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Why Microsoft Possibly Working With Japanese Studios Is Big News

Author writes "Microsoft is on a crusade to turn the Xbox brand around, and adding Japanese game studios would be a huge statement of intent."

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AizenSosuke7d ago

I think it's beneficial but buying a Japanese studio will be great to cement a presence there.

Why o why6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

To broaden their library and outreach. If they can replicate their aggression shown in their early 360 days they'll be in a better place in future generations IF they sustain their push. There are many Xbox guys that would welcome titles from that region. The dude bro perception needs to go. . You'll never come out on top if you don't appeal to more and believe me. .ms would love to have greater appeal and numbers along with their gaas plans. I respect the fact they're making another effort after their failings in the region. . It may come to nothing but at least they tried. They just have to do better

gangsta_red6d ago

They definitely need at least one studio out in the east if they are truly serious about doing better.

The studio doesn't even need to focus on JRPGs, but games that have that eastern flavor or style that can also appeal to Western audiences would be ideal for Xbox.

It would definitely benefit them along with their focus on single player games.

Sevir6d ago

They will never resonate with Japan, they were aggressive during 360 era, secured some great IP but it only bolstered the Westerns appetite for Japanese games, they can own a Japanese company or two but Japan for XBOX is a lost cause.

himdeel6d ago

Meh. This isn't big news. But everytime it happens some opinion piece drops that doesn't remember or even does the slightest bit of research to see this has happened already and will happen again and again. Nothing of merit comes from it. It's exploratory. It happens and is to be expected. MS should be making an effort to speak with game developers from all over the world. More games is good.

NewMonday6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

Scalebound

ReCore

rainslacker6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

I think their GaaS, and more specifically their streaming plans fits very well into the Japanese market. It doesn't require they bother with the hardware as much, which has never been popular in Japan. But remove the hardware, and they can still get the user accounts, active users, and software sales.

Best way to get that is to have games that appeal to the Japanese gamer.

Signing up for a service to play a game one likes isn't anywhere near the commitment that buying into a console is, and Japan does have a really good internet infrastructure.

On a side note....its amazing how Japanese devs became old news last gen by many in the media, and forums, only to become important again this gen. Why the change? Japanese games haven't changed have they?

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 6d ago
AspiringProGenji6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

I thought they already had one in Osaka already Another lie?

gangsta_red6d ago

Another lie? Who lied about something you thought was true?

AspiringProGenji6d ago

I am like 80% sure that last year supposedly there was a MS studio in Japan already, but If I am wrong then fool me

rainslacker6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

I think they have a game dev team out there in some MS division in the Osaka office. I'm not sure their scope or what games they work on. I'm not even sure that it's meant for Xbox games themselves, or just some support team for 3rd party Japanese dev liaisons

You may also be thinking of a comment from 4-5 years ago where they mentioned they had some exclusives games being made for them out of Osaka, which was reported by a couple media outlets as them having their own studio there, despite those games being from independent 3rd party studios. Spencer I think clarified that in a tweet if I'm not mistaken. I remember the clarification tweet from Phil stating there was no MGS Osaka, but can't refer to context to which it was clarifying off the top of my head.

I'm sure its available through Google, but I'm on mobile so it's a pain to look up.

rainslacker6d ago

OK. Lets assume that MS somehow buys a Japanese studio or three. Then what?

Presumedly, they'd make a Japanese game or three. Then what?

Well, I dunno what, because a Japanese game or three isn't going to mean much in the grand scheme of things, particularly since Nintendo reigns supreme in Japan, with Sony coming in at 2nd overall.....both with much more Japanese support and a significantly larger fan base to work off of.

This leaves MS using those studios to leverage in the western markets, or maybe some asian markets. But, they're still in the same position of Sony and Nintendo having much more of a fan base since people that want those kinds of games know they will always get them in plenty on both those systems.

So...what does that leave MS with from buying those studios?

Well, it means they can have one or three games that will become exclusive to their service or system. That in itself can be good for them or it's user base, but its not going to cement any presence in Japan for them. At least not in relation to sales of the XBox.

Of course, if they intend to push their services there outside the hardware, then it may make more sense. Japan's interenet infrastructure is quite good, so the streaming stuff could be popular there, and if the price is right, it means they get money, and users using their service for MAU's. Something that's important to them. Won't help them in the console market, but will help them in other areas.

I can't see MS buying up some major Japanese dev....even if any were willing to sell. Japanese gamers can be just as hostile towards such things as Western gamers can be on such things, and realistically, buying up a popular dev isn't likely to drive their console sales either way.

DerekTweed4d ago

I don't think Microsoft care much about console sales in Japan. The streaming service is the way to go. Mobile gaming is more popular in Japan.

I just read that Capcom makes 85% of its revenue from America and Europe. Microsoft just want to get 3rd party exclusive on Xbox. The likes of Persona, Yakuza etc.

That's my thinking on this. No buying studios, not opening studios. just trying to level the playing field with Sony in regards to 3rd party Japanese games.

rainslacker3d ago

I can see why they might want some Japanese studios to build games that the Japanese market would want to stream though. Not really sure how viable the market is over there for such things, but they're probably more open to it than some other parts of the world. Their internet infrastructure is actually pretty good over there.

That being said, I'm sure MS also wants those games on their system for other parts of the world, because it does drive interest in the system. But they've done this for a couple console generations now, and ultimately, I think they'd have to buy up enough content to go against Sony or Nintendo, because those systems are pretty much entrenched in the Otaku game market. If they want more western games, they already get those, and I can't really think of any single franchise or two that would give them much of a competitive edge. So, they'd have to spend a lot of money to get more, and there comes a point where it just won't have the returns on investment, and that point is not really that many games IMO. These marginal games for the market from 5pb for insteance, aren't going to do it. Some good JRPG's aren't going to do it because of the plethora of exclusives on PS and Nintendo platforms.

Sony and Nintendo just get those because those systems sell in Japan, and there's a market there. So the localization doesn't take as much for the publishers to greatly increase their sales. But it costs a lot more to port a game over. So, unless MS has an easy way to port those games, it's not as likely to happen. Sony and Nintendo both use a Vulcan and BSD/Unix OS. MS is pretty rigid with DirectX, and the two API's don't always make it easy to port. Hell, 75% of my job is writing tools to port games between the two API's. So basically, the added cost doesn't make it as feasible to release on Xbox.

crazyCoconuts6d ago

I don't get the sense that folks that are interested in the JRPGs and such would be swayed to Xbox based on one or two studios. Dunno, that seems like a market that will take major investment before MS gets a payoff because they're SO far behind. I'd think they'd be better off focusing on winning more in the western markets where they have a chance. Just my opinion...

rainslacker6d ago

I think MS realizes that people aren't going to be swayed by a single genre in Japan. They thought that would happen with some good JRPG's in the 360 days and it didn't work, and they gave up. I don't know why they thought they'd get a lot out of 5pb, and their visual novels, especially since they couldn't keep them exclusive, but they tried with that too.

MS would need a rather large and consistent release of Japanese exclusives to really entice those players into the XBox hardware, and even then, I think it would require buying out more than one or even five major IP's, and realistically, it'd be met with an extreme amount of hostility among the Japanese gamers.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't think that kind of investment is worth it to them, because the cost would far outweigh the gains. Even the PS4, while selling decent enough, doesn't have such a large market that it warrants investing billions in trying to sell the hardware in that one market, and the development isn't going to net them enough gains worldwide either.

Its fine that MS wants to grow in that market, at least on the games front, because it can mean getting more people on their system elsewhere. Sony didn't become what they did on their own software, but by having something for everyone, and that's what MS should strive for, and the japanese market is important to that.

Moreso though, I think that with MS shift to services, it can fit well into the Japanese market, as it removes the hardware from the equation, and they only need to get the consumer to buy into the game itself. They essentially become what could be thought of as an independent publisher in the region, but get the gains of the user joining XBL, getting a software sale, and benefiting in everything that comes with it.

Spurg6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

Mistwalker-Lost Odyssey, Blur dragon and the last story
Access games-Deadly premonition and D4
Grasshopper manufacturer-No more hero's and shadow of the damned
Artplay-Bloodstained

These are studios ms should consider acquiring.

gangsta_red6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

Mystwalker should have been aquired long ago. Definitely a miss by the old management regime.

MS should create a studio and hire the old Ninja Gaiden guy, (Devil's Third) he hasn't been seen in a while, maybe he's looking for work.

Why o why6d ago

Good shout. Snatch up some Indies too. Less risk but big potential rewards.

fonger086d ago

If with the recent news of Microsoft heavily investing in a streaming service, coupled with them making in-roads with eastern developers, I can see them really boosting their APAC presence. I don’t believe the vast Japense gaming community will ever go out buy an Xbox console, but since their network infrastructure is so much greater than ours and that they prefer mobile gaming, I think Microsoft can finally have decent chance of becoming a player (pun intended) over seas.

Christopher6d ago

They go to Japan multiple times a year to look at games. People are hyping this up and setting themselves up for disappointment.

gangsta_red6d ago

Glass half empty eh?

With the recent aquisitions coming to light and rumors of more, plus with just having MS constantly going out there makes it seem like there might be a strong possibility that more niche type Japanese games will be appearing on Xbox in the future or maybe even a bigger stretch of a studio.

Sevir6d ago

Hardly so. They have been doing it since the 360 era, if they're looking to acquire a new studio over there then that's a different argument. But this is business as per usual for MS.

gangsta_red6d ago

@Sevir
They had more Japanese support in the 360 era, which is not the case today. MS has a lot more to prove and deal with over in Japan then they did in the past.

Why o why6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

I do hope your brethren don't stick to their guns on the downplay narrative of all things Japanesey, quirky and games that won't sell mega. Been hearing a lot over this gen. . . . Laud what you have and downplay what you lack which goes both ways so don't get me wrong it's just ms lack more. This past year has shown ms can listen even if it's late or forced. They're not immovable. . They can adjust. All they have to do is turn promise into fruition. They've done too much talking over this gen and from the back end of last gen . . They need these positive moves more than ever

gangsta_red6d ago

@whyowhy

"...downplay narrative of all things Japanesey, quirky and games that won't sell mega"

Well considering that others expect their Western counterparts to always sell gangbusters but hold special niche passes for the eastern games, there's definitely a lot of double standards on each side of the road.

MS has done a lot of talking, but that talking has turned into actual actions so I think we can start to actually believe all this talk and start believing some possibilities for the future which could mean getting back into the good graces of a lot more Japanese developers.

There's already some niche, quirky Japanese titles for Xbox. But I wouldn't be mad or mind titles that never made their way to Xbox to start to appear, like DQ or Persona.

Christopher6d ago

I'm a realist. Others can deal with wishes and dreams. That's not console specific. I pretty much told people to not get their hopes up with PSN id changes for this year, and look, it won't happen until next year.

It's fine to have hope, but hype isn't going to make it anymore likely than being realistic and understanding that one thing happening over here doesn't snowball into others over there.

rainslacker6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

I guess it depends on which western game we're talking about when its said it has to sell gangbusters. Its the very notion that a game has to sell gangbusters, regardless of the scope or budget of the game to be considered successful that needs to go away altogether.

There are games from all regions which can be successful selling to a minuscule portion of the user base. But the attitude that any game that isn't a mega blockbuster is not worth paying attention to is killing a lot of potential for Japanese games on the Xbox system, since most of those games are often seen as niche and not very enticing...at least to many vocal about it. The only exceptions to this would be the mega blockbuster Japanese games, such as Metal Gear or Resident Evil, because there are a lot of popular franchises from Japan that have a dwindling Japanese feel to them because they've been westernized starting last gen, because its what some of these Japanese publishers thought the western audience wanted. An attitude perpetuated and backed up by the media and some gamers last gen.

There is a distinct difference in the way I see the VOCAL community discuss Japanese and Western games, and I see a lot of xbox fan boys, not necessarily fans, dismiss any Japanese game that isn't more western in feel, or a mega blockbuster AAA title, whereas the PS community seems to either like them, ignore them because they're not interested, or appreciate they offer up something more to more people. I can't recall that often where a PS gamer has said that the Japanese games weren't needed or wanted, but I do recall that coming from the Xbox camp. It's died off some this gen though, so there is hope, but I don't see a significant demand for these niche games on the system from the userbase itself.

There were always quirky and niche Japanese titles on Xbox...all the way back to the original. They just never garnered much attention, whereas they could thrive and become well loved on the PS consoles. Consider that Persona was once quirky and niche, even for a Japanese game.

gangsta_red6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

@Christopher

Nothing wrong with being a realist, but there's a difference between 'hyping things up' and just plain old speculation and discussions on what MS could be doing especially given the amount of changes we have seen in the few months or so with Xbox.

I mean it's not like we're talking about the impossible, like a console being able to background multiple games. pfffffft, no way.

"PSN id changes for this year, and look, it won't happen until next year."

But the point is it's happening. So in comparison, yes, the things Phil does over there in Japan may not amount to much or if it does, won't be seen for a while, but it could still be happening and it's still interesting to discuss the possibilities as long as they're grounded in reality.

@Rainslacker
"An attitude perpetuated and backed up by the media and some gamers last gen."

An attitude backed up by sales and most of the more successful Japanese games have all had a more western influence or appeal to them. Leaving the more extremely Japanese type (niche) games to remain with modest sales or fail, even on the most successful system that caters to that audience.

"There is a distinct difference in the way I see the VOCAL community discuss Japanese and Western games,"

I'm sure you see it that way, I also see fanboys, not fans, expecting a western game to sell huge and if not, consider it a flop no matter what, but then don't hold those same standards or principles to a Japanese game, instead giving the excuse it's niche, it's not suppose to sell well.

"..whereas the PS community seems to either like them, ignore them because they're not interested, or appreciate they offer up something more to more people"

You seem to have very narrow tunnel vision if that's all you see the PS community do when it comes to Japanese games compared to the Xbox community. I've personally seen gamers express not caring for a game wether it's from Japan or otherwise. Now how I go about classifying who belongs to what community, and then applying where I think they belong and then bringing my conclusions here, that would be a bit of a long stretch and not very accurate of the real truth especially if you are just taking the words of a very few VOCAL members here.

"They just never garnered much attention, whereas they could thrive and become well loved on the PS consoles."

Lets be honest, not a lot of smaller Japanese titles are heating up the gaming news conversations here either.

A lot of those titles are not really thriving as a lot of them went to mobile to survive. This is why a lot of these vocal comments keep asking for the return of those old games that used to be a staple on consoles but now only appear on everyone's wishlist or hoping a remaster might sell well enough to get a sequel.

rainslacker6d ago (Edited 6d ago )

But the notion that sales had to be exceptionally high to even be successful or relevant became a big thing last gen, and was often used to downplay Japanese games. On top of that, the notion that Japanese game development wasn't advancing was strong last gen. This was heavily perpetuated by the media, many times in the form of discrediting a game due to the nature of its content being immature or offensive to western sensibilities. This was all done in comparison to western games, because they were constantly compared to such games, which just ignored the user bases wants for the Japanese games.

That has died down some this gen, but there was a lot of hostility towards Japanese games last gen, which didn't do well on Xbox, but still did well enough on PS3, and certainly on DS/3DS.

The reason that more successful Japanese games were because of their western influence ignores the fact that those western themed games also had the larger marketing budgets, typically from long standing franchises, and weren't completely panned by the gaming press or community.

" I also see fanboys, not fans, expecting a western game to sell huge and if not, consider it a flop no matter what, [snip"

I see this as well. And I see this more this gen against exclusive in particular than I do against Japanese games this gen. Even last gen, games that didn't sell COD or GTA numbers were considered flops. The whole percentages of user base who brought the game being a big one nowadays. It's completely idiotic this gen, and it was idiotic last gen. But I'm talking about last gen, so if you think this practice is not right now, then you have to agree that it wasn't right back then either.

I don't deny that there are Xbox gamers that like Japanese games. Quite a few actually. I know there are several devout Xbox fan boys here who like them as well. But that isn't what this is really about. It's about @Why O Why discussion on the vocal disdain towards japanese games in general. Some of my other comments, particularly about game sales, were expanding on the misrepresentation of a games success due to sales.

Otherwise, I can think of plenty of anecdotal instances which don't represent the norm, or what became a consensus of the vocal groups that existed, and i do feel that my comment about how PS gamers react to Japanese games tends to be fairly accurate to the gaming community as a whole.

"not a lot of smaller Japanese titles are heating up the gaming news conversations here either."

To this I will actually agree. But this community seems more driven by hostility and confrontation than it does about just discussing games. Go into those articles without the controversial heat attached, and the one's that do have people commenting, generally are talking about the game, and often discussing it in a positive manner, unless it's not a well loved game.

Many niche games don't hit it big. But they can still be successful There's a reason that Sony, and Nintendo, get all sorts of Japanese games outside Japan. Maybe not tear up the charts, but do well. Sure, some went elsewhere, sometimes to the disdain of their fan base, but there are certainly enough success stories to not just dismiss them as an anomaly.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 6d ago
trooper_6d ago

Microsoft needs to drop Japan. Console isn't selling well and they're wasting time.