Wada Proposes "Japan Alliance"
By now, it has become relatively clear to all that Western developers and publishers are starting to eclipse the traditional Japanese juggernauts. And it's not like Japan isn't aware of the shift, either; publishers like Square-Enix are continually trying to appeal more to Western gamers.
However, they're still falling behind. According to Kotaku, Square-Enix boss Yoichi Wada spoke about his country's lagging at the Tokyo Game Show and then he elaborated in a Nikkei Business article. He calls the current Japanese gaming industry a "crisis," primarily due to Western game companies having more capital and resources than their Japanese competition. Hence, he proposes "some sort of 'Japan Alliance,'" which would force smaller companies to realign and come under one banner. Obviously, Wada wants them to retain their individual identities, but perhaps in order to compete, it's time to unite in a common goal. "Individuality is important," said Wada. "It's not forcing everything into a single corporate brand. The ideal is a holding company under which several companies and brands can hang." Tecmo and Koei recently merged forces, but this would only be the tip of the iceberg if a "Japan Alliance" ever formed.
The question is, would it ultimately be good for gamers to have the big Japanese publishers like Square-Enix, Capcom, and Nintendo snap up the smaller developers and put them under their umbrella? The goal is more capital to work with, which would allow them to create bigger and more competitive titles, but would it work? Well, this is a classic "wait-and-see" thing, so...
10/22/2008 Ben Dutka