The Decline of the Japanese Games Industry

By Strangelove

“Personally, 80% of the games I play at the moment are not Japanese. Skyrim, Batman… games like that are more interesting to me right now. Japan need to make more good games to make people think otherwise.”

-Shinji Mikami

“One thing about Japan – and this isn’t just games – is that things that are made in Japan are very much targeted at Japan, whether it’s games, movies or novels. It’s the curse of Japan. My generation is now being exposed to a wide range of influences, that’s why what I want to make is a little bit more in tune with what the people in the west would like”. He went on to say, “I really like the things that are being made in the west. When I come to shows like E3 and see the announcements and go to Comic-Con, I love all the presentations, so really I’ve been thinking maybe I was born in the wrong country!”

-Hideo Kojima

I know this has probably been beaten to death, but I don’t believe it’s been beaten to death HERE. So let’s make orphans of its children, shall we?

If I look at my PS3 collection, 80% of my games are also non-Japanese. Outside of Nintendo and third-party PSP games, I feel there’s been a big drought of good games from Japan in the last 10 years really. Even if I were to put the best DS and PSP game and compare it to the best PS3 or 360 game,I feel the home consoles would dominate. I’m at the point where I don’t demand inventiveness anymore. I don’t care if you’re original or not, just make it good. I don’t care if the story makes sense or if your characters look like anime characters and have shitty voice acting and dialogue, or that there’s j-pop playing in the title screen. I’m not bothered by that like I used to be. My standards for the aesthetics of Japan’s games are at an all-time low. I just want it to play really well. Just fun and deep gameplay. But I truly think that overall, they havent noticed that things have changed. That games are made with a lot of precision and care, that if something is a bit off, were all going to notice. You can’t throw a bone at us and expect us to run to it. Were not that starved anymore. I feel like they’re stuck in the past and any time they try to stay current, they sacrifice what they did right and fuck it up.
Another thing people bring up is that japan tries really hard to appeal to western gamers this generation, but they fuck it up. Every time they try to make something like Americans, Canadians or Europeans, they never do it as well. So people just say that Japan should make Japanese games. I agree….but that still doesn’t solve the problem. Their games still fall short.
It’s not a problem of stealing or inspiring because some great things can come from it like Vanquish or Dragon’s Dogma. Both games that were made with the West in mind, and they were pulled off pretty well, Vanquish especially. So it can do good stuff. I really just think Japan needs new blood. They can’t stick to what used to work because it doesn’t work anymore and they can’t just apply Western mechanics to their games because they cant do it as well. They need to do their own thing and take inspiration from the great games that have come before, no matter where they’re from. All the best Japanese games have been kind of their own things this generation. Catherine immediately comes to mind. So does TWEWY and Gravity Rush. Its like nothing else and it works.

Short main point of my rant:
People are adamant that this is a myth propagated by western gamers, that we want Japan to fail, but why? Who wants shitty games? Who cares where they come from as long as they’re good? I don’t see how an entire community can come together and lie about something that doesn’t benefit them in any way. A lot of us, most of us, grew up on Japanese games. We love the shit out of them. Were not going to call shit shit because it wasnt made on our land. That’s ridiculous. I think it’s time they admit they have a problem. It’s the first step, or so I’ve heard.

Continue the discussion over at X-Talk.

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