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Sony Japan Studio Chief: "We Have to Develop the Global Title"

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Saying that domestic sales to Japan are not enough to sustain Sony's video game business, the chief of SCE's Japan Studio said it must develop globally appealing titles, even though some Japanese gamers show a lack of interest in them.

Speaking to the DICE Summit Asia in Singapore (through a translator), Yasuhide Kobayashi the senior vice president of Japan Studio, said "the Japanese market is really shrinking," he said, and must ask how it will be successful in the U.S. and Europe.

Kobayashi revealed internal research from Sony breaking down the estimates of revenues other Japanese publishers take from their home market. Their figures have it that Koei gets 91.8 percent of its sales from Japan, followed by Tecmo with 89.6 percent and Square Enix at 86.6 percent. Japan Studio of Sony pulls 66.9 percent, which is still outpaced by Konami (74.8 percent) and Namco Bandai (76.8 percent.)

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"We have to develop the global title in the first place," he said. Giving an English title to the game The Last Guardian is one example of that focus. But Japanese gamers' disaffection for such titles "is something the Japan studio is annoyed with. This is our dilemma."

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In the keynote, Kobayashi also explained part of the greenlight process for internally developed games. Sony has four regional headquarters - Japan, Asia, America and Europe. These HQs have complete discretion over what titles they sell in their region. The development studios present to each region, and if none of the four say yes to it, the whole thing is canned.

DICE Asia: Domestic Sales Cannot Sustain Japan [Edge Magazine, and image]