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American Developers Comment on Japanese Video Games' Weaknesses

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Back in the 1980s and 90s, if you played arcade games or console games, you played Japanese games. Lots of them. But maybe things have changed. Why?

At a recently held game developers' convention in Japan, Kento Kojima, a lead animator at 2K Games, gave a presentation on things he has learned working for an American game studio. The presentation covered both the good and the bad.

It also featured some responses from a hundred or so American game devs that had been asked why Japanese made games were having a tough time abroad—namely, why they weren't selling in the U.S. Via Famitsu, here are some of the results:

• The market has shifted to North America and Europe (in the past there were mostly Japanese console games, but that's changed)


• There's a cultural gap between Japan and the West that even manifests itself in how fantasy worlds are seen

• Japanese games are not exactly easy to get into (for example, their pacing)

• Japanese games are too talky, and their stories aren't good at evoking empathy

• Westerners don't like the body types in Japanese games (they prefer "Roman style" bodies)


• Anime eyes are no good

• Westerners prefer movie-like performances, while Japanese prefer theatrical style performances


• Japanese games are aimed at the hardcore (whereas in the West, something like Call of Duty, which certainly has hardcore players, is aimed at the masses)

• Japanese games seem to be stuck in the past (and thus, smaller budgets mean Japanese game devs have lost their technical edge)


This is painting with mighty big brush strokes! And of course, there are many exceptions to these comments, whether that's Nintendo or big titles from Capcom or Konami.

なぜ日本製のゲームは以前より北米で苦戦するようになったのか? [Famitsu]

Photo: Junko Kimura | Getty Images

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