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Wada: "Japanese Games Industry Is A Closed Environment"

We've heard this refrain from Square-Enix before, and it's no surprise to hear it again a short time after the veteran RPG publisher acquires Tomb Raider publisher, Eidos.

According to a recent interview Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada recently gave The Financial Times, the boss said he believes Japanese developers focus too heavily on their own culture and in fact, they're often "xenophobic." He said that in the past decade, "the Japanese games industry has become a closed environment, with no new people coming in, no new ideas..." He also believes they're "slightly behind" their Western counterparts, which is part of the reason why they picked up Eidos; such foreign partnerships would be a "forward step." Perhaps most interesting is the statement Wada made concerning future acquisitions, as it appears they may wish to throw a bit more of their money around:

"The combination of Eidos and Square Enix gives us a good platform from which to expand. In that process, we might decide to acquire another company."

Based on his words, we can only assume that Square-Enix would purchase another Western publisher or developer, and they could be searching around even as we speak... And S-E isn't the only major Japanese company to voice their concerns regarding the Japanese gaming market and how it stacks up against the Western push. Perhaps everyone would benefit if they were all just one big happy family.

4/28/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (22 posts)

PS3addict
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 10:34:09 AM
Reply

Expand?? How about multi platform releases of all your titles? That would expand your sales margin and maybe even restore some faith from long time fans of your games.

Last edited by PS3addict on 4/28/2009 10:34:38 AM

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Belazor
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 10:36:07 AM

You mean ruin their faith; S-E took a lot of flak for going multiplat, and even supporting the Xbox in the first place.

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cegmp
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 11:04:19 AM

^ I think he's talking about making games such as Star oceans, last remnant and infinite undiscovery multiplat.

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Geobaldi
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 2:07:26 AM

The Last Remnant is multiplat. It's on PC and Xbox. The PS3 version coming later.

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Jordahn
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 11:19:58 AM
Reply

Yep, gaming is going downhill as I've expected. Nothing wrong with "Western" style games because I play and enjoy some of those. But one of the main factors that make gaming great is that there are (or should be) a variety of offerings for a variety of tastes. If everyone becomes "Westernized," all we'll have are the same kind of games. Where is the fun in that unless that's all you like to play? Now as a business, SE do need to stay afloat. But this is just some lame excuse to cover that they just cannot make it like they used to. If "Western" style games can be more and more innovated in of themselves, then why can't the same be said about games of ANY particular style or from ANY particular region? It's not the region's fault for its particular style. It's the developer's/company's fault for loosing focus, and that's to create great games that cater to your fanbase. Cultures and trends do change, but that doesn't always mean things are just exclusive to those changes. SquareEnix, you suck!

Last edited by Jordahn on 4/28/2009 11:21:33 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 12:56:18 PM

True, they need to "expand" to stay in business because they are too big for just the Japanese market now.

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Andysw
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 11:25:32 AM
Reply

Okay wada. As long as you don't screw us all again, like you did to final fantasy XIII going to micorosft's system.

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BTNwarrior
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 11:48:28 AM
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I don't know, it seems to me that Capcom has the world wide appeal figured out. And Atlus has been delivering nothing but gold recently. I think this might just be Square Enix's problem

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Juanalf
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 3:58:05 PM

Capcom is definitely on a roll.If they were to make their dlc free they would be king of games right now.

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opsdaddy
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 12:31:22 PM
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Hideo Kojima addressed this issue well before Wada, and rest assured, will figure out where to lead the Japanese game industry long before this guy does. You'd be right if you detected a little anti-S-E sentiment in my tone.

Proof's in the pudding, guys, and so far, S-E has offered us PS3 fans very little to chew on. I remain skeptical about them recovering even a portion of their former PS reputation. FFXIII would have to be mind-boggling with a fair number of follow-on hits as well. Here's hoping for the best, though...

Last edited by opsdaddy on 4/28/2009 12:32:00 PM

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Jordahn
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 1:12:46 PM

Yes, but is Kojima trying to appeal to a wider audience by making that audience more aware of his titles and what he can give or is he trying to appeal to a wider audience by compromise and/or appeasment to that audience. I for one think Wada is attempting the later while I strongly believe that developers should use the former as a core while then exploring other options for the sake of diversity and not abandonment.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 12:59:34 PM
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Isn't SE already in the red? I think making good games should be priority #1, then if they can get back on top they can start buying up failing companies like Eidos. I know it's already done, but I don't see much good coming from it right now. It's like buying an old car when your not old enough to drive yet.

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Mista
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 2:15:28 PM
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As long as FF XIII, Versus, and Kingdom Hearts 3 are awesome (and I'm sure they will be) Square should alright. If they space the releases properly and throw a few fan wanted blockbusters in there like, a new Dragon Quest on the "real" consoles (damn the Wii), a console version Parasite Eve game, and finally get off their asses and get with the remakes already! If they did a FF VII and Chrono Trigger remake true to the originals with just new graphics and sell them at like $40 or $45 bucks they would make a killing. Take a page from Capcom and at least just do HD versions of the originals and put them on the networks for $20 bucks.

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Highlander
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 5:20:57 PM
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Wow, Wada is basically shaming his own industry. Calling fellow Japanese developers xenophobic? That's fightin' talk.

Let's get serious. Games like Monster Hunter Portable have sold millions upon millions of copies in Japan alone. If developers in Japan concentrate on their home audience and can shift a million plus copies of a game, why in hell would they lose that focus to develop for a more western sense of taste risking not only alienating their home audience; but also attracting the attentions of the free-tard (people who believe that five finger discount via the Internet is OK) movement that is so very prevalent in the west. Seriously, attracting attention of western gamers would also attract the attentions of the piracy scene too. This seems like a recipe for failure, and not success.

That all said, I would personally love to see more games that are currently specific to japan opened up to western audiences through partial re-voicing and use of subtitles, and in some cases just subtitles would be fine. There are some awesome games that I know would get sales in the west, but right now unless you're fluent in Japanese you haven't a chance. Rather than westernizing the games, I would like to see more translation and localization of Japanese games that are rooted in Japanese culture.

Why on earth would Wada complain that Japanese developers are too focused on Japanese culture and call them xenophobic? We should all be able to celebrate our own cultures instead of diluting them for foreign consumption. Wada is ashamed of his own culture? Is that what he's saying? I'm hoping that there is a large element of mis-translation/interpretation at work on these remarks.

Last edited by Highlander on 4/28/2009 5:44:20 PM

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shadowpal2
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 5:56:42 PM
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WAIT WAIT WAIT??!?!?!?!?! ............Japanese developers focusing too much on their culture when developing games is a bad thing?!?!??! OH FUCK YOU. The developers should make a game on whatever they want it to be. So what if it doesn't have the best graphics - developers should make the game HOW THEY WANT TO MAKE IT!!! They shouldn't feel ashamed of it at all.

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Banky A
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:14:25 AM

Please do not drop the F-Bomb :/

Every time somebody drops the F-Bomb before midday, a puppy dies. And every time one is dropped after 12:00pm an old person dies.

Thank's pal (of shadowyness, LOL), =D

You still cool though, don't Chris Brown me ;)

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b3mike
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 7:49:40 PM
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The Devil himself speaks

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rell
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 9:48:06 PM
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Wada need to be lock in SE basement because of wat he is saying.

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AntDC
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 @ 10:51:07 PM
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Since when did "expanding their boarders and making more mainstream games" become priority over making good quality games?

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Banky A
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 12:17:20 AM
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*I'm not trying to offend anyone*

I think Wada needs to be invited to Josef Fritzel's basement for a warm cup of coffee..

>=]

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BigBoss4ever
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 @ 1:46:11 AM
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go die for westernization of the square enix. i only want square soft to make good J-RPGs as good old time

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Lordnicon
Thursday, April 30, 2009 @ 10:37:16 AM
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It truly is big business and capitalism at work here. They can definitely make bank making Japanese flavored titles anywhere. To say that Japanese style games never make it here isn't fair because its not true. A company like S-E which i would assume by now is pretty large, naturally would try to conquer a larger audience. And I can see certain current japanese titles not being as popular here but along the lines of what jordahn said, japanese companies can still make games that cater to the japanese but just evolve within that realm to make genuinely innovative games.

It seems this is a big thing for the Japanese these days as the producer for Capcom's Dead Rising 2 said that he too is making moves to create a more western appeal but said specifically that he would rather blend the two styles for a broader appeal. Doesnt sound too bad to me.

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