Sony Pitches Western Games to Japanese Gamers

At the beginning of the month the Japanese branch of  Sony published a site teasing the World Game Project, that prompted speculation on a possible attempt to raise awareness about western games between Japanese gamers.

Today the initiative has been revealed and the website has been updated. Turns out we were right.

The World Game Project, spearheaded by a mysterious spokesman named Mr. Murata is slated to kick-off with the WGP Fes Vol.1 (“Fes” is a Japanese way to abbreviate “festival” for the ones wondering) to be held at the Akihabara85 (a rather well known club in the Japanese gaming/anime mecca of Akihabara) on July the 23rd.

The event will feature playable sessions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Infamous 2, Resistance 3 and Shadow of The Damned, that’s still a Japanese game, despite being published by Electronic Arts.

The “Vol.1” in the name of the event seems to hint to the fact that more similar events will follow.

The World Game Project comes to no surprise, considering that Western Gamers aren’t exactly the most popular in Japan and Sony’s most successful first party studios are in the West. Though it’s rather interesting to see Sony trying to steal Microsoft’s role as an “ambassador” for western gaming in Japan.

In any case, any initiative to bridge the cultural differences between Western and Japanese gamers deserves attention. Now, can we have something similar that works the other way around, Sony?

Join the Discussion

  • Anonymous

    Ok, so here’s the thing with when it comes to Japanese gamers and western games. THis isn’t to upset people in anyway but it’s known throughout the industry that the Japanese are a very nationalistic society. Everything (and with good reason) is all about Japan, with the gaming industry probably leading the debate.

    Many people attributed Microsofts epic fail there to the fact that the Japanese can’t adapt to the bigger controllers, and this was something that was started last gen with the original Xbox, prompting MS to launch the controller “S” (remember that). But I think that people who believe this are just completely wrong because the real reason why MS cannot build up anything in that country is because it’s an AMERICAN product.

    Don’t get me wrong, they love our Music and Movies, artists, and actors, but when it comes to consumer electronics and software there just isn’t an American footprint there unless it’s something like World of Warcraft, Halo, Call of Duty or Uncharted. Let’s see if a program like this can change some of the mindset out there, but I unfortunately doubt it.

    • Nah. Live in Japan for a little while, especially between young people, and you’ll notice that everything from the US is considered extremely cool there. 

      The low acceptance of western games in japan comes from a completely different “problem”. Western games are often weak on the narrative side, which is what Japanese gamers appreciate the most. 

      As long as a game has a good story and narrative, it will be appreciated by the average Japanese gamer (if it’s marketed well enough). Stories are so important for them, that they have no trouble with games that are ALL story and absolutely zero action (IE: graphic novels). 

      In fact, LA Noire sold well in Japan, for instance. The difference with other western games? It’s a strongly narrative game, and has been marketed well in Japan (and quite smartly in a slow week, when you want to penetrate a market, you don’t go in like a rhino hoping to topple the strongest competitors already in that market). 

      The “they arz nazionalizt!” excuse is just that, an excuse 😀 
      Sure, some will be more happy to support their local products over foreigner ones, but the extremely poor performance of the Xbox 360 and of most western games in Japan is too extreme to be chalked just to that. 
      They are no more nationalist than people on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, where the Xbox sells more than the PS3, while in more “neutral” countries (IE: Europe) it’s the other way around.

      • Anonymous

        I was going to say – the Japanese aren’t any more “nationalist” than Americans when it comes to their products, especially gaming in this generation. Look how well Western games sell here as opposed to most Japanese games. It’s vice versa in Japan.

        Yes, you have your exceptions to the rule, but that’s generally the way it is here. Note this may also be why sometimes Europe gets a CE to a game that we don’t get, or why they are starting to get some Japanese games first – they’re typically more “accepted” over there than they are in America, because gamers in Europe are usually more neutral when it comes to this stuff.

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  • Would love for Sony to the same for Japanese games in the west.