degree of cultural isolation that the Japanese home market creates. The Japanese gaming market is very different to the rest of the world, and it creates it's own reality bubble. so much so that outside of their traditional genre and arcade games, Japanese devs are essentially on the outside looking in. Japan is very strong culturally, not least because their spoken and written languages are completely different to western language. In some ways that isolation is a strength because it has historically meant that games from Japan have a very specific flare/flavor that many consumers outside Japan enjoyed, as well as serving their home market in Japan very well.

But look at the way SE operates now. They make such crazy decisions and morph their games in such a way that it really does seem that they are on the outside looking in and trying to imitate western games and development without really understanding it.

Of course the Japanaese are not freshmen, and I never said that they are. But lots of people talk about the issue as if its a case of Japanese devs simply being behind the curve or not up to date enough. I don't think it's that at all. I think it really has more to do with Japanese devs trying to be something that they are not instead of focusing on their strengths, and that includes being distracted by the massive sales of specific titles like CoD and trying to shoehorn their own game into some kind of mold that will attract larger western audiences. It's that attempt to morph their games into something that they are not that leaves their games looking slightly inferior because they are really knock offs of western games with a slight Japanese flare.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 3:23:23 PM

But how is it possible to be *that* isolated in this day and age? They got Internet over there too!

Four of last years definitive winners were Portal 2, Batman, Minecraft and Skyrim. You really can not miss those no matter how uninterested or disconnected you are from the rest of the world.

Those four games share practically nothing, what they have in common is essentially that they don't have anything in common! They are *entirely* different games, and none of them are shooters.

Add to this the fact that many of last years biggest failures were shooters, how can one possibly draw the conclusion that all we want to play is shooters? What planet is Kojima & co sitting on?
It looks like all they know about the business they are a part of is that "COD sells a lot of copies". For heavens sake, my grandmother know that. One should assume that people that's been working in the business for a couple of decades had a tad more insight and detail knowledge than that, no matter how isolated they are.

I simply don't get it!

Last edited by Beamboom on 1/5/2012 3:44:23 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 3:46:10 PM

Linguistically Japan is extremely different, that creates a massive barrier to cultural influences from the west. I'm not sure what there is to not understand. It's not like the difference between England and Germany. They share some linguistic roots, an alphabet, ethnicity, to some degree a shared history, the sound, structure and grammar of German isn't completely alien to an English speaker. Japan has little to no shared history with the west. Linguistically their spoken language is completely dissimilar to English, French, German, Spanish, Flemish, etc... Their written language is not based on an alphabet, but rather it is based on three separate types of logographic script. It really *is* that different.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 5:00:19 PM

So what you are saying is that none of them knows English? That the news about Portal 2 etc never reached them due to difference in how our languages are built and the lack of a shared past with the west?
Sorry but that's the weirdest explanation I've ever heard.

May I remind you that they know how to make cars for the entire world despite these linguistic differences. Or stereos, computers, mobile phones, pharmaceuticals, ship building... Geez man, we talk about Japan here, one of the major economies of the world! Not some isolated tribe out in the wilderness!


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/5/2012 5:03:31 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Friday, January 06, 2012 @ 10:15:02 AM

Beamboom, are you just going to intentionally miss the point every time I write something? I mean where the heck do I say no Japanese knows English?

I was making the point that the vast linguistic differences, both spoken and written create a huge cultural gap and barrier that makes Japanese culture both strong, and subject to less influence from the US (for example) than the culture of western nations. That was what we were discussing.

Why am I not surprised that you would take the most extreme possible interpretation of the point being made?

I will say it again;

I think you underestimate the degree of cultural isolation that the Japanese home market creates.

The reasons for this cultural isolation, which may also be described as a very strong cultural identity, are many and varied. However not least of the reasons are Japan is an island nation with little in the way of shared history with the major western nations. Their spoken and written languages share almost nothing with western languages, with their written languages being iconographic not alphabetic. The linguistic differences are vast.

Of course there are many Japanese that speak and read English fluently, just as there are westerners that speak and read Japanese fluently. But the fact that Japanese business makes a point of using English when dealing with the west does not alter the fact that Japanese culture is very different from ours, just as their language is. If you don't get that, or don't want to get that, I can't help you; since you apparently wish to take anything I say and extrapolate it to the worst possible interpretation.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

wackazoa
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 12:16:15 PM
Reply

Seems that the Japanese have fallen prey to the same thing that non-gaming Parents and Politicians have..... ADVERTISING. You dont see many commercials for most games not named COD or Battlefield lately. The other games have been built up on word of mouth or internet sites whereas Activision and EA are on a media blitz on television, internet and Ive even heard commercials on the radio.

You can still go on a website not related to gaming and get an ad for either MW3 or Battlefield. Advertising.... the reason the world knows coke instead of cola. The reason why the Japanese think all we want is FPS. My thoughts anyway.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

burnedknight
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 1:39:40 PM
Reply

I think japanese devs are seeing COD sales and figure that's what people want and try to cater to it. Also greed plays a part they see dollar signs and it changes their views.





Last edited by burnedknight on 1/5/2012 1:45:48 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

AcHiLLiA
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 1:57:56 PM
Reply

Japanese Devs are probabley jealous, especially when it comes to COD sales, but what Dev's wouldn't. I agree the COD sale cycle has to stop someday.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 1/5/2012 2:07:35 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

packersfan66
Thursday, January 05, 2012 @ 7:00:09 PM
Reply

Of the majority of gamers i know.. I say they have it spot on lol

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Liquidus319
Friday, January 06, 2012 @ 12:07:21 PM
Reply

This seems to be a very bitter topic for many people I am sure.

But, I think to some degree you may be right. Sure, the developers in the West do seem to be producing many new games and do dominate the market. But, to ask the Japanese to keel over and give into something they gave much time and effort is a tall order.

In no way should the Japanese stop trying to appeal to their long term fans. They should keep it up, their are many people out there that still appreciate ol' school Japanese games. I would go off the gaming industry if I didn't have these gems every so often. :O

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

placenta_yogurt
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 2:25:01 PM
Reply

I think one of the worst part about jrpg's, and Japanese games in general in the states is the script translation and the voice acting... Japanese to English is usually very wordy and a bit too descriptive. If your going to get me a glass of chocolate milk there is no need to tell me how it is made, where it comes from, the color... they just give too much information compounded by the crappy voice acting is brutal.
Also, when you put a black guy in a game (which they always do) please stay away from every insulting black stereotype that there is..lol.. it's like they just walked off the set of Good Times with big afro's and the 70's jive way of talking. Some are even worse, more like Amos and Andy mixed with the coolness of Shaft... they have got to know that is just wrong, or maybe they really don't know, and someone needs to open their mouth and tell them.
As a US gamer I only play shooters to bridge the gap between the new RPG's and action/adventure games... if there were enough of them I wouldn't play shooters at all.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

keiichimorisato
Sunday, January 08, 2012 @ 3:37:08 PM
Reply

i wish the super cliched turn based JRPG's would return. i pay good money for the super cliche JRPG i want that and i look for it in any JRPG i play. it seems that "Tales" is the only "Traditional" JRPG that comes state side anymore. and even that is on the verge of collapsing, because if this years sales for the game don't go well they will permanently stop releasing Tales outside japan. i think the company wants that multi billion dollar sales for the game but i know it would never happen. i think one problem is that which is their own is that COD has a huge advertisement budget, it is shown on cartoon network, nickelodeon, spike, G4, and well just about every major television channel. I'm not saying that they should spend too much on advertising and have them lose money, what i am saying is that if they did advertise more then more people would know about the game and would buy it. its kinda like what happened to "Ponyo" the movie didn't do too well mostly due to the fact that it wasn't advertised outside of the disney channel and it was only advertised for like a week or two right before the movie was actually released, and it was only shown in a few select theaters.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

What do you think about The Last Of Us: Remastered?
Fantastic! Can't wait to get it!
Good, not sure if I'll buy immediately.
Eh, not bad, but I don't care.
It's just a stupid money grab.

Previous Poll Results