Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

Illustration for article titled Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

As the data indicates, the once robust Japanese game market is getting smaller each year. Surely, the Japanese gaming industry can figure out things that can be done to change this.

Until then, Kotaku has taken upon itself (you're welcome) to come up with a short list of sure-fire ways that the domestic Japanese game industry can grow. Bigger, stronger, faster. Japan definitely will not may not adopt all of our suggestions. But if it adopts a few of them — watch out North America and Europe!

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Let's have a look, five ways Japan can stop domestic shrinkage — don't forget, we're not talking about how the Japanese game industry can turn itself around abroad, but at home in The Land of the Rising Sun.

Illustration for article titled Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

1. Price Cuts: People love price cuts. When the PS3 price dropped last fall in Japan, PlayStation 3 console sales increased 700 percent. Likewise, the Wii and the PSP experienced huge sales spikes when both got price cuts last fall with sales tripling.

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Illustration for article titled Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

2. New Hardware: Time has passed, and "next generation" hardware has become "current generation" hardware. While redesigns have been released (slimmer consoles, tweaked portables), complete redesigns have not been released yet — you know, sequels. No DS2, no PSP2, no PS4 and no Wii2. A hi-def Nintendo Wii, however, would suffice!

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Illustration for article titled Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

3. More Mario, More Dragon Quest, More Final Fantasy — Oh, Pokémon, Too!: A cursory look at 2009's biggest selling software in Japan shows Nintendo and Square Enix are perennially popular with Japanese consumers. While we do not doubt there will be a shortage of Mario, Pocket Monster, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy in 2010, Japanese gamers want sequels, not spin-offs. Japanese game developers need to speed up their production cycle! And if it cannot do that, the country must create a new, sustainable IP — you know, this generation's equivalent of Mario, Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.

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Illustration for article titled Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

4. Increase Number of Children: The population of Japan is decreasing, graying. More old folks maybe means titles like Brain Age have a market in Japan. But old folks stereotypically are not known to be hardcore gamers or rabid game consumers — children are! One Japanese health minister's telling women they are "baby making machines" does not seem to have done the trick, so perhaps ease immigration? Ha, good one, fat chance!

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Illustration for article titled Five Ways Japan Can Stop Game Industry Shrinkage

5. Robots: Traditionally, the West has viewed the robots as evil — a threat to humanity. Just look how robots are portrayed in films like Metropolis or Terminator. They're a modern day Frankenstein. In Japan, however, robots are not evil, they are your friend. Whether it be robot boys like Tetsuwan Atom or robot cats like Doraemon, Japan loves robots. And if Japan can build Teddy Bear robots to carry people, than surely it can build robots to buy its video games.

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DISCUSSION

Number one has certainly helped sony the most out of anyone but the xbox got a boost and the wii and then they simply settled back down. So i doubt a price cut is really needed at this point unless you're talking the lowering of game prices. Which releasing more game to platinum status quicker i think would help a lot. Games don't drop in price unless they're terrible it seems so actually forcing down the price on good games in a shorter period of time will help a lot of people pick up new games.

Hmm i dunno about number 2. The PS3 is finally hitting it's stride in Japan they just need to throw some more solid titles at it again this year to keep sales growing. Portables definitely Just releasing a new DSI is spiking sales again so a DSI 2 would be a huge new influx for gaming. Same with a PSP2 especially after the flop of the Go.

Three is definitely Japan's biggest problem. GT5 took 5 years, FFXIII took 5 years, Zelda is once every couple of years, and the list goes on. I'm hoping with the fact FFXIV is coming out this year that means their planning on pumping out games a little faster then that.

But the other part is also another huge issue. We haven't seen an amazing new IP from Japan in ages. (At least one aimed at the japanese first) Everyone is trying to make new breakout games for the US now as even an amazing game only breaks a million units in Japan while a huge hit in the west will hit 3-4million in lifetime sales easily. People are talking about how the JRPG is stale and that's part of this fact people don't want the JRPG to change (look at the reception of FFXIII and DQIX) where the west wants it to be different (though how you change a linear level up fest that are jrpgs is questionable).