As the data indicates, the once robust Japanese game market is getting smaller each year. Surely, the Japanese gaming industry can figure out things that can be done to change this.
Until then, Kotaku has taken upon itself (you're welcome) to come up with a short list of sure-fire ways that the domestic Japanese game industry can grow. Bigger, stronger, faster. Japan definitely will not adopt all of our suggestions. But if it adopts a few of them — watch out North America and Europe!
Let's have a look, five ways Japan can stop domestic shrinkage — don't forget, we're not talking about how the Japanese game industry can turn itself around abroad, but at home in The Land of the Rising Sun.
1. Price Cuts: People love price cuts. When the PS3 price dropped last fall in Japan, PlayStation 3 console sales increased 700 percent. Likewise, the Wii and the PSP experienced huge sales spikes when both got price cuts last fall with sales tripling.
2. New Hardware: Time has passed, and "next generation" hardware has become "current generation" hardware. While redesigns have been released (slimmer consoles, tweaked portables), complete redesigns have not been released yet — you know, sequels. No DS2, no PSP2, no PS4 and no Wii2. A hi-def Nintendo Wii, however, would suffice!
3. More Mario, More Dragon Quest, More Final Fantasy — Oh, Pokémon, Too!: A cursory look at 2009's biggest selling software in Japan shows Nintendo and Square Enix are perennially popular with Japanese consumers. While we do not doubt there will be a shortage of Mario, Pocket Monster, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy in 2010, Japanese gamers want sequels, not spin-offs. Japanese game developers need to speed up their production cycle! And if it cannot do that, the country must create a new, sustainable IP — you know, this generation's equivalent of Mario, Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.
2. Increase Number of Children: The population of Japan is decreasing, graying. More old folks maybe means titles like Brain Age have a market in Japan. But old folks stereotypically are not known to be hardcore gamers or rabid game consumers — children are! One Japanese health minister's telling women they are "baby making machines" does not seem to have done the trick, so perhaps ease immigration? Ha, good one, fat chance!
1. Robots: Traditionally, the West has viewed the robots as evil — a threat to humanity. Just look how robots are portrayed in films like Metropolis or Terminator. They're a modern day Frankenstein. In Japan, however, robots are not evil, they are your friend. Whether it be robot boys like Tetsuwan Atom or robot cats like Doraemon, Japan loves robots. And if Japan can build Teddy Bear robots to carry people, than surely it can build robots to buy its video games.