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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Alarming news... :D

Japanese lose passion for video games

Kenji Suzuki, a 19-year-old restaurant worker, used to play video games five or six hours a day. Starting in elementary school, he developed a passion, acquired four different hardware systems--PlayStation 2, Famicon, Super Famicon and Game Boy Advance--and spent a small fortune on software titles. [...]

Suzuki and thousands like him are creating a huge short-circuit in the video game industry here, which at its peak accounted for one-third of total world sales and provided what was widely considered among the hippest activities for young Japanese. Though the Japanese video game market is hardly in danger of totally drying up--and there is still enough momentum to ensure that the industry can make money when a new generation of consoles comes out--growth has slowed so sharply that leading analysts speculate it may have permanently downshifted.

Preliminary industry figures show that combined hardware and software sales fell for the second consecutive year in 2002 to $4 billion, down 2.4 percent. [...]

Arguably, the biggest factor contributing to the industry's slump in Japan is a demographic transformation that is creating one of the most rapidly aging populations on the planet. In other words, there is a steady decline in the number of young people here. But more alarming to some is that even young Japanese don't seem to have the passion for games that their age groups did even a few years ago.

=> http://www.chicagotribune.com/busin...25,1,2811167.story?coll=chi-printbusiness-hed (registration required)
The ironic thing is that most games developers are claiming that the majority of their games are being developed for an older audience.

Mind you, when you consider the content of these "mature" games, it's little wonder older age groups aren't picking them up. Games like BMX XXX, with more emphasis on wobbly breasts than gameplay, and Dead or Alive Xtreme (nice spelling, don't you think . . . very mature) Beach Volleyball, where the sole purpose of the game is to dress up polygonally big busted barbie dolls in different swimming costumes. . .

I'm personally a big fan of Nintendo, who generally don't bother aiming their games at any "demographic" and concentrate more on fun than anything else. I can't wait for the next Legend of Zelda (out now in Japan, March in the US - and here I am with a Japanese Gamecube chipped to play US games. . .), which is viewed by many as a kiddies' game. . .

Just goes to show what a load of old arse this demographics nonsense is, really.

And maybe the problem they're having in Japan is the same as in seemingly every other country - what kids they have are in such a rush to grow up that they waste their childhood. I'd love to be a kid again, waging war on my neighbour with my huge armada of Zoids. . .
Agreed. Only Nintendo have proven to be seperate to this "we're making the game industry fashionable by throwing maturety in your face" idea. Take a look at the new zelda for example, its about eight steps in the other direction! and then theres the super sute animal crossing which is superb. and of course marios sunshine. Gameply counts no maturity factor.
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