Fantasy sells while violent fare like 'Grand Theft Auto' languishes
BY KYOKO HASEGAWA
SEP 24, 2013
CHIBA – The latest version of the blockbuster video game “Grand Theft Auto” may have stoked a worldwide buying frenzy, but the ultraviolent offering is likely to be a minnow in Japan’s vast gaming market.
Shoot-em-up video games from abroad often struggle to gain traction here, where fantasy-style games reign supreme and sell in the millions — even though many in the West have never heard of them. These include the hugely popular “Monster Hunter” franchise, which has sold 23 million copies and counting since its debut a decade ago.
“Most of them were sold in Japan even though we made an English version,” said a spokeswoman for game creator Capcom Co.
Problems in translating the language and cultural differences are among the reasons cited for the struggles of foreign game operators in Japan, a rift that was apparent as gamers flocked to the Tokyo Game Show last week. More than 600 games titles were on offer at the four-day extravaganza that wrapped up Sunday.