Square Enix Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu feels as though Japanese games aren’t as popular here in the West. He cites technology and a lack of passion as reasons for the lack of attention games from the East get over here.
“Aside from a few well-known titles, games from Japan are receiving less and less attention, regardless of if it’s an RPG or not. I feel that it has something to do with the marketing abilities of Japanese publishers, as well as the games themselves.”
Some games from overseas don’t connect with Western audiences due to the differences in culture, combined with the difficulty any new franchise faces when trying to break into the market. However, there are Japanese games that sell very well, such as Pokemon. Capcom and Konami are two Japanese developers that have found success with their franchises going overseas but major video game events feature less and less of a Japanese presence.
Japanese culture doesn’t share American gamers’ need for multiplayer shooters, which take up a large portion of the gaming market. The lack of innovation in Japanese games as well as the difference in taste can be cited as reasons for the lack of attention Japanese games receive. Marketing Japanese games to the Western market requires an extensive knowledge of what we want in a game and a way to use the difference in cultures as motivation to try the game rather than cast it aside.
“The technology is not on par with Western games, and it also seems like developers are losing their passion to stick with their vision because they are being overwhelmed by costs or market trends. It’s necessary for each individual developer to constantly be up-to-date with the latest computer and game technologies. It is also important for development teams and groups as a whole to support technological advancement. It is impossible for one person to keep up with all the skills necessary for game development on his own. On top of this, developers need to take on a project with the confidence and strength to stick with their vision.”
With Japanese game sales falling, some Japanese publishers protect against economic loss by releasing fewer titles. In Japan, the handheld market is much larger than it is here in the West. Some developers and publishers in the East shift focus to handhelds like the DS, where there is more of a likelihood for success than on consoles. Companies must decide whether to take the risk to the West or stick to the easier time they have in their own market.
Being up on the latest technology is very important but I don’t think it is the problem. The games themselves have to be innovative. It may be smarter for Japanese developers to not try and imitate Western games but create an unique experience that is unparalleled. Games that not only cross platforms but generational and cultural boundaries will make companies the most money. Advancement in gameplay and a passionate vision will receive the attention it deserves.
Do you think Japanese developers are fighting a losing battle, Ranters? Is Square Enix on the right track?
Source: Nintendo Everything