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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.



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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.


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