Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Reports of the Japanese gaming market's decline are exaggerated

4:30 PM on 07.14.2014 // Brittany Vincent

Japanese gaming is actually still alive and well

A popular rumor in gaming nowadays is the decline of the Japanese gaming industry. This seems to be espoused by news outlets, financial reporters, and even Japanese developers themselves. Through various interpretations of the data Japan does seem to be falling out of love with the hobby, especially on consoles. However, the truth is much more benign than the rumors would lead you to believe.

The Japanese game market is troubled, but it's troubled by exactly the same issues that are plaguing western developers as well. Triple-A game budgets are skyrocketing, new business models are appearing, and the market has not only been split by the diversification of platforms, but the globalization of the market caused by emergent economies. Japanese developers are still perfectly capable of making great games that delight their traditional audiences, but their problem, same as everywhere else, is how to turn a profit off of games that, while good aren't necessarily million-selling mega-hits.

Japan falling out of love with games seems absurd when you look at the still numerous and spacious arcades, many more in fact than the west can boast. There are also still many dedicated videogame store in shopping districts and every large electronic store has a large videogame section. If you're in central London on the other hand you may have a much harder time getting your videogame fix.

Industry data agency Enterbrain states that there is not so much a decline so much as a stagnation. Growth in the console and handheld markets the first half of 2014 is about the same as growth in the first half of 2013 -- around .1%. On the other hand the smartphone gaming market is booming with ads for those games everywhere, from large billboards to trains.

Factors thought to be leading to the stagnation of the market are Japan's population peaking in 2008 and starting a slow decline. Less people are being born to replace the core customers of videogames which are young people. What young people there are have been effected by Japan's economic slump of the last few decades and have been forced to take lower paying jobs which means less liquid income. 

Where have Japan's gamers gone? [GamesIndustry International]

In short, Japan has less consumers for games then it did in the heyday of the late '90s and early 2000s, and due to economics people are working more and for less. However, Japan's decline is due more to stagnation, and not a bad one at that. Although the market isn't growing by leaps and bounds it is a stable and mature market, and the smartphone game market is still growing exponentially.

Addressing the supposed disappointing impact of the PlayStation 4 in Japan, it is much the same case as the North American launch. Few launch titles with many people waiting to buy the console when there is more software available. The PS Vita has also had great success in the first half of 2014 in Japan due to a sudden arrival of software that matched local tastes.

All in all, Japan is still an avid consumer of videogames. For all the doom and gloom Japan's videogame industry is not a damsel in distress and does not need some drastic rescue. Sorry folks, that princess is in another castle.

Brittany Vincent, Former Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Can't play witcha, I been busy workin', baby. Brittany Vincent is an accomplished video game and freelance entertainment writer whose work has been featured in esteemed publications and o... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -