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Japanese market share of western game market falls to 20%

Japanese market share of the Western game market has been reduced to 20 percent according to an analysis of the Japanese gaming industry by the CESA. The decline is significant as Japanese game development used to maintain a dominant position in the industry especially for home and portable console game development.

The speed of the decline is also noteworthy as the decline has become impossible to ignore during this generation of home consoles which are roughly 2 to 3 years old.

In October of last year, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada declared that Japan had "lost its position" as the leader in the video game industry. These claims are being backed by evidence which shows the market share for Western-developed titles in their own territories doubled between 2004 and 2007 while Japanese game market share has declined.

Although market share has declined, data summarized by Kotaku revealed the news is not all negative as revenue generated from Japanese game exports overall have increased by 43 percent year on year in 2006 and by 54.3 percent in 2007. The success is attributed primarily to the success of the Nintendo DS and Wii hardware.

According to a senior analyst at Nomura Finance, there are several causes for the decline in Japanese game development. He suggests RPG games which Japanese developers tend to focus are not as popular in the west. He also suggests the right to develop games in potentially lucrative areas such as sports or popular movie franchises is tightly controlled. 

Nomura also states since the successful launch of the Microsoft Xbox the quantity and size of the competition in the field of game development has increased significantly making it more difficult for Japanese game developers to maintain significant market share.



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RE: larger market
By Bateluer on 1/26/2009 9:16:09 AM , Rating: 2
Its also a more competitive environment. A title that sells well in Japan won't necessarily sell well in the US or Europe and vice versa.

There will still be plenty of quality titles coming out of Japanese studios in the foreseeable future, but its a global market. You need to have products that appeal to more people. This is a blessing and a curse though, as a lot of mass marketed titles are utter garbage but still still well because they target the lower common denominator.


RE: larger market
By MrBlastman on 1/26/2009 10:07:57 AM , Rating: 4
I would also begin to argue that the age of the median gaming demographic in the United States is growing older. Generally, a lot of Japanese games (at least the popular ones) seem to be targeted at either a younger age group or a culture that is different than ours. Don't get me wrong, I'm 33 and I still enjoy Japanese games (though to be fair, I've grown out of their RPG style, PC RPG's just offer so much more), I think they need to mix things up a bit.

How about another sequel to Thexder for starters, or Zeliard? That'd be a good place to start. ;)


RE: larger market
By StevoLincolnite on 1/26/2009 10:09:05 AM , Rating: 4
First thing is first though, they actually need to release some big block-buster Japanese RPG games for the Xbox 360, even if it is Ported from the PS3, see how things turn out with Final Fantasy I guess. (Would be nice if they released some for the PC to!)


RE: larger market
By afkrotch on 1/26/2009 11:03:00 AM , Rating: 1
There's actually quite a few J-RPGs for the 360. Problem. They never went to the states. The only ones that have suck beyond belief.

I think majority of your RPGs are going to go to the PS3, as Japanese pretty much didn't bother with the 360. Also your Japanophiles seemed to go PS3 also, or at least the ones who could afford too.


RE: larger market
By FITCamaro on 1/26/2009 12:22:42 PM , Rating: 2
Star Ocean 4 looks like it'll be pretty good.


RE: larger market
By Zapp Brannigan on 1/26/2009 12:53:16 PM , Rating: 3
Weirdly enough the 360 has more JRPG's out at the moment then the PS3. The only ones i can find on the ps3 are Eternal Sonata and Enchanted Arms, which are both out on the 360 as well. The 360 has The Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery, Tales Of Vesperia, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

That being said, none of those games are sequels to already established games, there isn't a suikoden or a final fantasy that would boost sales, as new franchises are hard to get going, especially in the increasing niche (apart from final fantasy) JRPG market.


RE: larger market
By WTFiSJuiCE on 1/26/2009 3:55:36 PM , Rating: 3
As far as 360 goes, you also forgot Spectral Force 3, which is a sequel, as well as Operation Darkness and Phantasy Star Universe.

Valkyria Chronicles is hands down the best RPG on the PS3 so I'm really not sure how you could miss it if you were looking for PS3 rpgs. IMO, I haven't seen a JRPG for this current generation of consoles that has been better.
I can only hope that White Knight Chronicles lives up to its hype despite the mediocre Famitsu rating it got (Although people have been saying that Famitsu was crazy for the rating they gave, so I dunno).

PS3 also has Disgaea 3 alongside Eternal Sonata and Enchanted Arms.


RE: larger market
By daar on 1/27/2009 1:11:35 AM , Rating: 3
Problem with JRPG's these days is they try too hard to be 'epic' without focusing on telling a good story, or have juvenile plots along with predictable characters who spout lines that get cornier with a new release. The designers also seem to have some strange fetish with long bastardized medieval Euro-names along with giving most characters some weirdo Japanese eye-surgery. Oh I miss the days of JRPGS like Earthbound, FF6, and Chrono Trigger....oh and the DQ series before 6...


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