Print 34 comment(s) - last by WTFiSJuiCE.. on Jan 29 at 5:12 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

I always thought Japanese games declined since 3D
By bkslopper on 1/26/2009 11:19:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'd go back further than Xbox and say their decline began with the PS1. Before the PS1, the Japanese were almost untouchable and most of the best and original games came from there. PS1 is still Japanese made, but it opened the door to more Western developers with its cheap development costs and media.

Original games like Wipeout, Destruction Derby, Warhawk, and Twisted Metal were made by Western developers while the Japanese continued to shovel out sequels from their 80's heydays (Metal Gear Solid, Mario 64, Zelda 64, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, FZero 64, etc.) I switched from being a Nintendo fan to a Sony fan overnight. Xbox accelerated the decline since the hotbed of Western gaming, the PC, now had an easy to port console.

I think the comparison between the 2 cultures can be summed up in a nutshell. Square Enix versus Bioware. Square RPG's are very polished, bland, and have little to no input from the player when it comes to dialogue. Bioware RPG's tend to think a bit more outside the box and let the player (GASP!) make a few choices in their character development, yet their games tend to have a lot of glitches.

I think in a perfect world, companies like Bioware would design games and have the perfectionist-obsessed Japanese toil with the game code to make it work.

By afkrotch on 1/26/2009 12:18:22 PM , Rating: 2
I just think it's cause less and less games are just making it to the western side of the world. Look at how many Western games don't make it to the East or how many Eastern games don't make it to the West.

It's due to the difference in the type of games we enjoy or they enjoy. I hate visual novel games. I don't know how the Japanese can ever play them. All you do is click next like...forever. Making maybe 10 actual choices in the game for different endings. It's like 99.9% story, 0.01% game.

By WTFiSJuiCE on 1/26/2009 5:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah visual novels are one of those genres where you either obsessively love them or hate them.

@bkslopper: While I don't think anyone would contest the fact of Nintendo shoveling out sequels of 80's IPs, equally I don't think anyone would argue that the majority of the West also shoveled those titles into their game collections so why change that if it isn't broken and it still isn't.

Concepts like Twisted Metal, wipeout, and Destruction Derby were original and fun, but by no means did they create a decline in Japanese dominance on the PS1. Western developers saw success as did Japanese low-budget developers. Square easily maintained it's dominance over the RPG market during the PS1 lifespan as other Japanese developers enjoyed success as well.

My favorite PS1 RPG? "Final Fantasy Tactics" (Yes I said it...not FF7, altho it was an excellent title)
Favorite PS1 Fighting Game? "Rival Schools" by Capcom
PS1 action-adventure game? "Castlevania: SoTN" by KCE Tokyo
PS1 Racing? "Gran Turismo 2" by Polyphony Digital
PS1 Platformer? Jumping Flash 2,by Exact/Crash Bandicoot 1 by Naughty Dog (score 1 for Japan and US there)
and lastly, PS1 Sports Game: Hot Shots Golf by Camelot Software Planning

Now if you had said PS2, I would be inclined to agree. It seems to me that this was the age where graphics really began to take precedent over other game aspects of quality. With this, it felt like there was a lack of willingness for people to try low-budget games and since we are in the West, There's a lot less risk to get low-budget western games out to shelves and have them not sell than it is with Japanese imports.

I've played Final Fantasy IV a minimum of 16 times, VI min. 10 times, Chrono Trigger min. 9 times, Seiken Densetsu min. 7 times, FFT 14 times, FM3 5 times, FF7 7 times, etc., the list goes on and on.
Gimme some HD 2D Sprites, good chars, an awesome storyline coupled w/ an unforgettable soundtrack and you guys can have your expensive 3D blockbusters.

I've been a Square fan since the late 80s...but it is true that the overall quality of many of their games have severely declined in the interest of pursuing graphics quality. I haven't been wow'd by a Square storyline since Final Fantasy Tactics, Front Mission 3, and Vagrant Story.

My best bud is an Xbox player and I've been a supporter of Sony since the PS1, we were both very interested in the Last Remnant since not only was it for both consoles, but for the PC as well. However, upon reading up on the game and watching videos of the gameplay, we both decided that we were not impressed at all. Since he refuses to play MMOs, its almost impossible to find an rpg to play together.

Yet another disappointment there.

RE: I always thought Japanese games declined since 3D
By daar on 1/27/2009 1:14:03 AM , Rating: 2
I hear ya man...although I'm still looking forward to SF3 and Tekken 6 for fighters :)

By afkrotch on 1/27/2009 11:18:44 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a big fan of Japanese fighters. Melty Blood, Guilty Gear, etc.

I'll probably try out the Arcana Hearts. Bought Fate/Tiger Colloseum, but it's not all that great of a game. Hella easy to beat all players. 3 hits in a row and the other fighter falls. As soon as they get up, hit them 3 more times. Repeat til you win.

Still have yet to get Soul Caliber 4. Battle Fantasia is complete crap.

By bkslopper on 1/27/2009 10:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
I'm merely pointing out that most of the innovation in gaming seems to come from the Western developers since 3D games took off. Back in the 2D 8-bit days, the japanese games were much more original and groundbreaking.

This is merely a generalization. You can find a few PS1 era japanese games that were pretty fresh. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Gran Turismo started out with promise, but have gotten VERY stale since then.

But overall, most the innovation in gaming has seemed to come from the West these days. It may just come down to the fact that alot of PC developers have been migrating their games to the consoles and typically the PC devs are the innovators.

By WTFiSJuiCE on 1/29/2009 5:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
so...what you're saying is you're blaming the Japanese developers for focusing more on rehashing titles by bringing out sequels instead of developing more new and innovative properties? Correct me if I have misunderstood that point but that is hilarious the way I understood it.

The Japanese developers developed games in the 8,16,32-bit+ eras and people loved them so they catered to those figures and made sequels in which people snatched those up in large numbers as well.
The US developers in majority didn't have such a luxury in comparison but when they did, ala Twisted Metal, they milked the hell out of the franchises.

Developers in Japan and in the West innovated when it was necessary and when something took off, they stayed with it and profited from it and they still do it today! You claim these franchises are stale but yet they are still selling, that just goes to show that the definition of stale, when applied to games varies, from person to person.

By inighthawki on 1/26/2009 5:19:43 PM , Rating: 3
while the Japanese continued to shovel out sequels from their 80's heydays (Metal Gear Solid, Mario 64, Zelda 64, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, FZero 64, etc.)

You just listed a set of games most people would defend as some of the best games of the time. Your original point proves only that you have a very subjective opinion about the quality of games, not that they started making bad ones.

By bkslopper on 1/27/2009 11:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
Zelda 3 > Zelda 64.
Super Mario Kart > Mario Kart 64.
Super Mario World > Mario 64.
Fzero > Fzero 64.

The sequels had worse framerates, blurry visuals and loose controls. They ported from 2D to 3d and rehashed their old characters instead of finding new ones. This is THE prime reason I switched from Nintendo to Sony back in the day.

Similar thing happened with the PS2. The lack of online support pushed me towards the Xbox and PC. The success of the PS2 singlehandedly held back online gaming community for a whole console generation. I spent most my time on the other platforms that were (surprise, surprise) strongly supported by Western devs.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

Most Popular ArticlesSmartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
UN Meeting to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
September 21, 2016, 9:52 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Update: Problem-Free Galaxy Note7s CPSC Approved
September 22, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki