In a recent interview with Computer & Video Games, Ubisoft's Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin's Creed 3, said that games journalists are engaging in subtle racism when they give Japanese games a free pass on bad or odd story-telling while putting Western games through the ringer. When asked about why Nintendo can get away with endlessly reiterating the same basic stories with games like Super Mario Bros., Hutchinson offered a blunt response.
Casual game maker Gree announced in April of this year that it would enforce a new policy that restricted how much 16 - 17-year-old consumers could spend on in-app purchases. The self-regulating policy came in response to government worries that Japan's youth in that age range were spending ridiculous amounts of money on in-game purchases. Gree put a spending cap on people ages 16 - 19 at around $125 per month on virtual items and a cap of around $60 on those younger than 16 years of age.
According to this Kotaku report, Sega is investigating a recent hacking incident in Phantasy Star Online 2. The free-to-play sci-fi MMORPG sequel was hacked so that vital NPCs players have to interact with were out of reach - somehow put on high structures that were well out of reach of players.
You would think that employees in Japan that work for the likes of Nintendo or Sony would make more money than someone who works at Square Enix, but it turns out that the opposite is true. According to Nensyu Lab's top salary chart (as uncovered by Andriasang), Square Enix employees get an average salary of ¥21.68 million ($272,384.40). Sony and Nintendo employees are paid ¥9.23 million ($116,232.40) and ¥9.14 million ($115.099.10), respectively.
Individuals claiming to be a part of the hacktivist group Anonymous have claimed responsibility for a series of cyber attacks on Japanese government websites. The websites for Japan's Finance Ministry, Supreme Court, and the DPJ and LDP political parties were taken down temporarily by attacks. The sites are now back online.
It looks like Square Enix is editing the contents of its upcoming game in order for it to be released in Japan. The game, (called Sleeping Dogs Hong Kong Secret Police in Japan and Sleeping Dogs in other parts of the world) developed by United Front, will be edited to fit the market in some bizarre ways.
Besides getting a rating of CERO Z (adults only), the game will be edited with a system that punishes players for killing civilians. We have no idea what that punishment will be, but we imagine it will be much more than a "time out."
Capcom will open up a Resident Evil-themed restaurant next month in Shibuya, Japan - just in time for the release of Resident Evil 6. The Biohazard Cafe & Grill S.T.A.R.S. restaurant will have a grand opening on July 13 and will remain open for one year. The strangest part of the story is that it will remain open only for one year.
According to a Wired report, Japanese politicians are pushing hard for a new law that would make it a crime to download or make unauthorized copies of copyrighted material. The new law would also make it illegal to use copyright circumvention devices. Those breaking the law could face up to two years in prison and a two million yen ($25,400) fine. We assume the devices being referred to are like the R4 used to copy DS games...
Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb announced via his official blog that Microsoft will skip two key gaming events later this year: Gamescom in Cologne, Germany and TGS in Tokyo, Japan. Hryb said that Microsoft is changing its focus from participating in large scale gaming events to doing more localized, smaller events.
A few months ago rumors were flying that Japanese MMO company Nexon was going to buy a gigantic company like Electronic Arts. Today we see a more realistic investment from the company responsible for Maple Story and other free-to-play games in the U.S. Nexon has bought a 14.7 percent stake in South Korean MMO maker NCsoft. Nexon purchased 3,218,091 shares from NCsoft CEO Taek Jin Kim for ₩804,522,750,000 (approximately $686.8 million USD).
A Japanese game developer who worked on Dragon's Dogma at Capcom is claiming that she was bullied by her fellow employees to the point where she considered committing suicide. According to an article on Japanese publication Minpokyo, the unnamed 20+ year old female joined Capcom in 2009 and was assigned to the Dragon's Dogma development team. But the trouble began when a senior female employee was assigned to the team too. According to the report, she decided to make it very unpleasant for the unnamed employee.
The government of Japan has decided that it needs to ban 'complete gacha' mechanics in video games, particularly those used by companies like Namco Bandai, Gree and DeNa. Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency will ban 'complete gacha' mechanics because they see it as encouraging the addictive nature of gambling.
While most of us couldn't imagine having billions of dollars in profits, that doesn't take away the sting of losing $700 million that Gree CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka feels. According to this Kotaku report, over the weekend the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the Japanese government could regulate online social games that have players paying extra money to try and win rare in-game items. The items in question are rare in-game idol cards. Players collect these cards in order to collect a whole deck. In Japan both Gree and DeNA use this reward system for their social games.
Casual game giants Dena and Gree have agreed to enforce a new policy that will restrict how much 16 - 17 year-old consumers can spend on in-app purchases, according to a news report from Japan Times. The new self-regulating policy, according to that report, is in response to reports that Japan's youth in that age range are spending ridiculous amounts of money on in-game purchases. The company's might also be trying to avoid national in-app spending laws in Japan.
A Tokyo District Court has ruled that DeNA violated GREE's copyright when it released its fishing game Tsurige Town 2 in 2009. The game bore a striking resemblance to GREE’s Tsuri Star fishing game. GREE filed the lawsuit against DeNA in October of 2009 in Japan claiming copyright infringement. This week the court agreed and ordered DeNA to pay GREE $2.9 million. DeNA said that it will appeal the ruling.
According to an Andriasang.com report, Nintendo of Japan will shut down its "Wii no Ma" video service on April 30. The service, which was launched in May 2009 offered a variety of paid content to consumers such as movies, anime and more from companies such as Walt Disney and Warner Entertainment.
Nintendo announced today that it has managed to sell 5 million 3DS handheld game systems in Japan. The company hit this milestone on Sunday. The system was released in Japan on February 26, 2011. - a little less than a year ago. Nintendo said that this milestone makes the 3DS the fastest-selling game platform ever in the country.
The Tokyo High Court has ruled in favor of an ex-Konami Digital Entertainment employee who sued the company for discriminating against her. Yoko Sekiguchi alleged that Konami demoted her because she took six months of maternity leave in 2009 and slashed her salary by ¥200,000. The demotion and pay cut happened when she returned from her maternity leave, she claimed.
Nintendo has revealed that it has sold over four million 3DS systems in Japan, with half a million units being sold in Japan alone last week - according to Enterbrain. Two of its 3DS games became million-sellers in the region last week as well. So why is the 3DS doing so well now? According to analysts a combination of a price cut earlier this year coupled with new and popular software has caught the attention of consumers.
New data released by Japanese retail research company Media Create reveals that the 20 titles that launched with the PlayStation Vita sold a combined 300,000 units. This happened, according to the firm, in the first two days of Vita's launch. The system sold an estimated 325,000 units in the same timeframe. According to Andriasang - who translated Media Create's numbers, this gives the Vita an attach-rate of around 0.92 games per system. That rate might be a bit higher because these numbers don't take into account games purchased online through PlayStation Store.
Sony President of worldwide studios, Shuhei Yoshida, said that Japanese consumers have become more open to Western games. Of course, anyone following the sales and ratings of Skyrim in Japan already knows this. Speaking to the European PlayStation Blog, Yoshida said that Everybody's Golf and Uncharted: Golden Abyss were the most pre-ordered games in the Vita's Japanese line-up. The system launched last week. Yoshida added that the prominence of the US-developed Uncharted in a line-up dominated almost entirely by Japanese games is an indication of a larger trend in the region.
Despite a recent security breach in November and contending with the timing of Zynga's initial public offering, Nexon will makes its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange December 14, according to Reuters. The social and online game developer will reportedly sell at around ¥1300 each with Nexon expecting to raise around ¥91 billion, or $1.2 billion USD, with a market value of ¥560 billion.
Bethesda Softworks’ newest open-world single-player RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has managed to do what no Western game has ever done before: get a perfect score in Japan's most popular and prominent magazine, Famitsu. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has become the first Western game to receive a perfect 40/40 review score in the Japanese magazine - pulling off what games like with Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire, Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War 3, and FIFA 12 could not do.
With the pending release of PlayStation Vita in Japan, Sony has finally revealed how owners of UMD-based games will be able to get digital versions of them on their new PlayStation hand-held devices. All games will have to be re-purchased to be played on Vita, but those who can prove via UMD that they already own games will get a discount when re-purchasing the same content digitally.
Ding.Dong.Ditch. It looks like Japan is not comfortable with the giant sex-toy weapon in Saint's Row The Third. Even though the game received the highest rating it could for its content in the region (CERO Z - basically adults only), the "Saints Row Penetrator" had to be altered for the game to be released in the region.
Free-to-play MMO company Nexon is planning an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange next month, according to a TechCrunch report. The IPO is reportedly worth $1.3 billion USD, or ¥100 billion. The TechCrunch report is based on a report in the Japanese business paper The Nikkei. If the valuation turns out to be accurate, it could make Nexon the most valuable IPO in Japan this year. The IPO will be handled by Nomura Securities, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, with Nexon expected to be approved for the listing by the end of the week.
It looks like after some tumultuous times at retail in Japan, the Nintendo 3DS is making a comeback. According to retail sales data from Media Create, the 3DS managed to move 58,837 units last week, while the PlayStation 3 sold 36,061 units - half of what it did the week prior. If anything the price cut is helping, despite the grumblings from the investor class. The PSP remained mostly flat for the week, while the Wii sold 5,000 more than it did a week earlier.
According to Andriasang only one Western game managed to break into the Future Awards ranks at the Tokyo Game Show - and it wasn't Call of Duty. EA's Battlefield 3 stood out like a sore thumb in the awards list, honored alongside such Japanese darlings as Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy Type-0, Monster Hunter G, and Phantasy Star Online 2. The award winners are chosen based on attendee feedback - who are asked to choose their favorites among any game on display on the show floor or announced at the event.
The Tokyo Game Show is over and organizers have released the final attendance numbers, among other information. According to organizers, a total of 222,668 people attended the event during its four day run, up from last year's number of 207,000 attendees.
A new single day attendance record was set as well on September 17 when 86,251 showed up to take part on the festivities of the opening day. Sunday attendance was down slightly to 83,744 people, compared to last year.