Electronic Arts' push into Japan doesn't exclude EA Sports, and on his official blog, that division's boss, Peter Moore what his operation can do to invite more Japanese gamers to sports titles, specifically its FIFA franchise.
Japan "is the cradle of our industry," Moore writes, but "one of the frustrations of being an American company attempting to do business in Japan is the insularity of the industry that defends locally-made content and looks down on games from abroad."
Moore mentions his experience with Japan while at Microsoft and acknowledges that factors such as genre, gameplay and art design have been factors in making a breakthrough. But, "with simulation sports games, these issues would seem much less relevant - it's typically about the gameplay. So you can imagine my disappointment every year as we struggle to break through in Japan with our outstanding FIFA franchise."
He goes on:
It is clear we still have work to do in Japan to more fully understand what drives that gamers attraction to sports titles. Let me be clear on this. I recognize that there are many factors that contribute to a gamer's decision to purchase (or not) a particular game, I'd just hate for the gamers in Japan to not get as much enjoyment as the rest of the world out of the best sports game of this console generation.
Honestly, Moore could also be saying the same thing about FIFA's acceptance in the United States. Granted, it sells much better here, but the U.S. is also very hidebound to its domestic traditions, especially the big four of major team sports. Soccer, football, kick-ball, however you call it, is a relatively new sport to Japan no matter its popularity. The J. League (1992), Japan's top tier association, has been around about as long as the MLS (1993). Maybe an MVP Baseball for Japan's Central and Pacific Leagues? Hell, I loved MVP in the States, I'd play that.
It might be a little nearsighted to chalk this up to insularity. It could be other things, such as sports preference and the tradition sports games have in Japan with which I will confess, I don't have much familiarity. Whatever the case, it's clear EA Sports is not exempt from his company's efforts in that market.
FIFA in Japan [Peter Moore's Official Blog]