Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hideo Kojima Admits Japanese Developer Defeat

I am officially appalled. Read for yourself:

Game Informer, July 2006, Issue #159

Note: At the time of this writing, this magazine is not yet available on the website, even for GI subscribers. However, if you are not a subscriber, I'm sure any Gamestop with this issue would let you check it out.

From page 36:

GI: We've seen Japanese companies like Konami and Square Enix promising major support for the PS3, while western developers like BioWare and Lionhead are working mainly with 360. In addition to being about hardware, does the upcoming console war have an element of eastern games versus western ones?

Kojima: Well, I don't think that is true. But as a fact, the Xbox 360 is not succeeding in Japan. So, it is difficult for a Japanese developer or publisher to select 360 in the first place. Therefore, they are setting their hopes high for the PS3. On the other hand, for the foreign publishers, since Microsoft is based in the U.S. and succeeding there, it's more likely they could put more effort on the 360. This is just a fact based on the market situation. If you talk about the war between Japanese developers and those oversees, I acknowledge that we have already lost. The Japanese creators have lost to the European and American creators. Therefore, I always say to my staff, "Don't look at the Japanese creators. Look toward the Europeans and Americans when looking at development or technical things."

Kojima goes further to suggest that Japanese games could become a niche market much like Japanese films. This is merely speculation of course, but it's not to say his concern is not valid. According to Hideo, Hollywood movies currently do better in Japan than native films.

Such is odd to hear from a Japanese icon. He makes it sound as though defeat has already occurred and has been accepted. My question is, since he is actually part of the industry, is his perception skewed or is it reinforced? Difficult to say.

Personally, I think Japanese developers are still going on strong, but they may not have the impact they once had several years ago. The gaming industry is one to change drastically at any time, and maybe this is just intelligent foresight from a man with tenure.


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