Culture Smash: Why Is PC Gaming in Japan So Niche?

By Julio Franco ยท 9 replies
Jan 24, 2013
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  1. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +116

    I'm around japanese people 10-12 hours a day. I teach portuguese and english to people who had been transferred from japan to brazil for whatever reason. From time to time, the game subject arises. They love RPG, but they've never heard of Elder Scrolls or Baldur's Gate. They all know final fantasy and dragon quest. Some of them own a ps3 and I ask them about god of war, uncharted, assassin's creed. They've never heard of these games. From what I've noticed so far, it is not only pc gaming that's niche in japan. It's because in japan, they have an array of games aimed at japanese people (which are in japanese of course) and surrounding japanese culture. Western culture does not appeal to them that much. Also ad it to fact that the average japanese has very poor command of english language, the result could not be different.

    Regardless of culture and language, even design choices are completely different. They like their rpg turn-based with anime-like graphics. Whereas most of us like them real-time and more realistic.
    Just the other day, this guy asked me in what ways final fantasy and witcher are different. Among all the differences I explained, I remember showing him pictures of cloud and geralt and saying: "this guy has 'bad-***' written all over his face, while this other dude just looks like a girl". He stood in silence for half a minute and then burst into laughter, agreeing with me.

    I've had the opportunity of inviting 2 or 3 of my students to my house to play the witcher 2, since it has japanese subtitles. All of them say something like this: "Sensei, thank you for this awesome experience, but I don't think japanese people would enjoy this".
    BlueDrake and Adhmuz like this.
  2. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    But The Witcher 2 goes from zero to boobies in 3.2 seconds! And you can bang a succubus! Just like Catherine!

    Seriously though, The Witcher is an interesting example because even though it's a Western game, it's from the eastern side of Europe where games will gladly beat the crap out of you. It's not a North American hold-your-hand kind of game.
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    Interesting article and thanks for the interesting first-person insight Alpha Gamer.

    (shrugs) Appears to me it really boils down to nothing more than cultural differences. When you get out of the areas where PC gaming is the norm - primarily western cultures - anything else is a big "huh??"

    It is kind of curious though that the Korean's are bat-**** crazy over PC gaming and for the Japanese it amounts to nothing more than another avenue for porn.
  4. IvanAwfulitch

    IvanAwfulitch TS Booster Posts: 218   +11

    /start sarcasm/ Oh gee, look at that... a Kotaku article about Japan. Fancy that. /end sarcasm/
  5. howzz1854

    howzz1854 TS Evangelist Posts: 611   +94

    Japan as a country is an odd ball amongst its neighboring regional asian countries. while most others embrace outside culture and modernization. japanese are stuck in their own culture and time. it's not just video game, it goes for a lot of areas in life. sometimes this can be good, other times it can be bad for them.
  6. Littleczr

    Littleczr TS Addict Posts: 439   +86

    Isn't that crazy, their culture has been that way ever since the Renaissance.
  7. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +75

    Not just the neighboring region. An oddball amongst the world. I'm so intrigued at just how different things are there. They're like in their own little bubble. I would like to live there for a couple years.
  8. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    I can relate to their thinking. "They like their rpg turn-based with anime-like graphics"
    I prefer JRPG's to Western RPG's 9 times outa 10. But the game that got me hooked on gaming was FF7, and I have loved anime since I was about 10 so, yah.
  9. I'm not suprising XD. I didn't like their JRPG, their anime style is just meh ( I like anime though ... but gaming is a no ! ) However, I really love Final fantasy and dark soul series :). Japan have creating more and more Western-like games, so it's not gonna be far until Japanese interested in games like Skyrim, fallout etc, etc. But there're one thing I'm sure 125% that the PC gaming will never EVER be popular or even have a strong spot in Japanese PC gaming Industries. When it come to made consoles, They're the best of the best ! I.e NES, SNES, Playstation series, Sega, Dreamcast, and many more !!!!

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