Is Japan now completely irrelevant?

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Posted by lordlors (5602 posts) 8 months, 16 days ago

Poll: Is Japan now completely irrelevant? (48 votes)

Yes 33%
No 67%

Now that Nintendo is declining along with other Japanese developers with an aging Japanese society and slow adaptation of digital distribution (lack of interest with Steam and PC gaming), is Japan now completely irrelevant to the video game industry as a whole? Although there are indeed Japanese indie devs, the indie scene in Japan is basically invisible that it doesn't really make an impact to the industry. I also heard it's mostly littered with bullet shooters and visual novels, not exactly the type of genres geared for a wide audience and wide impact.

I've been here in Tokyo, Japan for 2 years studying Japanese language to learn game development since I also like Japanese games and have an interest in their culture. Unlike the Philippines where I came from, I am surprised that it's harder to be a gamer here than back home because Japanese PC games that are not visual novels and Japanese version of Western games are hard to find especially recent ones. The same goes for imported games and the prices are outrageous. In Philippines, there's a Gamestop-like store that sells original games (English versions of course) and they are usually up to date with only a few days difference from US release date. Not to mention the prices aren't that different from those in the US.

And so when buying a Western game here I really have to go online. Japan has its own Amazon but apparently they have a very lackluster inventory of imported games. Steam Japan is just a carbon copy of Steam but with restrictions on some games due to regional locking. I had to go to the Steam US store to get Rome 2 when it launched last year. I don't get why they restrict games here which is very ironic. Rayman Legends is still unavailable on Steam Japan. I only have a gaming laptop and a 3DS that can only play NA versions of games. I plan to buy a Japanese 3DS when I have the money so that I can immerse myself with Japanese 3ds games.

It seems Western games and Western stuff still don't have that much of a strong presence in Japan and the foundation for it to develop isn't there yet. Even Western movies take a freaking long time to come and the theaters are severely overpriced. I get the feeling they are not that much interested with Western stuff.

#1 Posted by RossRichard (2350 posts) -

No, they are not irrelevant. They just have a different culture. But you still see millions of consoles being sold there every quarter, and tens of millions of games. They just do things differently than we do in the west.

#2 Edited by Krelian-co (10656 posts) -

I still love their games, so no.

#3 Posted by Vatusus (4593 posts) -

Huh... japan is still among the 5 biggest markets for gaming... how is that irrelevant?

#4 Posted by RedentSC (627 posts) -

no, PS4 ... Designed in Japan.... they are in no way irrelevant.. games, yes they may be a little poor with regards to western interests, but they are in no way irrelevent

#5 Posted by LJS9502_basic (150710 posts) -

No it's not. That is why all console manufacturers seek sales there. It's not complicated.

#6 Posted by the-lone-gamer (96 posts) -

any state that over obsesses/Gets off on under aged girls in school girl uniforms should be completely irrelevant.

#7 Posted by uninspiredcup (8289 posts) -

Nowadays the young people prefer to play Call Of Dutys.

#8 Posted by Shewgenja (8776 posts) -

This thread has never been done before. I mean, last gen we definitely saw a boom in western development studios since the Japanese were largely behind the times at the onset. However, this thing called Demon's Souls happened as well as MGS4 being one of the highest rated games of the generation.

So, here we are in this thread. Under the assumptions that pop up time and time again. SW has moved on from this debate and then you bring it back.

#9 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11534 posts) -

Uhm.....

#10 Edited by Articuno76 (18773 posts) -

@Vatusus said:

Huh... japan is still among the 5 biggest markets for gaming... how is that irrelevant?

Despite MS having near zero footing there and Sony dominating the PS3/360 came out more or less equal.

If Japan is such an important market we would probably see some kind of Japan-driven sales lead for Playstation. To my knowledge no such thing exists.

And unlike during the transition between the PS2/3 era it isn't like medium and small sized Japanese developers are still straggling along making games for consoles (that are localised at this point). The Japanese developers left who are big enough to be global almost invariably end up being multiplatform: when was the last time a major Japanese game (sales impact wise) came out that was only on one system (and wasn't first party)?

Japan is a big market. But not for home consoles so much. And they don't have the output quality or quantity any more to help make one console a clear victor. That goes double when you consider how widespread platform agnosticism is for publishers.

#11 Posted by Vatusus (4593 posts) -

@Vatusus said:

Huh... japan is still among the 5 biggest markets for gaming... how is that irrelevant?

Despite MS having near zero footing there and Sony dominating the PS3/360 came out more or less equal.

If Japan is such an important market we would probably see some kind of Japan-driven sales lead for Playstation. To my knowledge no such thing exists.

And unlike during the transition between the PS2/3 era it isn't like medium and small sized Japanese developers are still straggling along making games for consoles (that are localised at this point). The Japanese developers left who are big enough to be global almost invariably end up being multiplatform: when was the last time a major Japanese game (sales impact wise) came out that was only on one system (and wasn't first party)?

Japan is a big market. But not for home consoles so much. And they don't have the output quality or quantity any more to help make one console a clear victor. That goes double when you consider how widespread platform agnosticism is for publishers.

What? That makes no sense at all. Japan was the main reason why the PS3 caught up with the 360. In US the x360 had a comfortable lead over the PS3, in EU they were pretty much equal in the beggining, only later on the PS3 managed to surpass the 360 wich only strong market in EU was the UK, and Japan was the main market for the PS3. Wasnt for Japan and partially the EU and the PS3 would never caught up with the 360 in the 1st place. Japan is FAR from irrelevant. By your logic the US is also irrelevant cause the 360 didnt managed to have a bigger lead worldwide over the PS3 even though it sold a lot more than it in the US...

#12 Posted by Articuno76 (18773 posts) -

@Vatusus said:

@Articuno76 said:

@Vatusus said:

Huh... japan is still among the 5 biggest markets for gaming... how is that irrelevant?

Despite MS having near zero footing there and Sony dominating the PS3/360 came out more or less equal.

If Japan is such an important market we would probably see some kind of Japan-driven sales lead for Playstation. To my knowledge no such thing exists.

And unlike during the transition between the PS2/3 era it isn't like medium and small sized Japanese developers are still straggling along making games for consoles (that are localised at this point). The Japanese developers left who are big enough to be global almost invariably end up being multiplatform: when was the last time a major Japanese game (sales impact wise) came out that was only on one system (and wasn't first party)?

Japan is a big market. But not for home consoles so much. And they don't have the output quality or quantity any more to help make one console a clear victor. That goes double when you consider how widespread platform agnosticism is for publishers.

What? That makes no sense at all. Japan was the main reason why the PS3 caught up with the 360. In US the x360 had a comfortable lead over the PS3, in EU they were pretty much equal in the beggining, only later on the PS3 managed to surpass the 360 wich only strong market in EU was the UK, and Japan was the main market for the PS3. Wasnt for Japan and partially the EU and the PS3 would never caught up with the 360 in the 1st place. Japan is FAR from irrelevant.

So what your saying is the size of US 360 support is around the same region as Japanese PS3 support? And this is what pushed the PS3 to be more or less equal in sales terms to the 360?

If that's the case (and still is the case) then Japan is still relevant from a market share perspective.

By your logic the US is also irrelevant cause the 360 didnt managed to have a bigger lead worldwide over the PS3 even though it sold a lot more than it in the US...

Total lifetime sales in the US is a lot bigger than it is for Japan IIRC. Which means the chunk it makes of worldwide sales is bigger and hence far more relevant.

And unlike Japan, the US is a 'trend' market for the English speaking world. What is big in the US ripples and sells overseas. This isn't true of a lot of Japanese software which was niche overseas or simply never localised at all. So the numbers don't tell the whole story because they don't show how selling well in one market can predict or influence trend in others.

But I do maintain that from a software perspective Japan is essentially non-factor in determining a winner when you look at the big picture.

#13 Posted by PurpleMan5000 (7138 posts) -

I think the games coming out of Japan are better than ever. It's just too bad so few people want to play them.

#14 Edited by Heil68 (43945 posts) -

No it's not. That is why all console manufacturers seek sales there. It's not complicated.

#15 Posted by kuu2 (7110 posts) -

The fact that Sony released everywhere else before Japan should tell you all you need to know about the market. Sony is a Japanese company by the way.

#16 Posted by Gue1 (9763 posts) -

as a former weaboo I do agree that Japan are currently irrelevant to the industry when it comes to games not on handhelds. Even their anime quality has dropped considerably with a bunch of cookie cutter series all based around ecchi, moe and the same old tiring cliches.

#17 Posted by blackace (20555 posts) -

They still have a place in the market. They still make some unique IP's and very good JRPG's. Their handhelds is the largest in the market if you don't count Apple's IPhone as a gaming handheld. Japan's sales market for consoles has dropped significantly though over the last 10 years. They used to be huge, but Europe has easily surpassed them now.

#18 Posted by Pikminmaniac (8850 posts) -

I feel like the west should learn more from Japan. In very general terms, Japanese games tend to focus on gameplay and design where western games tend to focus more on presentation and story. Like I said, this is a big generalization, but I feel it's true in a lot of cases.

Some people think their focus on these aspects is them clinging to the past, but these aspects are what diferentiate gaming from other mediums. They SHOULD be a major focus in every video game. In that way, I still think they are ahead of the west. They still dominate the Hack n Slash and fighting genres.

#19 Posted by tymeservesfate (1669 posts) -

well the Xbox 360 sold almost nothing there last gen and still came in second over the ps3 soooo, yea, Japan is pretty irrelevant.

#20 Posted by juarbles (801 posts) -

They will never be as irrelevant as the xbone and the xboners.

#21 Posted by Chutebox (36989 posts) -

@tymeservesfate: 360 outsold ps3 by a lot in US yet the consoles sold the same. I guess US is irrelevant too

#22 Posted by Motokid6 (5426 posts) -

@Gue1: Yeaaa they need to bring Bleach back asap.

#23 Edited by tymeservesfate (1669 posts) -

@Chutebox said:

@tymeservesfate: 360 outsold ps3 by a lot in US yet the consoles sold the same. I guess US is irrelevant too

actually the U.S. is what saved the 360. but i see your point. what really explains it is how much sold in each region...that'll show which region helped either company the most.

#24 Posted by Bigboi500 (29609 posts) -

Japan still makes some of the best games, so no.

#25 Edited by Jakandsigz (4512 posts) -

They have always been irrelevant or not irrelevant depending on what computers/consoles you choose to game one and which developers you followed. It is completely possible for example, to have 200 PSX games and non of them being japanese or by Accolade.

#26 Posted by StormyJoe (5115 posts) -

I wouldn't say "irrelevant", but it certainly does not matter like it used to. Sony sold many times the number of PS3s in the US as they did Japan, and MS sold over thirty times as many 360s in the US as Japan. The 360 statistically tied the PS3 last gen with virtually no Japanese user base.

#27 Posted by Jakandsigz (4512 posts) -

I wouldn't say "irrelevant", but it certainly does not matter like it used to. Sony sold many times the number of PS3s in the US as they did Japan, and MS sold over thirty times as many 360s in the US as Japan. The 360 statistically tied the PS3 last gen with virtually no Japanese user base.

I don't think this is a good comparison, because the Genesis sold well near the SNES without a big japanese userbase.

#28 Posted by Lucianu (9387 posts) -

They aren't as relevant as they were in the 4th, 5th and 6th generation, but what a ridiculous argument to assume that they are completely irrelevant; A argument backed up by nothing, neither is it elaborated upon.

What are these JP companies that are struggling/declining? Capcom? Square? Their horrible reputation is clouding judgement wen they are brought into such a disscusion, because despite popular belief, they have continued to publish/release a ocean of great games that easily made a dent in the market. You can check wikipedia for a list.

SEGA has been doing great as well, purchasing many dev teams as well as Atlus, and releasing great games. They are trying to become what they were long ago, and i will welcome that with open arms.

Nintendo may be struggling, but the 3DS has ben a success and they still make the best games in the industry, bought and loved by fans. To whoever may think about talking about their relevance, fuck your statistical data and nitpicking. The games they make are brilliant and unique.

Then there's Platinum Games, From Software, Konami (soon to release MGS V), Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue), Level-5 (Ni no Kuni, Professor Layton series). Motherfucking Sony, lol.

They are doing well enough, quite incredible actually, for one single country. Once you drop this popular, but ridiculously stupid notion of comparing Japan to the entire western word, you'll see what i am talking about.

Or trying to assume that CoD/GTA sales = the norm. Lol.

#29 Posted by mems_1224 (46954 posts) -

On non-Nintendo consoles, yes. I cant remember the last Japanese game I enjoyed on a consoles that wasn't a Nintendo game. Vanquish maybe?

#30 Edited by ReadingRainbow4 (13815 posts) -

I love JP games the most because I appreciate how they approach game development, *Cough* Not any of the final fantasy 13 Titles, holy shit are those awful *Cough*

I really hope this generation we see a large resurgence, I think there's a strong possibility in that given with how well received the PS4 is becoming. Western devs have been dominating the play board for a while now with cinematic experiences, or bro shooters. Titles that are largely one and done for me aside from the last of us.

Japans far from even being considered irrelevant however, Fromsoft is Proof enough of that.

#31 Posted by V3rciS (2213 posts) -

You have to be stupid to say that Japan is irrelevant