Car sales are down in Japan, and young adults are less interested in automobiles. Instead of blaming that on a grim economy or even good public transportation, Toyota has apparently found another culprit: video games.
In an opinion piece in the evening edition of Osaka's Mainichi Newspaper, there's an editorial on the "date car" by journalist Masahiro Kawaguchi. Kawaguchi talks about how the slide in new car sales started in the 1990s and even connects the current decline in population to the car apathy that exists among young men. "Guys used to work hard at their job so they could get a stylish, cool car for girls to ride in."
Even more interesting than that connection is what Kawaguchi quotes a Toyota exec as saying: "Home game machines are no good. Playing something that realistic makes the need for cars disappear."
Really? Video games make the need to go from Point A to Point B disappear? Next thing we know video games will be blamed for violent crime!
That's such an odd thing for Toyota to say, especially considering how many game tie-ins the company has, such as having its FT-86 Concept car appear in Gran Turismo 5 — which is playable at the Tokyo Motor Show. It makes us wonder if that was simply some off-handed, throw away remark that obviously wasn't not thought through before uttering. Maybe!
Kawaguchi finishes his article by talking about the next generation of sports cars and hybrid cars. Vroom vroom.