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‘Breaking Japan Is Hard’ – Peter Moore


Writing on his official blog recently EA Sports head Peter Moore has been talking about the challenges faced by western developers when attempting to break into the Japanese market. Moore gives particular attention to FIFA, a game that does very well in all other football living nations, but for some reason has met resistance in Japan.

“One of the frustrations of being an American company attempting to do business in Japan is the insularity of the industry that defends locally-made content and looks down on games from abroad,” Moore explained. “I appreciate this is a unique culture that has very different tastes in entertainment.  But while western movies and music can be extremely popular with younger consumers, foreign-developed games (or yoge, as they are called) have an extremely difficult time breaking through with Japanese gamers.”

It is a curious situation and not one that is unique to EA. Even games likes Grand Theft Auto have substantially less support in the far east than in the west. The problem for Moore and EA Sports in particular is that the old explanations don’t wash.

“In the past, we’ve pointed to things like genre preferences, game play mechanics and character art as issues in breaking through in this culture,” he continued. “But with simulation sports games, these issues would seem much less relevant – it’s typically about the gameplay.” And yet despite the ever improving gameplay of EA’s sports brands, Japan remains unmoved on the whole, but the tide may be turning.

“So imagine my delight to see Famitsu award the game a platinum rating (36/40), a score only enjoyed by the cream of the crop of games released in Japan,” Moore enthused. “That score obviously caught soccer gamers eyes over there, as the game debuted in the top 10 this week, much to our delight.”

Despite this success and the promise it holds Moore ends on a note of caution. “Having said all of that, it is clear we still have work to do in Japan to more fully understand what drives that gamers attraction to sports titles,” he surmised.

Peter Moore Blog [via Kotaku]

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