Tales of Xillia is a great game—perhaps the best JRPG on the PlayStation 3. It was the second best-selling PS3 game in Japan last year (ninth best-selling in Japan overall), with 660,000 copies sold. And in a country where anything over 100,000 copies sold is considered a financial success, Tales of Xillia was a run-away hit. It was so popular that it is getting a numbered sequel coming out next week. Yet, despite its incredible level of popularity in Japan, it still hasn't come west.
Moreover, Tales of Xillia is far from an isolated case when it comes to popular Japanese games not leaving Japan. Monster Hunter 3rd is the best-selling PSP game ever in Japan with 4,780,000 copies sold. Its PS3 HD remaster sold an excellent 500,000 copies as well, yet neither version is scheduled for an international release. Other neglected best-sellers include Gundam Extreme VS (510,000 PS3), Final Fantasy Type-0 (800,000 PSP), and Tomodachi Collection (3,670,000 DS).
In the early days of gaming, many titles were never released internationally simply because of the sheer volume of Japanese games out there. Some just slipped through the cracks for various reasons. But now, with downloadable services and less public demand for full localization (i.e., subtitles are acceptable), it has never been easier to release a Japanese game in the West. So why are there still Japan-only games, much less chart-topping ones?
Other than Nintendo's first party titles, this last generation has seen a large downturn in the popularity of Japanese games outside of Japan. The best-selling non-Nintendo Japanese-made game this generation was Gran Turismo 5, followed by Final Fantasy XIII and Resident Evil 5. In fact, of the top 50 best-selling non-Nintendo-developed console games, only eleven of the top fifty were made in Japan. And only two of those were in the top ten.