Usually, when a country's gaming scene struggles, game creators take the heat. But an Edge interview with Lost Planet 2 producer Jun Takeuchi suggests gamers could also be to blame.
Here's Takeuchi discussing the winter 2009 Lost Planet 2 with Edge magazine's interviewer. Note that Lost Planet 2 is designed to be played in co-op and supports online play. And note that online gaming isn't very popular in Japan.
Edge asks: "Sticking with co-op, do you find it strange that Japan has one of the best broadband infrastructures in the world but online gaming is yet to really take off on consoles?"
After mentioning the rare popularity of co-op Monster Hunter and online Final Fantasy XI, Takeuchi says:
I just can't understand why Japanese gamers are so reluctant to play networked games. I find overseas players to be more curious — they go towards what they think looks, sounds or feels fun by themselves. In Japan, I have the feeling users are just waiting for us to guide, to feed them with fun things. The problem is that the online experience is something that requires users to make a move first. Nobody is going to open the door for you. You need to decide to go into it by yourself. I want to create in Japanese gamers that curiosity for going online. Because of course you can enjoy the game alone, no problem, but as soon as you are with a friend coordinating, you enter into a whole other dimension.
That interview runs in the new Edge issue, which covers the 2009 Tokyo Game Show and offers that new spin on the familiar topic of the modern struggles of the Japanese gaming industry. The issue is available in the U.K. and available to U.S. subscribers (like me) now.