The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, May 14, 2004

THE VIDEOGAME DIVIDE
dance mofo dance
This may startle Dance Dance Revolution fans (like Liz), but their beloved game would have never seen these shores if it were up to Konami's U.S. sales force. Why? Regardless of its popularity in Japan, DDR was considered a game that wouldn't appeal to American sensibilities, because videogame audiences on either side of the Pacific, as well as Europe, traditionally gravitate toward different gaming themes.

Some great observations on this dynamic:
"If you make fighting games, you'll do well in the United States. If you do racing games, you'll do well in Europe and if you make role-playing games and really weird stuff, you tend to do very well in Japan," said Hiroshi Kamide, analyst at KBC Securities in Tokyo.

Microsoft's chief Xbox officer, Robbie Bach, agrees: "Japanese gaming culture has been more about the fantasy of the experience, while North American and European culture has been about the realism of the experience."

In a bid to fit in, game publisher Namco often starts developing games with different end-markets in mind.

"You have to make the game for somebody, you can't make it for everybody," said Robert Ennis, Chief Operating Officer at Namco Hometek.
Does this say something about the different worldviews the predominate in Asian and European cultures? That's probably inferring too much. But it's something to mull. I've complained before about what I perceive to be the sameness about most Xbox games; I guess they're giving the people more and more of what they want, which is faux-realist game situations. Maybe I need to move me and my Xbox to Tokyo...