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.
quote: 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.)