The lights are on
Usually when a Japanese developer starts talking smack about the gaming industry, it’s DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball creator Tomonobu Itagaki. But after walking the floor at this year’s TGS and seeing Japan’s most recent offerings, it was Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune who had some harsh words for his peers. In a video posted on Destructoid, Inafune asks the crowd at a Dead Rising 2 event what they thought of this year’s show. After receiving a less than stellar reply, the usually reserved developer gave an emphatic thumbs down, adding via a translator, “When I looked around at all the different games on the TGS event floor, I said ‘Man, Japan is over. We’re done; our game industry is finished.” It’s worth noting however, that this rebuke was immediately followed by some encouraging words about Capcom’s upcoming games, so Inafune’s doomsday prophecy for Japan’s gaming industry is as much self-promotion as it is honest reflection. That said, we don’t hear too many Japanese developers saying they’re pleased with the state of video games in Japan either…
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I think he's being overly dramatic. Japan's culture is just as alive in video games as they have always been. FFXIII is coming out. A new Katamari game just came out. There's another Metal Gear game in the works. Ninja Gaiden as well. I could keep going. Yes, the western culture is more of an influence now, then it was before, but I don't think Japan's culture will ever disappear from the gaming scene.
The last thing anyone has to worry about is Japans gaming industry being finished. As long as Final Fantasy is still around anyhow.
Their geek culture may be alive and cool and thriving, but their videogame development culture is becoming stagnant.
They're too willing to rest on the conventions they've built over the past three-ish decades, and not as willing to take chances. They don't change. It's partially because the Japanese people have settled into what kind of genres they like, control schemes they like, etc. and they are not willing to foot the buck it takes to go out on a limb for innovative titles. Japanese Developers have to make money and they're all too willing to feed the expectations of their audience without bringing change and life with it.
As much as I'm looking forward to FFXIII, it is going to stay true to its roots. It isn't going to try and be revolutionary.
Nintendo tried to be revolutionary (and were for the casual game market) but they haven't done enough with what they had, and new control scheme or not, it hasn't produced the world changing gameplay and immersion that might have actually pushed the staid industry forward.
European and American developers are the biggest risk takers and game changers these days. Let's hope the stagnation doesn't spread here too (Though it's not like certain franchises like Madden could get any more frozen in time)
I agree that it's the death of the traditional JP industry, but a new one has sprung up in it's place. With developers like Capcom who actually GET how to make a game that appeals to the world rather than just Japan, also in it's place is the casual market and those who play dragon quest and monster hunter.
I think he means that in terms of the lack of new and original IPs and fresh ideas. He's probably just tired of seeing a new Dynasty Warriors game every 6 months or so. Japan needs to mix it up a bit.
There's no doubt that Western developers (both U.S. and Europe) have bridged the gap with the Far East in developing games, and one side-effect of that is that we're seeing games (particularly in the RPG genre) that are more attuened to the tastes and attention spans of Western gamers.
But Japan is far from done. They still sell an absurd volume of hardware, and there's little doubt that they have the technological know-how to compete if they ever showed an interest of making things that appeal to a broader market.
Also, we need to consider the possibility that hardcore console gaming could go the way of network television...which is to say that there are so many entertainment options out there (portable devices, iPhones, etc.) that it may be increasingly hard for any one device to dominate a market the way NES did, or even PS2.
I agree with Edward. From my point of view, the last Japanese company that really pushed innovation was Sega back in the Dreamcast days and for the first few years of their stab at being a third party. But people didn't buy innovation, obviously, so the Dreamcast died and, soon after becoming a third party, Sega decided they had to be like every other third party in order to survive. In other words, they had to stop taking chances. And when you do that, you stop innovating.
The Japanese market certainly isn't dead or even near death, like others have said. But something new would be nice. And by that I don't mean quirky, I mean fresh.
japan helped birth the sucess for the modern video game industry,they are a country of ingenuity, just because there appears to be a drought(as in the US,by the way...)dosnt mean "its over". I do agree with the comment on Capcom, i have recently purchased/played numerous different titles produced by the developer, and they all acquire my regards. In any case, I doubt Japan's industry has met its end.
There are plenty of reasons to see why he would make such a remark. Usually TGS is dominated by Japanese developed games but this year it seemed to be everything but that. This could just be a slow developing period for Japanese games. Though the mainstream and popular games are FPS's and has been for past years. Maybe Japanese games just aren't as popular anymore.
He may be feeling down and out because the western gaming hemisphere is rocking but hey some years are better then others and there is talent all around. You cant expect to be on top all the time stop over reacting thats a mid life crisis problem..
I have to say, I can completely see why he has this sentiment. The japanese game industry has basically stood still since the coming of the PS2, finding that nice niche but not really pushing forward in innovation, which gave western gaming companies creedance to move forward with their risks, alot of FPS games (which used to be a prodominantly PC market) started coming out on home consoles, then the RPG, action platformers, etc. etc, Giving crazy crazy western gamers with their wild, though mostly violent, ideas more freedom to start doing thier own thing, breaking away from any preconceptions they had from a mostly Japanese market.
One could also argue that It could just be a matter of time and culture. The Japanese didn't start the gaming market, but at the time when arcades started to grow, they had a larger entertainment technology market, so they were able to grow faster at the time, allowing it to work its way into Japans culture. As opposed to the US in particular, where video games were things meant for people under 20, not exactly a large financial market, causign only what was already made and had financing from previous relases to come out here. Now that we, in western cultures, have accept games as a legitimate form of media, we feel more comfortable letting it get bigger and making it our own again.
There's certainly a lesson that the Japanese industry should be taking away from this lecture, but I don't think it's dead. Especially, if they kick their butts into gear. There has been a lack of good new games coming from their recently as western developers are establishing more solid franchises.
Its like they always say, you can't stop a mad Japanese man with a sword and a degree and game making.
I think the same applies to this industry.
Obviously Japan will not be going down in flames within this industry in the foreseeable future, however it really has been moving pretty slow especially in comparison to its history. I think these words really may be what is needed to help get more fresh material coming from their ranks.
Japan's gaming culture is still too far in the past. No new INNOVATIVE games seem to come out of there anymore. @iceap12, thanks for proving my point too. FFXIII!!!??? They're on 13 by now. Come up with something new and good. jeez. Same for Katamari and Metal Gear and Ninja Gaiden. Come up with something new and different please. Like Dead Rising, best new thing to come out of Japan in years.
Summary of the general opinion (which I agree with):
Japan is still as involved in video games as ever, but they are apparently OK with doing the same things over and over. It's 90% repeats and sequels over there. Inafune overreacted, but he has a point: the market needs to be revitalized. It needs a risk taker company to make something totally out of the ordinary, something successful, and that will show the rest of them that they need to think out of the box.
I disagree with the statement from Keji that Japan is doomed with video games it is that they need a new style and edge instead of the same thing ever time they publish a game. Most of the time they are good games through.
There are some great comments here that say most of what I say. The gaming industry has become global, along with almost everything these days. Asia is reaping the benefits of the American automakers' downfall, and now the western world is reaping the benefits of Asian developers' shortcomings. Take that! Okay... maybe not comparable.
Like a few here, I can see the sentiment, but this really only means Japan is on the brink of a gradual change --- nothing more. Not to mention this is under the assumption that Inafune is right in his assertion to begin with.