Console gaming not dead in Japan, Microsoft says
"It's critical for us in the industry that we continue to invest there and see great games come out," Xbox boss Phil Spencer says.
Earlier this month, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima lamented the state of the AAA gaming business in Japan, saying young people are gravitating towards mobile games instead of high-end titles. And before that, influential Mega Man and Dead Rising design Keiji Inafune said the Japanese video game industry has only "gotten worse" in recent times.
Not all agree with this downtrodden viewpoint about the state of gaming in the Island nation, and one such supporter is Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Speaking with GameSpot at the Game Developers Conference last week, Spencer, who heads up Microsoft Studios, said he's optimistic about console gaming in Japan.
"Well, I don't think the number of gamers in Japan has gone down. We obviously haven't launched [the Xbox One in Japan] yet. I'll say we're doing more development in Japan right now than we've probably done in quite a while," Spencer said. "But the development community, I actually feel like there's a lot of great talent there for console games."
"I don't believe that console gaming is dead in Japan" -- Spencer
"I don't believe that console gaming is dead in Japan. I'm not Japanese, so I'm not the best person to talk about why I believe that. I don't have any kind of natural connection to it. But knowing my friends there and the things that they're interested in, and the games that are built there, I think we've got to find some genres of games that re-emerge," he added.
Overall, Spencer stressed that the Japanese market is "critical" and even teased that Microsoft has first-party games in development in the region.
"We remain committed to the Japanese market," Spencer said. "And I know our launch is a little further out, but we're going to be at Tokyo Game Show again, we've got first-party games being developed in Japan, and just as a creative entity itself, the Japanese development community, it's critical for us in the industry that we continue to invest there and see great games come out."
The Xbox One launches in Japan this coming September.
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