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Japan's attitude toward America?

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October 6, 2007 5:52:56 PM

I was wondering about the lack of interest of japaneese gamers towards microsoft. Is it simply because there are no translations of american games to japaneese, or is it a matter of aesthetics? japaneese culture, or mindset, is oriented towards maintaining dicipline and advancing the technological state of the art. For this reason, they prefer consoles / technology that are inheirently 'cold' / impersonal, such as the glossy ps3. do you think that the Xbox remains too 'american' for some? Ie rough, non-subtle. I think that there was an article in THG that compared the wii to the communist party, as well... Also, in my experience, the japaneese prefer the latest cutting edge hardware, but simply xbox is not No.1 in that dept.

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October 7, 2007 1:45:32 AM

Not to sure what you're trying to ask or compare here. Every Japanese person I've ever encountered has been fairly open-minded to America's technology, via it be hardware, or software, and American's have always been or have always had that "ooooh awwww" when they see a lot of Japan's techs, such as cell phones. As far as I can tell both countries like some things about the other while they dislike other things, which I guess in the grand scheme of things, that's something you see with every person from every different place on earth.

As for the 360 and the PS3, both have their ups and downs, but what i gather is that SONY is the worser companies between MicroSoft and SONY. I wouldn't mind either console personally, but I certainly wouldn't invest a dime into SONY at this current point in time.
October 8, 2007 6:01:33 AM

I lived in Japan for several years, and I can tell you exactly what it is without any doubt. The Japanese people have a very unified mindset that they need to support their country by purchasing Japanese-made products. They feel like the underdogs because their country is so small. While they are a wonderful and kind people, they work vigorously to ensure that their exports always exceed their imports. Even store owners often refuse to
showcase many foreign products.

It is very challenging to penetrate the Japanese market with foreign products for this reason alone. That is why they will always prefer Sony or Nintendo to Microsoft.
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October 8, 2007 4:41:49 PM

Whereas the American approach to supporting domestic manufacturers is to impose illegal trade tariffs... [/political] :) 
October 9, 2007 12:13:25 AM

I think it's also the types of games Japanese people prefer. Xbox's slow penetration into the Japanese market is probably due to the lack of games they are more interested in playing.

Though I am no expert in this matter, nor am I a console gamer, they probably prefer fantasy style RPGs.
October 9, 2007 9:49:10 AM

There are probably some differences in what Japanese perceive as good games and what americans consider to be fun, but this is not the main issue (and MS should have realised that a long time ago really).

How many american made cars are sold in Japan, you may wonder...? And how many japanese made cars are driving around in the US?

There is a completely different perspective on product quality between these two nations. What might not be that big a deal to an american with the xbox360, as long as the service is good (I am talking about the return rate of defective xbox360's), is completely unacceptable to the japanese.

With cars: the quality of cars that are sold on the US market is appalling by japanese (or european for that matter) standards. It is what people accept in return for their money. Japanese are willing to cough up a lot of dough, but they expect to get prime quality in anything that they buy. In the US people are much more willing to sacrifice quality for a better deal moneywise (for politeness sake I'll assume that US consumers actually do the quality vs price trade off consciously).

Please understand the above is not referring to individual tastes, I generalize to overal populations of these markets.
October 9, 2007 2:40:20 PM

They probably have their own Lou Dobbs:

TONIGHT DANGEROUS AMERICAN IMPORTS!

I watch Lou almost every night for kicks and giggles, he was talking about E-coli cows last night lol, what a douche, the contamination is likely caused at the AMERICAN factory OH NOES! (Topps is shut down, out of business I believe - 21 million pounds of beef?)
October 9, 2007 2:53:42 PM

Americans don't go for quality - Quantity over quality.

Most people I know have their car 3 years.. not even paid off and they're trading it in for something else.

As for games in the US, most only last about 6 months of play time before they're bored. By that time a new batch of games have come out. In the US we see a large portion of the same games being recreated with different eye candy, nothing really new coming out.

The Asian market seems flooded with MMORPG where there is a non-linear aspect to the games. A higher quality game.
The US has these but only a few last. I've recently been noticing how many MMORPGs are out there and how few I see available in the US. The rate of return is not worth it in the US.

Everquest(s) and WoW have done exceptionally well. Others have failed within 2 years. For the first year or so you have people playing and buying the game.. the programmers can not keep up with the gamers, thus the game gets boring and they quit playing to move on to that new game.

I've seen how people are playing in the Asian market - There is nothing left to the game but they keep playing - nothing to gain, no excitement left, but they keep playing.

Its a different mindset altogether.
October 9, 2007 6:32:59 PM

Ahh, yes. MMORPG. I remember quite fondly the first ever system that i actually owned, it was the N64, and i think
back on Super Mario 64, and how totally immersive that game felt. For me, quality in gaming has to come from the degree of experience it allowed for. It seems that with an overload of hyped up anime characters, etc., the japaneese market has grown sort of nostalgic, and in need of 'immersive' technology; or any highly emotionally coupled device, ie, overly 'cute' 2d representations that hum with an ischemic demented bliss. Ever see 'Requiem for a dream'?
October 9, 2007 6:39:59 PM

Along a similar vein, what do you think the psychosexual implications of the Sony PS3 and Microsoft Xbox have? You know those types of relationships best depicted in independent films / film Noir, the types that have the couple having sex, but with no real passion, or love, just a 'lets share our misery and codependence?' I think they really fit the PS3, wheras the 'fun' happy relations of uptown college guys and gals are best functionally mapped onto an Xbox. I know, it's not really a Q&A swap type question.
October 10, 2007 1:50:08 PM

You ever know anyone to sit around playing D&D? I had friends obsessed with it. I sat around and watched them play at times, even join in trying to figure out the sheer pleasure of the game. It was interesting at first.

The games always ended up with some sex crazed nymph or going to a town and starting a brawl over women.

Did that really add to the game? No. But that's where it went. The people playing the game had more fun imagining that than anything else. I suppose on a more serious note people play for hours on end in games with some sex appeal - a true goal I suppose? Kind of like picking up a hooker in GTA3. It was funny and everyone talked about it for a while.

Regardless, Console games still do not offer the complexity of control that a PC game has. I'm surprised they haven't come up with better control systems for console games. At that point they would be able to compete with PCs in a closer to fairness level.

Ienjoy MMORPGs. The first one I played was MMUDD which by far was the best I've ever played. Pure text, all imagination, and distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Too often these games get mixed up and all the classes and characters meld into two categories: Kill all or die from all.

I liked the Camelot game but it became pointless when PVP came about. A better structure needs to be put into place for games like that. WoW started that with the zones where only your group could enter. That was an excellent idea. They should hold Zones for PVP as well or maybe only allow X amount of people to join in defending a section. Create a second zone for more players. At select points have it back to normal.

The grind isn't all that fun either. Exploring is. Often, games lack places to explore. I'd have a TON of places to explore and items to be found. Not stuff that just anyone can go do which is pretty much how most games are done. Everyone can go to any location - but why not have a location where only select classes or sizes of people can go? But the items can only be sold or used, not traded off to other people.

Players helping players is cool to an level.. but all too often you get players giving too much too soon to too new players. There should also be a limit as well.

I spent some time writing up details to an Asian style or more of a Guild type game. It had all aspects of an economy, exploring, guilds, businesses, etc. Though, I never bothered pushing the idea out to places like Blizzard to put into effect or see if it was feasible. I figured it had already been thought up. :) 
October 12, 2007 1:51:08 AM

Psychosexual console profiles? Sounds like a bad myspace quiz.

I don't think it's primarily cultural. America is very fashionable in Japan.

One part is the type of games available. There are entire genres of games available in Japan, that don't exist in America. Some of which Tom's games may cover in the future.

Microsoft can buy their way in, which is what I think they're trying with Blue Dragon.
October 12, 2007 4:52:41 AM

surrealdeal said:
I was wondering about the lack of interest of japaneese gamers towards microsoft. Is it simply because there are no translations of american games to japaneese, or is it a matter of aesthetics? japaneese culture, or mindset, is oriented towards maintaining dicipline and advancing the technological state of the art. For this reason, they prefer consoles / technology that are inheirently 'cold' / impersonal, such as the glossy ps3. do you think that the Xbox remains too 'american' for some? Ie rough, non-subtle. I think that there was an article in THG that compared the wii to the communist party, as well... Also, in my experience, the japaneese prefer the latest cutting edge hardware, but simply xbox is not No.1 in that dept.


Sony is extremely well established and is synonymous with Japanese gaming as much as any other entertainment company there.

The Xbox and 360 are recent market introductions -- more time will be required to increase market share.

The PS3 is a better machine than the 360; this goes a long way to explaining things too.
October 12, 2007 9:41:58 AM

xbox is just like PC games rehashed. I wouldn't buy a xbox for sure because I have a capable PC that can match xbox graphics. 90% of xbox games are already available or coming to the PC.

Lot of American games are just violent shoot em up and military oriented. Japanese games are usually not.

I personally like Japanese games, Korean games and American games. I really love Final Fantasy series, medal of gear, Kingdom underfire etc... I also love BF2 and some older old school role playing games from America.

I'm Korean and Koreans are more open to American games. MS should try to penetrate more into Korea than Japan.
October 14, 2007 3:26:39 AM

The thing that scares me about consoles is... when PC games start feeling like console games rehashed. I swear UT3 dumbed down the movement so that console gamers could play. Makes me sick.
October 19, 2007 3:27:05 PM

I believe they call this 'platform independence'. Seriously, why don't they just code games in c, and do all the graphics procedures, etc. On a mainframe/Supercomputer? That way, when a new console comes out, or you can afford a BlueGene system, a game could be compiled for it. Call it variable game resolution or something. save on development costs. (would an optimizing compiler be that efficient to do this?)
October 19, 2007 10:32:24 PM

surrealdeal said:
I believe they call this 'platform independence'. Seriously, why don't they just code games in c, and do all the graphics procedures, etc. On a mainframe/Supercomputer? That way, when a new console comes out, or you can afford a BlueGene system, a game could be compiled for it. Call it variable game resolution or something. save on development costs. (would an optimizing compiler be that efficient to do this?)


Interestingly enough, EA just asked for this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7052420.stm

I don't see much odds for this happening. Sony, and Nintendo have too much invested into winning the console wars. Microsoft has DirectX, which allows Xbox to PC ports, but is certainly not going to let anyone else in on this one, especially Linux or Mac.

The closest thing to what you describe is OpenGL.

And I want a rumble feature for my pc games, that doesn't involve cranking the subwoofer and sitting on it?
October 20, 2007 3:54:28 PM

AO rated games, maybe. Just like POWER is good for throughput, and Intel for mips/Mflops, there will always be a need for a specific archetechture to do specific things in consoles. As far as i know, OpenGL and DirectX are graphics libraries; like APIs. Developers really don't NEED them to get something done, but it is usefull.
December 23, 2007 2:59:22 AM

To answer the original poster's question, yes Japanese consumers do have a bais for their own home designed consoles. Add to that the fact that MSFT's Japanese oriented title list has historically been weaker than PlayStation or Nintendo, and it's not a surprise that Xbox sales in Japan have been anemic.

To be fair however, is this (consumer bias for domestic producers) any different from what is seen in every other country across the world? MSFT/XBox is simply in the same position that Japanese auto manufacturers were in the 1970's when they first attempted to penetrate the US market. Now, of course some 30 years later, Japanese auto manufacturers can compete on something approaching an even playing field w.r.t. the mindset of American consumers. And if MSFT is persistent, it will be able to achieve the same thing in Japan. But it will take that long.
February 19, 2008 6:31:54 PM

If you look at some of the Japanese Anime Japan and Japanese technology is usually seen as the center of the universe. I dont really mind that. I think every culture can depict themselves as the center of the universe and the world leaders if that is what they want to do. I kind of like Japanese Anime from time to time. It has an interesting perspective. It is new and fresh.

I think you are making a mistake if you do not think that American Engineering does not go for quality. I think in today's market that there is still plenty of leadership in technology to be found in the USA. It is the Business structure in the USA that is the real problem. Too bland and too mainstream and too risk adverse. People succeed by taking risks. Look at Steve Fossett and the people working on Spaceship One as examples. We still have the drive to excell in many areas. Teams from all over the globe come to the USA to compete in the DARPA challenges.
February 20, 2008 6:01:25 AM

piasabird said:
I think you are making a mistake if you do not think that American Engineering does not go for quality.


In my previous (ancient) post in thread I was not talking about American Engineering as a generalized concept, I was talking about the American Consumer vs the Japanese Consumer and I saw parallell developments in different consumer markets (games and cars). Dragging in all american engineering capabilities is just too much generalization for this topic.

You say it is the Business structure, I think it is the Consumer who gets the products that he/she desires. A big publisher knows that he will have good revenues making yet another franchise sequel versus the risk he takes by financing a new idea. Is it the fault of the publisher, or is it the lack of appreciation for creativity by consumers? Probably it is a bit of both.
February 21, 2008 1:03:32 AM

riser said:

Ienjoy MMORPGs. The first one I played was MMUDD which by far was the best I've ever played. Pure text, all imagination, and distinct advantages and disadvantages.


Oh, I too love the good old days of "mudding". Just pure text and imagination. There was one particular one I played whereby the "high level players" (like Gods) are allowed to create contents of their own like adding their own maps, monsters, and loots. Looking back, the concept is still so light year away from any MMO these days to implement.
February 21, 2008 1:13:40 AM

Back to the OP on lack of interest of Japanese gamers towards M$. I am not a Japanese but I am an Asian who was played a lot of Japanese games from young. What XBox games offer - and that perhaps are what the Americans think the console games should by and large to be ... FPS after FPS and perhaps some others - are just a fraction of what the Japanese games offer in terms of game genre. I personally love the oriental fantasy aspect of the Japanese games and games that are heavy on puzzle solving (has anyone heard of the game called Monster Max? one of my fave). Those one-on-one fighting games are pretty interesting too! Wii these days have some that are pretty interesting like performing surgical operation or turning the houses upside down to look for tiny creatures. Americans may find these things silly. But I am a pretty big fan of interesting and fun gameplay other than all the realistic over the top graphics on shooting ... and shooting.

All come down to the difference in culture I suppose.

My humble thoughts to share.
!