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Opinion Drama Game Dev [rant] It's 2020 and most japanese companies still act like we're in the 90s

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Deleted member 774430

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Little preface on my background as a gamer: i've been gaming for more than 20 years, starting with my original Game Boy, and old PC games, I lived the days when Tetris or Pokémon Red/Blue became huge phenomena like Fortnite or Pokémon Go in recent years. I remember when Myst, Simcity and The Sims were the best selling PC game franchises of all time, the golden era of LucasArts,... I then transitioned into home consoles with PS2 (loved those years too), then took a break from video games last gen, only playing occasionally and often missing out on big releases: this continued for most of this gen up until 2016.

Throughout all those years i've always noticed how most japanese gaming companies have always operated with the mantra of:

Treating Japan as the absolute priority, while the rest of the world as an afterthought

This made perfect sense in the 80s-90s as clearly the japanese market was by far the biggest in the world in gaming on any platform besides PC (PC gaming was still relatively new and small at the time, hardware was very expensive, so it didn't count as much as consoles or even arcades). Not only that but it also made sense considering the early state of the internet / the lack of market researches and most importantly the production costs back then: investing on a worldwide release was both a question mark and a giant risk.

This mentality of treating the west as the last wheel of the wagon has always been even more obvious in Europe, where we often had to deal with japanese companies completely skipping the old continent, thinking it's not relevant enough, or dealing with big delays even after the US release.

But as we all know time has changed, gaming has grown a lot here, while japan "hardcore" (so not counting mobile) gaming market has started to decline, and now US, Europe or even China are arguargbly far more relevant.

What really hasn't changed is the way most japanese studios/gaming companies see gaming, and that business strategy have more and more started to become out of touch, to the point where it's almost unbearable considering the age we live in:

I LOVE Japanese games but absolutely HATE most of the companies behind them.

The following is just a summary of some of the annoying practices and a few examples, i really wish they fade in this new decade, since there are plenty of data which shows how relevant are western markets and how simultaneous worldwide releases are more than feasible nowadays, and localization shouldn't be considered a valid excuse anymore considering it can all be planned in advance.

Most of the time the big reason why all these release issues are still a thing, is the lack of resources put into western branches and localization teams.

Note: I won't touch on delays/lack of releases in other minor markets like Australia, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, Africa though i'm aware of the issue.

1. Epic delays for the release in western markets. Generally is about 12 months delay from the japanese release, sometimes it's more

Eg:
Phantasy Star Online 2
JP: 2012
US: Q2 2020 (not released yet)

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
JP: 2011
US & EU: 2013

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of the Cold Steel
JP: 2013
US-EU: 2015-16 (PS3), 2017 (PC), 2019 (PS4)

2. Treating Europe as not relevant in 2020, skipping it entirely or huge delays, ecc.

Eg: Phantasy Star Online 2 - No European release at all.
Only recently they said the game is not region locked so you can play the US version, dealing with the lack of an European server.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: didn't come out at all up until the remaster on 3DS
JP: 2009
US: 2010
Strange Journey Redux
JP: 2017
US: 2018
EU: 2018

Brain Training: Devilish Training
JP: 2012
US: 2013
EU: 2017

Honorable mentions: all the missing physical releases (Capcom is famous for doing that, sometimes Bandai Namco too)

3. Handling marketing for the west pretending we don't know all the news from Japan already. This could have worked 20-30 years ago, in the age of youtube, twitch, gaming websites, we've seen these games already by the time they come out in one single country. Stuff get leaked even prior to the release.

Case in point: Atlus USA/Europe.

This could a minor issue for some but yesterday they released the japanese demo for Persona 5 Scramble, but we won't hear a thing from western branches as it's not yet confimed and it won't be until the game is out in Japan.

At some point i'm sure this backward thinking we'll make me sick of video games again as sometimes it oddly feels these companies don't care about their consumers at all, they know you'll pay so why bother improving? The question is how long they can go on like this?
 
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FranXico

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Phantasy Star Online 2 - No European release at all.
Only recently they said the game is not region locked so you can play the US version, dealing with the lack of an European server.
You can thank SEGA prioritizing Japan combined with Microsoft prioritizing US for that. Neither cares about most of Europe.
 
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Deleted member 774430

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You can thank SEGA prioritizing Japan combined with Microsoft prioritizing US for that. Neither cares about most of Europe.

The irony is that it's possible most of their profits come from Europe, thanks to their European divisions which invested in Total War, Football Manager, most recently Two Point Hospital, evergreen franchises consistently among the best sellers and most played on Steam.

While most of their Japanese IPs keep underperforming.
 
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brap

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I feel like sometimes they don't even know if they're gonna release a game here hence why pso2 is coming out 8 years later.
 

stranno

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On the delay front tho, we have advanced quite a lot. Final Fantasy XV was a WW release, thats something you wouldnt see 10-20 years ago.
 
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KiNeMz

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I think it's money and resources. It's alot more nuanced and complicated then just release to market at the same time. They probably need the product out there in Japan to generate some return before they can bring resources in to translate.
 

Alexios

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The Japanese games you love are made that way exactly because they're made by Japanese for the Japanese (first) so, yes, they prioritize that. Then they work on localizing those they think can sell. It makes sense it takes time. The crazy discrepancies you mention are not really delays but just thinking they won't release those at all worldwide because they're too Japanese to work elsewhere and it's not worth the cost/time, some times down the line they change their mind about that and bring them over, that's different to just taking a year to localize a game after developing/releasing locally. It's fine, just chill. So you're a year behind but you have a similar release flow past that year zero. And of course the western branches tell you when the demo/game is available in your language, if they were sharing the Japanese news you'd be angry they're mocking you as you can't get it.
 
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Deleted member 774430

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Seems like all your issues would be resolved if you actually learned Japanese and imported.

Maybe you should take the effort since they “haven’t changed since the 90s”.

More like i shouldn't care at all honestly, cause they don't care about me/us.

Again, it's 2020, video games as movies, books, TV series, or most entertainment products should aim at a global scale, you can easily understand why paying double the price to play an imported version in a language not as widely spoken in the world cannot be a solution for everyone.

I think it's money and resources. It's alot more nuanced and complicated then just release to market at the same time. They probably need the product out there in Japan to generate some return before they can bring resources in to translate.

I can accept that for small companies like Nihon Falcom, but the big ones like SEGA, Capcom, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, Sony, Konami,... they all HAVE the resources to go for the simultaneous worldwide release always but some of them often decide not do it preferring an overcautious approach.
 
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EightBit Man

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While there is indeed room for improvement in certain areas, I don't think fans of Japanese games had it any better than today. A lot of Japanese games are localized these days. Things like Operation Rainfall and the risk publishers took did pay off in the end; they know there is demand for Japanese games. The vast majority of games I own on the PlayStation Vita are of Japanese origin, and things haven't slowed down I think...
 
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SaturnSaturn

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It has to be said that SEGA has really stepped their game up with the speed of western releases, before we were wondering if Yakuza 5 would even be localized for example, so they have stepped up massively
 
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Cato

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Because a lot of these games do not sell super well in the west?
And you know, you could kind of learn how to read basic japaneese? It is not like it takes a thousand years to learn the most common glyphs you need to understand the average game dialog.
 
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Impotaku

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Works both ways, a fuckton of western games never make it to Japan either. You are never gonna get global releases all at the same time on evey game. You either learn to accept this or you import, i learnt this lesson at age 13 back in the famicom & mono gb days and it was a hell of a lot harder back then to import as you didn't have the internet to easily get games from all corners of the globe. In 2020 you have pretty much access to any game thanks to the internet. Very few games are geo locked to region on consoles.

My gaming became enriched once i took the step to import & learn to read Japanese. Depends on how much you really do love Japanese games, far too many in Japan over the generations to sit there and wait i gave that shit up at 13.
 
Jan 31, 2020
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I live in Japan, as i send this I'm lying in a heated futon in a mountain town.

I personally don't think Japanese games are all that. JRPGs are hugely formulaic and the characters are even moreso.. graphics are invariably behind the Western blockbuster games.. i can only assume that the added novelty of the source culture is what makes these games so saught after overseas.

All this said, i agree with your principle. Translation is one thing, but the idea of game zones and release zones in this day and age is pretty hard to comprehend...

But I'll try. I think the Japanese middle class is still titanic and has huge spending power, and their fondness for backing their chosen series with repeat purchases and loyalty is probably a lot more reliable than international markets. Also the aforementioned bugaboos i listed with JRPGs might suggest that the customer pool here has lower expectations in areas like annual progress, visual depth, interactivity, etc.

In short, i guess the Japanese market remains far more valuable and secure than foreign markets, for these producers.
 

Virex

Abrasive, but well-meaning
Jan 26, 2018
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Little preface on my background as a gamer: i've been gaming for more than 20 years, starting with my original Game Boy, and old PC games, I lived the days when Tetris or Pokémon Red/Blue became huge phenomena like Fortnite or Pokémon Go in recent years. I remember when Myst, Simcity and The Sims were the best selling PC game franchises of all time, the golden era of LucasArts,... I then transitioned into home consoles with PS2 (loved those years too), then took a break from video games last gen, only playing occasionally and often missing out on big releases: this continued for most of this gen up until 2016.

Throughout all those years i've always noticed how most japanese gaming companies have always operated with the mantra of:

Treating Japan as the absolute priority, while the rest of the world as an afterthought

This made perfect sense in the 80s-90s as clearly the japanese market was by far the biggest in the world in gaming on any platform besides PC (PC gaming was still relatively new and small at the time, hardware was very expensive, so it didn't count as much as consoles or even arcades). Not only that but it also made sense considering the early state of the internet / the lack of market researches and most importantly the production costs back then: investing on a worldwide release was both a question mark and a giant risk.

This mentality of treating the west as the last wheel of the wagon has always been even more obvious in Europe, where we often had to deal with japanese companies completely skipping the old continent, thinking it's not relevant enough, or dealing with big delays even after the US release.

But as we all know time has changed, gaming has grown a lot here, while japan "hardcore" (so not counting mobile) gaming market has started to decline, and now US, Europe or even China are arguargbly far more relevant.

What really hasn't changed is the way most japanese studios/gaming companies see gaming, and that business strategy have more and more started to become out of touch, to the point where it's almost unbearable considering the age we live in:

I LOVE Japanese games but absolutely HATE most of the companies behind them.

The following is just a summary of some of the annoying practices and a few examples, i really wish they fade in this new decade, since there are plenty of data which shows how relevant are western markets and how simultaneous worldwide releases are more than feasible nowadays, and localization shouldn't be considered a valid excuse anymore considering it can all be planned in advance.

Most of the time the big reason why all these release issues are still a thing, is the lack of resources put into western branches and localization teams.

Note: I won't touch on delays/lack of releases in other minor markets like Australia, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, Africa though i'm aware of the issue.

1. Epic delays for the release in western markets. Generally is about 12 months delay from the japanese release, sometimes it's more

Eg:
Phantasy Star Online 2
JP: 2012
US: Q2 2020 (not released yet)

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
JP: 2011
US & EU: 2013

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of the Cold Steel
JP: 2013
US-EU: 2015-16 (PS3), 2017 (PC), 2019 (PS4)

2. Treating Europe as not relevant in 2020, skipping it entirely or huge delays, ecc.

Eg: Phantasy Star Online 2 - No European release at all.
Only recently they said the game is not region locked so you can play the US version, dealing with the lack of an European server.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: didn't come out at all up until the remaster on 3DS
JP: 2009
US: 2010
Strange Journey Redux
JP: 2017
US: 2018
EU: 2018

Brain Training: Devilish Training
JP: 2012
US: 2013
EU: 2017

Honorable mentions: all the missing physical releases (Capcom is famous for doing that, sometimes Bandai Namco too)

3. Handling marketing for the west pretending we don't know all the news from Japan already. This could have worked 20-30 years ago, in the age of youtube, twitch, gaming websites, we've seen these games already by the time they come out in one single country. Stuff get leaked even prior to the release.

Case in point: Atlus USA/Europe.

This could a minor issue for some but yesterday they released the japanese demo for Persona 5 Scramble, but we won't hear a thing from western branches as it's not yet confimed and it won't be until the game is out in Japan.

At some point i'm sure this backward thinking we'll make me sick of video games again as sometimes it oddly feels these companies don't give a shit about their consumers at all, they know you'll pay so why bother improving? The question is how long they can go on like this?
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 774430

Unconfirmed Member
Confirmed:

Phil Fish is the OP

It's a terrible take, maybe you should have read the OP before.

Phil criticized Japanese game design.

As previously stated, I LOVE Japanese games still, I question their business / release strategy in the west which made sense in the past while now just looks antiquate and fundamentally doesn't care enough about western consumers.
 
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Aion002

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It's because they really like this song:


:messenger_winking_tongue:


Jokes aside... Did you know that japanese studios are way more cautious than most other studios? For instance Nihom Falcom has 62 employees or something, this is counting everybody, and their games don't sell that much, even in Japan, but they've been around for 36 years, do you know why? They are cautious, they plan and prepare to have enough profit to still be around.

You say that they are slow and I kind agree with that, but there is a reason, they don't want to fail, their games sell less, they know that.

Koei Tecmo for example: Everybody likes to think that they are huge, right?

Dynasty Warriors, Ninja Gaiden, Fatal Frame, Nioh, Dead or Alive.... But they are not that big, they work with Sony (Nioh), Nintendo (Fatal Frame), Square-Enix(Dissidia) and more, because they don't sell that much...

So when they delay stuff or don't localize something, it's probably not because they are dumb or something, more like they know what is necessary and what is not.

See From Software, big right? After all FS is owned by the mighty Kadokawa Dwango.... So why they needed Activision for Sekiro? Because they are cautious as fuck, they rather take sure money than take risks and fail.

Squaresoft wasn't..... Capcom last gen wasn't.... Level-5 also.....

Now Sega.... No one knows what they are thinking.... I think. :messenger_grinning_sweat:
 
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Bkdk

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Dec 20, 2018
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This is still a problem for atlus, sucks still have to wait for localization for months and still refuse to release games on PC.
Also some mid tier studios like illusion. They refuse to release their games on the west for no reason. I want to support their games like A.I girls and honey select but it’s a nightmare to buy their games. DOA xtreme Venus vacation is also a game I really want, but no western release.
 

ethomaz

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Most of games you listed doesn't sell well in west.
Every Japanese devs want to release their games in west but they face low sales that makes the effort/cost to localize be bigger than the revenue with these west sales.

Japanese games that have guarantee sales in west are day one launch there.

Devs wants to localize games to be profitable and not because some random fan rant on forum says they are outdated lol
 
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Belmonte

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Third world gamers:




Yeah, japanese companies still act like they were in the 90s. It is why I love them.

And they are rectifying a lot of the issues you brought up. Even when it happens, it is just business, they have nothing against the west.
 
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Enjay

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The 90s? lol japanese devs are stuck even further back. They still develop their games with the intent of stealing quarters from players.
 

Fbh

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Wouldn't say it's "most" of them (at least as far as noteworthy devs go), most of your examples seem to be Atlus/Sega stuff. And overall I think things are better than ever with more titles, even more niche stuff, being localized and more japanese games than getting PC releases.


From a design perspective I like it too. It's why I look forward to big japanese games more than the next AAA GaaS, designed by committee, microtransaction fueled "We'll fix it later with a roadmap" western release.
 
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It has to be said that SEGA has really stepped their game up with the speed of western releases, before we were wondering if Yakuza 5 would even be localized for example, so they have stepped up massively

Now it only Sega would release games that arent generally shitty they would be able to get somewhere.
 

Sakura

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Your title is, "It's 2020 and most japanese companies still act like we're in the 90s" and yet most of your examples are from games almost 10 years ago.
Things have gotten better if you're a western English only peasant, all the big games release almost simultaneously in the west as they do in Japan. The wait for KH3 was only a few days, where as KH1 and 2 there were several months between. FFXV had a worldwide release while FFXIII was again several months between.

If you are expecting niche, small games/series to get simultaneous releases, well I'm sorry but that ain't going to happen. Lots of these games just don't sell well in the west, even if the west happens to be a bigger market. It's why many games will never come to the west period, because the market just doesn't exist.

But again, games that ARE big in the west, do see much faster releases in the west than they did before.
 
D

Deleted member 774430

Unconfirmed Member
Your title is, "It's 2020 and most japanese companies still act like we're in the 90s" and yet most of your examples are from games almost 10 years ago.
Things have gotten better if you're a western English only peasant, all the big games release almost simultaneously in the west as they do in Japan. The wait for KH3 was only a few days, where as KH1 and 2 there were several months between. FFXV had a worldwide release while FFXIII was again several months between.

If you are expecting niche, small games/series to get simultaneous releases, well I'm sorry but that ain't going to happen. Lots of these games just don't sell well in the west, even if the west happens to be a bigger market. It's why many games will never come to the west period, because the market just doesn't exist.

But again, games that ARE big in the west, do see much faster releases in the west than they did before.

I mentioned at the end of OP the Persona 5 Scramble thing: the demo came out yesterday but you won't hear a word about it here until it gets officially announced for western markets which presumably will only happen after the game comes out in Japan.

There are still a number of companies that operate like that: Atlus for every release, SEGA depends on the franchise, Level-5 has big delays in general nowadays but also because of localization, Marvelous often still,... sometimes even Nintendo or Sony. Like Brain Training Switch is technically out in Europe but not even announced for North America, maybe it will in the next Direct idk.

In regards to "they wouldn't sell well anyway", in a lot of those instances you'll notice that actually it was never really proven but rather it was taken for granted by the publisher:

"Turn based old school JRPG? that wouldn't sell well in the West" - Square Enix's thought for many years up until Bravely Default came out.


The idea that i have, and maybe i'm off-base, but after reading so many statements of "we didn't expect to sell this much here" is that Japanese publishers often don't have clear vision of what can or cannot sell in the west, so they prefer to not bother too much while keeping low expectations. In many cases it is still the mentality of making sure it succeeds in homeland, then whatever happens outside we don't know, we'll think about later.

Then obviously there are franchises made for a global audience in mind like Final Fantasy since VI/VII, Pokémon, Super Mario, etc.

But those who said, it goes both ways, western publishers often see Japan as an afterthought, they are absolutely right as well, and you're also right that looking at a broader picture it is getting better compared to 20 years ago.
 
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Paltheos

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Just noting here that Legend of Heroes is a cherry-picked example. I love the games but 1) They're niche and 2) They're gargantuan. They're loaded with text and they thrive on their localization. The waits on the Trails in the Sky games in particular is actually way longer. We've gotten the Cold Steel games... relatively quickly. (And we haven't gotten the Crossbell games at all lol - see point #1 again)
 

Salvatron

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You cite a few examples that are about a one year difference in release time... which if they weren't planned to be released in the states initially, seems like a reasonable period for localization, especially with JRPGs; not to mention the additional machinations outside of just translation such as marketing, distribution, etc. I'm not sure it's as easy as you might think.. the risk seems high for smaller developers who create niche properties in Japan that may not have a correlating product in the west to put up against for comparison.
 
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Hypegaming

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Seems like all your issues would be resolved if you actually learned Japanese and imported.

Maybe you should take the effort since they “haven’t changed since the 90s”.
Maybe it's unreasonable to expect a consumer to learn a new language to consume products?
 
Dec 22, 2019
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Little preface on my background as a gamer: i've been gaming for more than 20 years, starting with my original Game Boy, and old PC games, I lived the days when Tetris or Pokémon Red/Blue became huge phenomena like Fortnite or Pokémon Go in recent years. I remember when Myst, Simcity and The Sims were the best selling PC game franchises of all time, the golden era of LucasArts,... I then transitioned into home consoles with PS2 (loved those years too), then took a break from video games last gen, only playing occasionally and often missing out on big releases: this continued for most of this gen up until 2016.

Throughout all those years i've always noticed how most japanese gaming companies have always operated with the mantra of:

Treating Japan as the absolute priority, while the rest of the world as an afterthought

This made perfect sense in the 80s-90s as clearly the japanese market was by far the biggest in the world in gaming on any platform besides PC (PC gaming was still relatively new and small at the time, hardware was very expensive, so it didn't count as much as consoles or even arcades). Not only that but it also made sense considering the early state of the internet / the lack of market researches and most importantly the production costs back then: investing on a worldwide release was both a question mark and a giant risk.

This mentality of treating the west as the last wheel of the wagon has always been even more obvious in Europe, where we often had to deal with japanese companies completely skipping the old continent, thinking it's not relevant enough, or dealing with big delays even after the US release.

But as we all know time has changed, gaming has grown a lot here, while japan "hardcore" (so not counting mobile) gaming market has started to decline, and now US, Europe or even China are arguargbly far more relevant.

What really hasn't changed is the way most japanese studios/gaming companies see gaming, and that business strategy have more and more started to become out of touch, to the point where it's almost unbearable considering the age we live in:

I LOVE Japanese games but absolutely HATE most of the companies behind them.

The following is just a summary of some of the annoying practices and a few examples, i really wish they fade in this new decade, since there are plenty of data which shows how relevant are western markets and how simultaneous worldwide releases are more than feasible nowadays, and localization shouldn't be considered a valid excuse anymore considering it can all be planned in advance.

Most of the time the big reason why all these release issues are still a thing, is the lack of resources put into western branches and localization teams.

Note: I won't touch on delays/lack of releases in other minor markets like Australia, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, Africa though i'm aware of the issue.

1. Epic delays for the release in western markets. Generally is about 12 months delay from the japanese release, sometimes it's more

Eg:
Phantasy Star Online 2
JP: 2012
US: Q2 2020 (not released yet)

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
JP: 2011
US & EU: 2013

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of the Cold Steel
JP: 2013
US-EU: 2015-16 (PS3), 2017 (PC), 2019 (PS4)

2. Treating Europe as not relevant in 2020, skipping it entirely or huge delays, ecc.

Eg: Phantasy Star Online 2 - No European release at all.
Only recently they said the game is not region locked so you can play the US version, dealing with the lack of an European server.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: didn't come out at all up until the remaster on 3DS
JP: 2009
US: 2010
Strange Journey Redux
JP: 2017
US: 2018
EU: 2018

Brain Training: Devilish Training
JP: 2012
US: 2013
EU: 2017

Honorable mentions: all the missing physical releases (Capcom is famous for doing that, sometimes Bandai Namco too)

3. Handling marketing for the west pretending we don't know all the news from Japan already. This could have worked 20-30 years ago, in the age of youtube, twitch, gaming websites, we've seen these games already by the time they come out in one single country. Stuff get leaked even prior to the release.

Case in point: Atlus USA/Europe.

This could a minor issue for some but yesterday they released the japanese demo for Persona 5 Scramble, but we won't hear a thing from western branches as it's not yet confimed and it won't be until the game is out in Japan.

At some point i'm sure this backward thinking we'll make me sick of video games again as sometimes it oddly feels these companies don't care about their consumers at all, they know you'll pay so why bother improving? The question is how long they can go on like this?
I think you arent looking at the big picture here yes japan hasn't changed at all from the 80s on wards in how it distributes its games but there is a reason for it.

"Throughout all those years i've always noticed how most japanese gaming companies have always operated with the mantra of:
Treating Japan as the absolute priority, while the rest of the world as an afterthought"

Yes because the games are made there in there own country they arent outsourced or made by random 3rd party devs. It wasn't until last gen that japan tried outsourcing some of its games and thats how you have examples like Shinji Mikami and Hidetaka Miyazaki bailing on projects because they weren't pleased with the work. You also need to factor end that japan's gaming scene still runs like it does in the 80s there are thousands and thousands home console,arcade and handheld of games that will never make it state side look at all the vita games we never got.


"This made perfect sense in the 80s-90s as clearly the japanese market was by far the biggest in the world in gaming on any platform besides PC (PC gaming was still relatively new and small at the time, hardware was very expensive, so it didn't count as much as consoles or even arcades). Not only that but it also made sense considering the early state of the internet / the lack of market researches and most importantly the production costs back then: investing on a worldwide release was both a question mark and a giant risk. This mentality of treating the west as the last wheel of the wagon has always been even more obvious in Europe, where we often had to deal with japanese companies completely skipping the old continent, thinking it's not relevant enough, or dealing with big delays even after the US release. "

Blame Sony and MS or even Nintendo for not porting these games State side or to the EU most of the games that come out in japan are still huge investment risk unforsen liceneses/copyright laws, Dev cost, Production cost, Advertisement ect. The thing that has grown in gaming is the casuals that buy yearly stuff like madden and cod. Most of these Japanese games hit a very specific target audience most of these arent pick up and play either some of these games require 100+ hour time sinks before you even get good like Guilty gear and tekken for example.

"But as we all know time has changed, gaming has grown a lot here, while japan "hardcore" (so not counting mobile) gaming market has started to decline, and now US, Europe or even China are arguargbly far more relevant. What really hasn't changed is the way most japanese studios/gaming companies see gaming, and that business strategy have more and more started to become out of touch, to the point where it's almost unbearable considering the age we live in: "

The only thing that has grown are casual/Fad gamers ask yourself this is the dude bro gamer going to ever play a jrpg no. Is the Hopped up kid who plays nothing but BR games and the especial western rpg going to play something like Dragon quest more than likely not. These games dont have unlimited budgets like what you see out of western dev Western devs can spend 10 mill on subway train ad in hopes that little timmy begs his mom to buy he this new shiny game. But 10 mill for some jp devs is the entire game budget. Also blame the sjws, the ploygon,kotaku,ign,gamespot,gameinfomer lot as well since these people last gen went on a holly crusade aginst jp games look at the Dragons crown kotaku article or how polygon though bayonetta is problematic. These morns are half the reason why we never got DOA extream volleyball 3 so blame them if any "problematic" game doesn't come out.


"I LOVE Japanese games but absolutely HATE most of the companies behind them.
The following is just a summary of some of the annoying practices and a few examples, i really wish they fade in this new decade, since there are plenty of data which shows how relevant are western markets and how simultaneous worldwide releases are more than feasible nowadays, and localization shouldn't be considered a valid excuse anymore considering it can all be planned in advance."

You have no idea how much work it takes to translate some of these Japanese games some of these games have litteral 3 college size textbook lenghs of dialog. You translating japanese to english is not a walk in the park type of scenario some jokes and phrases dont even translate that well to english. We could get these games a whole lot faster but the english DUB is what takes the longest this is why you will have games delayed for up to a 1 year+. I rather not have the US branch touch anything at all if we can go by the Catherine full body situation and countless other where one of the morons working there thought something was "transphobic" I personally dont even want them working there if there trying to turn a harmless joke or a situation into a PC talking point that wasn't there to begin with.

"1. Epic delays for the release in western markets. Generally is about 12 months delay from the japanese release, sometimes it's more "

Again translations take time almost all jp games have had month long delays compared to the Japanese release im greatly that we even get that some games dont even get the honor of getting translated or there forever stuck on arcade machines in japan IE: beatmaster,DJ max, Inital D 3-9+O,Maximum tune 4-7, EX trooper.

". Treating Europe as not relevant in 2020, skipping it entirely or huge delays, ecc. "

-Join the club the west also gets skipped over for a ton of games as well for the Phantasy Star Online 2 got hit up MS on there support line and tell them you would like to see it come EU side I read that PSO2 is coming to steam eventually so there is that.


"Handling marketing for the west pretending we don't know all the news from Japan already. This could have worked 20-30 years ago, in the age of youtube, twitch, gaming websites, we've seen these games already by the time they come out in one single country. Stuff get leaked even prior to the release. "

And all those companies work there hardest to make these games impossible to get any sort of attention. Most of these companies dont even report all of these Japanese games look at TGA for an example AC7,Judment,Atlier ryza,Catherine and maybe more got fully ignored for no reason. Japan for the most part has to get information from multiple sources but they have no idea how these games are going to perform outside of japan or if some blue hair land whale is going to start some controversy and get triggered. Even though japan doesnt care they try there best to keep a good image so all that gets factored in. These games dont have unlimited budgets so stuff has to get planned accordingly so these business adventures dont sink the company.
 
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Little preface on my background as a gamer: i've been gaming for more than 20 years, starting with my original Game Boy, and old PC games, I lived the days when Tetris or Pokémon Red/Blue became huge phenomena like Fortnite or Pokémon Go in recent years. I remember when Myst, Simcity and The Sims were the best selling PC game franchises of all time, the golden era of LucasArts,... I then transitioned into home consoles with PS2 (loved those years too), then took a break from video games last gen, only playing occasionally and often missing out on big releases: this continued for most of this gen up until 2016.

Throughout all those years i've always noticed how most japanese gaming companies have always operated with the mantra of:

Treating Japan as the absolute priority, while the rest of the world as an afterthought

This made perfect sense in the 80s-90s as clearly the japanese market was by far the biggest in the world in gaming on any platform besides PC (PC gaming was still relatively new and small at the time, hardware was very expensive, so it didn't count as much as consoles or even arcades). Not only that but it also made sense considering the early state of the internet / the lack of market researches and most importantly the production costs back then: investing on a worldwide release was both a question mark and a giant risk.

This mentality of treating the west as the last wheel of the wagon has always been even more obvious in Europe, where we often had to deal with japanese companies completely skipping the old continent, thinking it's not relevant enough, or dealing with big delays even after the US release.

But as we all know time has changed, gaming has grown a lot here, while japan "hardcore" (so not counting mobile) gaming market has started to decline, and now US, Europe or even China are arguargbly far more relevant.

What really hasn't changed is the way most japanese studios/gaming companies see gaming, and that business strategy have more and more started to become out of touch, to the point where it's almost unbearable considering the age we live in:

I LOVE Japanese games but absolutely HATE most of the companies behind them.

The following is just a summary of some of the annoying practices and a few examples, i really wish they fade in this new decade, since there are plenty of data which shows how relevant are western markets and how simultaneous worldwide releases are more than feasible nowadays, and localization shouldn't be considered a valid excuse anymore considering it can all be planned in advance.

Most of the time the big reason why all these release issues are still a thing, is the lack of resources put into western branches and localization teams.

Note: I won't touch on delays/lack of releases in other minor markets like Australia, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, Africa though i'm aware of the issue.

1. Epic delays for the release in western markets. Generally is about 12 months delay from the japanese release, sometimes it's more

Eg:
Phantasy Star Online 2
JP: 2012
US: Q2 2020 (not released yet)

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
JP: 2011
US & EU: 2013

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of the Cold Steel
JP: 2013
US-EU: 2015-16 (PS3), 2017 (PC), 2019 (PS4)

2. Treating Europe as not relevant in 2020, skipping it entirely or huge delays, ecc.

Eg: Phantasy Star Online 2 - No European release at all.
Only recently they said the game is not region locked so you can play the US version, dealing with the lack of an European server.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: didn't come out at all up until the remaster on 3DS
JP: 2009
US: 2010
Strange Journey Redux
JP: 2017
US: 2018
EU: 2018

Brain Training: Devilish Training
JP: 2012
US: 2013
EU: 2017

Honorable mentions: all the missing physical releases (Capcom is famous for doing that, sometimes Bandai Namco too)

3. Handling marketing for the west pretending we don't know all the news from Japan already. This could have worked 20-30 years ago, in the age of youtube, twitch, gaming websites, we've seen these games already by the time they come out in one single country. Stuff get leaked even prior to the release.

Case in point: Atlus USA/Europe.

This could a minor issue for some but yesterday they released the japanese demo for Persona 5 Scramble, but we won't hear a thing from western branches as it's not yet confimed and it won't be until the game is out in Japan.

At some point i'm sure this backward thinking we'll make me sick of video games again as sometimes it oddly feels these companies don't care about their consumers at all, they know you'll pay so why bother improving? The question is how long they can go on like this?
I think you arent looking at the big picture here yes japan hasnt changed at all from the 80s on wards in how it distributes its games but there is a good reason for it.
Because a lot of these games do not sell super well in the west?
And you know, you could kind of learn how to read basic japaneese? It is not like it takes a thousand years to learn the most common glyphs you need to understand the average game dialog.
just out of curiosity how much do you need to know to play the average untranslated Japanese games like a jrpg
 

Cato

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
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just out of curiosity how much do you need to know to play the average untranslated Japanese games like a jrpg

I guess it depends on how much you play and how much exposure you get.
But people can learn enough of a new language to have simple conversations and order food at a restaurant with just hundreds of hours or practice.

People move to Japan all the time from the west and learn how to read basic written japaneese such a signs, maps, directions, instructions, etc etc all within a few months.

If you play a couple of hours every few days and make a point in trying to translate all the written dialogue, making a small effort in trying to remember the glyphs, I am certain you will be game-dialog-fluent in less than a year.
(learning reading, or listening is much easier than learning to write or speak)
 

ethomaz

is mad because DF didn't do a video on a video of a video of a video on PS5
Mar 19, 2013
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Maybe it's unreasonable to expect a consumer to learn a new language to consume products?
Well I did learn English because I love to play games.... I played RE1 in 9x with a dictionary English-Portuguese to understand the story in the notes/diaries.
I even used to know most of Kanjis used in old FFs games.
 
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Ladioss

Member
Oct 21, 2018
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Clearly you haven't lived in the 90s, when you had approximately zero JRPG released in Europe untill Secret of Mana, "localizations" were truncated because too costly / not enough memory, and delays before a EU offical release could be counted in years.

Japanese editors have really gotten better the last ten/twenty years in how they handle outside markets. It's a slow evolution, to be sure, but still quite noticeable.

Treating Japan as the absolute priority, while the rest of the world as an afterthought

You say it as if it was a bad thing.
With the sheer level of lunacy currently going on in the west, the last thing I would to see is Japanese devs catering to the crazies.
 
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TUROK

Member
Aug 27, 2010
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Little preface on my background as a gamer: i've been gaming for more than 20 years, starting with my original Game Boy, and old PC games, I lived the days when Tetris or Pokémon Red/Blue became huge phenomena like Fortnite or Pokémon Go in recent years.

Thank you for your service. 🇺🇲
 

cireza

Member
Jun 1, 2014
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Atlus look like they finally discovered Europe which is quite unbelievable.

Now they need to discover that other platforms exist as well (PC, Xbox). This is probably going to need 10 more years.
 
D

Deleted member 774430

Unconfirmed Member
Clearly you haven't lived in the 90s, when you had approximately zero JRPG released in Europe untill Secret of Mana, "localizations" were truncated because too costly / not enough memory, and delays before a EU offical release could be counted in years.

Japanese editors have really gotten better the last ten/twenty years in how they handle outside markets. It's a slow evolution, to be sure, but still quite noticeable.

You clearly haven't read the OP in its entirety as i talked about that :messenger_tears_of_joy:

This made perfect sense in the 80s-90s as clearly the japanese market was by far the biggest in the world in gaming on any platform besides PC (PC gaming was still relatively new and small at the time, hardware was very expensive, so it didn't count as much as consoles or even arcades). Not only that but it also made sense considering the early state of the internet / the lack of market researches and most importantly the production costs back then: investing on a worldwide release was both a question mark and a giant risk.

This mentality of treating the west as the last wheel of the wagon has always been even more obvious in Europe, where we often had to deal with japanese companies completely skipping the old continent, thinking it's not relevant enough, or dealing with big delays even after the US release.
 
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D

Deleted member 774430

Unconfirmed Member
You have no idea how much work it takes to translate some of these Japanese games some of these games have litteral 3 college size textbook lenghs of dialog. You translating japanese to english is not a walk in the park type of scenario some jokes and phrases dont even translate that well to english. We could get these games a whole lot faster but the english DUB is what takes the longest this is why you will have games delayed for up to a 1 year+. I rather not have the US branch touch anything at all if we can go by the Catherine full body situation and countless other where one of the morons working there thought something was "transphobic" I personally dont even want them working there if there trying to turn a harmless joke or a situation into a PC talking point that wasn't there to begin with.

...

Again translations take time almost all jp games have had month long delays compared to the Japanese release im greatly that we even get that some games dont even get the honor of getting translated or there forever stuck on arcade machines in japan IE: beatmaster,DJ max, Inital D 3-9+O,Maximum tune 4-7, EX trooper.

This is all true, except if you go for a simultaneous release you'd factor in all that work before, and don't release the game UNTIL it's fully localized.

I believe everything they say about how hard it is to localize a japanese game properly but this only reinforce the idea that western release for those games is clearly an afterthought and they often don't even start to work on that before launch in Japan, to then realize they cannot rush that work in 2-3 months and announce the delay for more localization time needed.

Either that or localization teams / western branches not being as big as they should be, not getting enough resources (which sometimes is also an issue)

And all those companies work there hardest to make these games impossible to get any sort of attention. Most of these companies dont even report all of these Japanese games look at TGA for an example AC7,Judment,Atlier ryza,Catherine and maybe more got fully ignored for no reason.

If you are referring to Japanese media not reporting enough about those games, well there is also another story to tell there.

Japanese companies who make games primarily for japan audience but they focus on PS4 instead of Switch, which is not the most popular platform there and it's not even close. We could mention Nihon Falcom there.

I don't blame them btw, it's a choice and should be respected, but you should expect a Switch release to get more attention there these days.

If you are referring to western media not being present at TGS i'd agree even though again, the show is 100% targeted to the japanese audience for the japan market with for examples panels only in japanese with no live translations.
 

Ladioss

Member
Oct 21, 2018
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You clearly haven't read the OP in its entirety as i talked about that :messenger_tears_of_joy:

I did, and in spite of your caveat, and I still have a hard time swallowing the leadin. Be it marketing, release, translation, and general availability, we are worlds away from what was the situation during most of the 90s.
 
Dec 22, 2019
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This is all true, except if you go for a simultaneous release you'd factor in all that work before, and don't release the game UNTIL it's fully localized.

I believe everything they say about how hard it is to localize a japanese game properly but this only reinforce the idea that western release for those games is clearly an afterthought and they often don't even start to work on that before launch in Japan, to then realize they cannot rush that work in 2-3 months and announce the delay for more localization time needed.

Either that or localization teams / western branches not being as big as they should be, not getting enough resources (which sometimes is also an issue)



If you are referring to Japanese media not reporting enough about those games, well there is also another story to tell there.

Japanese companies who make games primarily for japan audience but they focus on PS4 instead of Switch, which is not the most popular platform there and it's not even close. We could mention Nihon Falcom there.

I don't blame them btw, it's a choice and should be respected, but you should expect a Switch release to get more attention there these days.

If you are referring to western media not being present at TGS i'd agree even though again, the show is 100% targeted to the japanese audience for the japan market with for examples panels only in japanese with no live translations.


"This is all true, except if you go for a simultaneous release you'd factor in all that work before, and don't release the game UNTIL it's fully localized.
I believe everything they say about how hard it is to localize a japanese game properly but this only reinforce the idea that western release for those games is clearly an afterthought and they often don't even start to work on that before launch in Japan, to then realize they cannot rush that work in 2-3 months and announce the delay for more localization time needed.
Either that or localization teams / western branches not being as big as they should be, not getting enough resources (which sometimes is also an issue) "

Most of the time it is an afterthought or what I should say is that its a strategic plan with many steps like someone else said in this thread Falcom has been around for year and there games are made with a almost indie budget. But they still make a profit and can continue to make games I rather japan keep up this then trying to do what they did last gen which was just release games over her with extremely inflated budgets and then almost going brankrupt like capcom and sega. And like I stated before I rather the US branches have 0 power we already saw what happened to the fan sub translator this week. I dont want any of that getting any whore than it already is either DUB in how like what Aniplex does or have keep doing it the way it is now. I dont want 3rd party random translators pulling another prison school or Kobayashi's Dragon Maid situation no.


"If you are referring to Japanese media not reporting enough about those games, well there is also another story to tell there.
Japanese companies who make games primarily for japan audience but they focus on PS4 instead of Switch, which is not the most popular platform there and it's not even close. We could mention Nihon Falcom there.
I don't blame them btw, it's a choice and should be respected, but you should expect a Switch release to get more attention there these days.
If you are referring to western media not being present at TGS i'd agree even though again, the show is 100% targeted to the japanese audience for the japan market with for examples panels only in japanese with no live translations. "

I think you missed what I was saying the Western game industry is trying to snub japan the western media doesnt report on those games for BS reasons or they get ignored because it would make all these western game companies look like ever worst scumbags then they already are. I was talking about the TGAs which is the Game awards which is what I was talking about not TGS which is tokyo game show. The game Awards has snubbed japanes games these last 4+ years when most of those games make the western games look like cheap trash so its a clear bias there.
 

Northeastmonk

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Mar 18, 2013
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I think what you’re witnessing is also “culture shock”. Japan in general don’t like a lot of change. What they’re use to or what works in the market is what the market will have. I feel like Japan retains a lot of their strong assets from the 80’s, 90’s, the 00’s, the 2000-teens, and now.

When did Final Fantasy start launching multi-plat? Final Fantasy XIII and the Xbox One didn’t exactly dominate in Japan. IMO Japan was also faced with change that didn’t improve upon the market. A company is going to delay it because they feel like they can make it better.

I remember reading where Japan also had to work with under powered tools to make games. So they’re smaller teams, making amazing games, and the smaller games get thrown in some office waiting to be localized.

I think if you had more support in terms of 1 or 2 small buildings scattered across the US then you’d see an improvement. Unfortunately, I think you see some games break even or sell 100k units from what they do now. As long as the games come out, what’s the problem?
 

HelpYouFall

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Jul 26, 2019
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You sound entitled. Demand and supply dictate a market, not you or your personal needs. And apparently, the demand isn't AS high as you would assume to make it worth the effort often.
 
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Quezacolt

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Jan 8, 2019
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Just let japan be how it is, the last thing i want is for my jp games to become more like the western ones. I don't mind waiting a bit longer for a game to be released here, as long as the localization is good, and outside of some visual novels and super niche titles, i'd say most of the things we want get released here nowadays.