Yoichi Wada, boss of publisher Square Enix (Final Fantasy), has some stern words for Japanese developers in a recent interview with industry site Gamasutra.
"I don't think we can say Japan's strong" in core gameplay, he tells the site.
"Western developers have become much stronger, during the past five years, in this aspect — the game element. For example, is it a sandbox game? An FPS? A cover action kind of game? This is the game's main element."
Strange, as I'd say that's one of the few areas Japanese developers can generally (generally!) be counted on to still be competitive. Now, if he'd said user interface design (like, menus, inventories, heads-up-displays) or engine technology, then I'd be nodding my head in agreement.
Square Enix in 2010: President Wada Speaks [Gamasutra]