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Sony Japan Studio boss discusses need for global appeal

Sony Japan Studio boss discusses need for global appeal

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According to the head of Sony’s Japan Studio, Yasuhide Kobayashi, Japanese developers need to increase their market share outside Japan in order to survive. Speaking at GC Asia, Kobayashi pointed out that the Japanese domestic market was shrinking, which could be bad news for developers like Koei, Tecmo and Square Enix, who it is estimated get 91.8 per cent, 89.6 per cent and 86.6 per cent of their revenue from sales in Japan.

Kobayashi believes the names of games and the designs of their main characters are the most important factors, as these are what appear on packaging. Ideally, a game should feature a balanced mix of Japanese and Western-type content so that it can be presented differently in different markets. Kobayahi cited the Minna no/Everybody’s/Hot Shots Golf franchise as one that had successfully been presented in different ways to different markets, and Ico as one that had not. Hot Shots Golf has grittier, more mature box art in the US than in Japan, but it still pretty much reflects what the game is about. In contrast, the US pack art for Ico made it look like some kind of hack-‘n’-slash title, and Kobayashi believes this confused message is the reason for the game’s commercial failure in the US.

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