Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Out-Cast: Episode 06 - The "Death" of the Japanese Gaming Industry

This is the sixth episode of the Out-Cast. In this episode, we talk about the the supposed "death" of the Japanese gaming industry and the recent evolution of the Japanese gaming market here in Japan. Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.

Download: Mediafire, iTunes
Streaming: Blip.tv

What's the Happs?
00:42 Gundam Senki and Licensed Anime Games
12:05 No More Heroes Paradise

19:54 Mario Galaxy 2
32:14 Final Fantasy IX
35:45 Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance
44:30 Death of the Japanese Gaming Market?

  • Change to a Portable Market
49:41 How has the Market Changed?
52:55 Why Has the Market Changed?
  • Age of Gamers
  • Hobby Culture in Japan
  • Commuting Culture
  • Shift in how/where games are played
  • HD TV Adoption
83:40 Multiplayer Gaming
90:27 Companies Shifting to fit the new market
94:44 Where will Japanese Gaming Go From Here?

Music in this edition:
Miracle Upper WL - Masami Okui featuring May'n
Roundabout - Lumines OST
Theme of Sakura - SF4 OST


SMG said...


Kyle said...

Turn that frown upside down, and listen to what we have to say in the podcast! None of us actually believe that the Japanese gaming scene is "dying".

feitclub said...

Kyle: There are 47 prefectures in Japan, not 48.

Gwyn: Everytime you say "haich-dee" instead of "HD" Domo-kun kills a kitten.

Everybody: Surprised there wasn't more discussion of the arcade scene in Japanese gaming. We still have arcades while other countries do not.

Gwyn said...

Dan, thats what we call MAWNS pronunciation. Besides which its based on the QUEENS English. Go and take your bastardized version of the language elsewhere thank you very much :-p

We didnt see that the arcade scene was 100% relevant to this discussion since we were looking at the consumer software scene exclusively. And lets face it, doing the arcade scene would take an entire episode just in itself!

PS: Domo-kun called and said he knows where you live :-p

Anonymous said...

My Guess is that.

the PSP2 = PS4

the 3DS = Wii HD3D

this will be done via Video out + controller input to the PSP2 (alot like the PSPGO)

this will be done via a 3DS channel on the Wii that will send the 3DS video signel via ad hock to the Wii and output at 120hrz at some resolution turning the Wii into a HD and 3D system.

Sony want to sell one device and one package of hardware to the entire world and so do nintendo.. look at the DS ports to the Wii already.

Microsoft could fall behind in this new era of hybrids.

SolidBoss said...

Great podcast, as always! I was very shocked to hear about the " you are an adult you have to let go of your hobbies" thing. I can understand now much better why is the japanese culture gaming changing so much, thanks for showing me that guys. There is just something i dont get it.
I live in Portugal and here the way portable gaming works is the total oppossite of in japan. Its VERY rare to see people playing with their psps and DSs like you guys just told about. If i see even one guy playing with a psp on train i get suprised! I always though that the reason for this is that people are afraid to take out their portable gaming on a public area, because they can be robbed. This is even more right if we are talking about children and teenagers.
So here goes my question. If japanese people are so afraid of things like the internet and comunication over the web, then WHY are they also not afraid of getting robbed on the trains or any public transport? is it really that safe to play outdoors there?
thank you and keep up the good work!

silversaucer said...

It must be Christmas.

But anyways love the cast, please please please do like a 3 hour E3 special after E3, i wanna hear what you guys think about all the new content.

riley said...

Very nice podcast, guys. It's very interesting to see the reasons behind why japanese gamers are the way they are.

I also second silversaucer's request: it would be very nice to hear your thoughts on the news emerging from E3.

KG Jung said...

Hey guys:

I wanted to thank you for your podcasts. You give a truly different perspective from the usual gaming/anime news I see as you are not only long-time fans of Japanese anime and gaming, but also live in Japan for quite a while. Your explanation of current Japanese gaming trends, particularly the migration to hand-helds, was well-explained and quite surprising. It explains a lot on what I see and don't see coming out of Japan.

Frankly speaking as an American gamer if the current Japanese gaming trends continue down the path you've outlined, I can only shake my head in disappointment. Honestly, my first reaction was, "Japan is weak sauce" in this area. I understand that the Japanese market and consumer expectations are totally different which results in this outcome, but it only highlights why Western games and developers are doing so well and why Japanese ones are decreasing in importance in the US market (from my point of view). The constant rehash in both anime and JP gaming is easier to understand. It's basically what the shrinking JP market wants. One can't blame companies for giving them just that. However if portable gaming because more popular over here, the divergence you see may not be as wide as you think, although the platform in which US portable gaming will be done will likely be different. Instead of the PSP or DS, it might be the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

I know this is way late since you talked about the FF series several podcasts ago, but I just need to say this. If you guys had actually played FFXI, you would realize that FFXII wasn't the big leap in the series as you guys seem to think. Having played every single FF game released in the US except for FFIX (for the same reasons Gwyn initially skipped it), I would say FFXII was pretty much FFXI OFFline only with better graphics and some better game mechanics. I've played FFXI since a few months after it was first released in NA and have only recently quit a few months ago. The scripts available in XII would allow the AI controlled party members to perform better than many human-controlled players I've had the misfortune of partying with in XI. You'd be amazed how many people can be utterly clueless on how to play their job in a party or alliance despite playing the game for years.

The difference in play style and party dynamics between Western and Japanese players was quite telling especially since both kinds of players were on the same servers. Square did not segregate the player base according to nationality. However, you could see plenty of self-imposed segregation between JP and Western players especially by JP players. It left a rather bad taste in some Western players' mouths for this "discrimination". This wasn't always the case of course, but it probably gave a very small taste of Japanese exclusionism to Westerners not living in Japan. It's nothing compared to what you guys have experienced personally over there I'm sure.

Also, people familiar with MMORPGs party dynamics would clearly see the use for a Sentinel in FFXIII since a tank is often so vital in MMO games especially "boss" fights in FFXI.

Evangelion better than Macross? Depends on what you mean by 'better'. In terms of actual mecha, not a chance. The mecha in Evangelion are pathetically sad. Mecha should never look anorexic and being only able to fight for 5 minutes when they are unplugged is pretty weak. I'll stick with the Gundams and Valkyries. If you're talking about dark themes and rather emo characters than sure, EVA has Macross beat. I'm a fan of both series, but overall I'll take the Itano Circus over a vibroknife anyday.

Sorry for the long comment, but I didn't see a regular email to send this to. Keep up the good work with podcasts. You guys do a great job in giving the games and anime the JP context necessary to understand why things are done the way they are done.

Roku said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roku said...

I really like your podcast and was wondering what songs are playing in the intermissions? Also i'm Korean and wondering if that would be a problem if I went over their. I know their is a sort of animosity but wasn't clear to the extent. Would I be labeled as a foreigner or a hellspawn Korean/American foreigner?

Gwyn said...

Thanks for the replies everyone! I'll throw a few comments on here but will save most of our replies for the next show.
Speaking of which, the next episode WILL be a combined E3/Mailbag special. So expect lots of rambling from three guys who didnt even go to E3, lol. And of course, keep those questions and feedback coming!

@Roku - sorry, I didnt have time to do a song list this episode since I was editing the cast literally minutes before I had to go to the airport for a work-related trip. I'll throw the song list up here in the comments sometime this week. As for visiting Japan - Im sure there would be no problems - in fact, Korean dramas are really popular among middle age housewives here!

@KG Jung - great piece of feedback, thanks for that! I totally agree with you about the Itano Circus being better than a prog knife. Actually, they had a midnight screening of an old 35mm print of Macross: Do You Remember Love at Roppongi just last Friday! As far as impact on the anime industry in general though, Id say that Eva deserves the recognition that it gets... as well as all the pachinko machines!

@Solidboss - we will cover this one during the next episode :-)

And for anyone who is interested, I saw Dead Snow last night - low budget Norwegian flick about NAZI ZOMBIES! Unfortunately the main characters didnt seem to have played any CoD:World at War....

Paddeh said...

From the sounds of this podcast gaming is only done in a very short span of a person's life. My question is that is it considered a lesser form of media compared to say films or anime. I realise that both these mediums would bring in more money, but is making games considered less artistic than writing anime? Shigesato Itoi always seems like he doesn't like to be interviewed about the games he makes, and seems to prefer writing much more to actual game production!

KG Jung said...

". . . . Actually, they had a midnight screening of an old 35mm print of Macross: Do You Remember Love at Roppongi just last Friday! As far as impact on the anime industry in general though, Id say that Eva deserves the recognition that it gets... as well as all the pachinko machines!"

Screening of the 35mm print of DYRL? I say this with all due respect: you lucky, lucky bastard. Next you're going to say they were showing Blade Runner: The Final Cut on those big outdoor TV screens at night whiled it rained.

Eva is a great series, no doubt. I bought the complete DVD collection that came in a big, red plastic box when it was first released years ago despite the fact I don't really speak Japanese. However, I prefer Macross. As good as Eva is, they have beaten that dead horse to nothing but a mushy, red paste fit only to give Unit 2 a different shade of red paint job. My feeling is just do something new or give old Trigger a rest already. Even zombie Nazis eventually do stay down and die.

Besides, Rei and Asuka have nothing on Misa, Miria, or Sheryl ^_^ .

Two questions for you guys:

1) Since all of you have both seen the movie and the blu-ray, what are the differences between 2.0 and 2.22? Do the differences really add anything?

2) Since all 3 of you are Westerners, but with heavy exposure to JP games and even living in Japan, do you tend to prefer JP or Western games? Why? Personally after playing Bioware games like Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2 I'm having a harder time caring about JP releases.

Kyle said...

Yeah, they showed some Macross movie at Roppongi Hills the other night....but it was shown at a movie theater that both Richard and Gywn inexplicably refuse to go to!!!

This particular movie theater is totally badass....they hold all night film festivals of old school anime and movies all the time! Why this upcoming Friday, I am going to go see all three of the old school Indy Jones flicks in the theater!

riley said...

I realize I already asked a question on the last episode and commented on this one and I apologize for the double post, but there's something I don't understand: what in the heck is Moe exactly? I'm not really into anime, but you guys refer to this all the time and started to explain it on one episode but never really delved into it. I tried to find out online but it was incredibly confusing and there didn't seem to be one definition. Is it the same as the Japanese school setting that you've mentioned (I don't know what that is either, beyond the obvious). Help me out? I'd like to know what this anime fad is that you're always talking about. Thanks so much for the awesome podcasts!

Gwyn said...

@riley - no need to apologize at all. Feedback is what we live for here at the Out-cast! Like..literally. If you guys dont talk to us we fade away and cease to exist. Kinda like Marty in Back to the Future...just without that icky business of making out with your own mother....
..ahem...but I digress.

The good news is that we will tentatively be recording our E3 impressions/reader feedback session this Sunday and will (hopefully) have the episode up by mid next week. Well thats the plan anyways!

Roku said...

I was wondering if you guys could recommend some old school ps1 and ps2 games that were awesome. I got some ps2 games and hardly any ps1, so I was wondering what Japanese games in general are awesome. I have only really played the greats (ex. Chrono Trigger and Cross and other square enix titles)but was wondering about other titles i've heard of but not tried like Vagrant Story or the Persona games. I do have all the next gen consoles minus Wii.
*side note:
(>-.-)> Metal Gear Solid Rising <(-.-<)
Sephiroth might stab people in the back but Raiden just cuts through them. You guys rock can't wait to hear your thoughts on E3!

silversaucer said...

Go play the Suikoden series Roku. da bomb

Anyways yeah Nintendo kicked everyones butt at E3. And trust me im not a fanboy, I dont even have a Nintendo system. But I realize the truth when I see it. Can we say Donkey Kong Country Returns OMG can't wait.

Anyways wheres the mailbag? Is there an email or just leave the questions here in the comments?

Gwyn said...

@Silversaucer - good recommendation!
The feedback page basically is the mailbag for the time being. Post any thoughts, comments, questions, rants, or obituaries right here!

silversaucer said...

Kyle or Gwyn you should lend Richard your Wii so he can review Xenoblade :)

I love Tetsuya Takahashi games.

silversaucer said...

Or if any of you guys played it tell me your thoughts. I've been looking forward to it for a long time.

Kyle said...


Well that'll have to be Gwyn....since I've got an American Wii (aka, a Wii that'll only play American games).

Although, after all the new announcements at E3, its becoming very clear that I need to get my hands on a Japanese Wii as well....as importing all my games from the states is pretty expensive.

Xenoblade doesn't seem like it'll stay full price for long, and by the time I actually do pick up a Japanese Wii, it'll hopefully be in the $20-$30 range used.

silversaucer said...

I just read Famitsu released screenshots of FF vs 13 including some of combat. Were you guys able to sneak a peek? You should upload them on here, Famitsu will never know ;)

Kyle said...

I believe this is what you're looking for.....though lord knows when this game is actually going to be released.


KG Jung said...

Got a chance to watch Eva Rebuild 2.22. Nicely done. Like you guys said, a major improvement over 1.11. If 3.0 is like 2.0 I would have to say I prefer the Rebuild movies over the TV series. Not only was the production values a lot better than the TV series', but I like the fact that the depictions of the characters are tighter and more expressive. For example, I like the Rebuild Rei a lot more than I ever did the TV version of Rei. It's a lot easier for me to like a character that isn't acting like a piece of furniture. Asuka's feeling for Shinji, as well as Rei's, is more apparent without the same level of bitchiness that TV Asuka seemed to have. If they have to rehash EVA, this is certainly the way to do it.

Oddly enough, I wouldn't say EVA is a mecha show. Sure, there is mecha in it but I just never got the sense they were the main story or the reason for the series existence say like Gundam. A show can have, for example, women in it but that hardly makes it feminist. If I had to describe the plot of the series to someone completely unfamiliar with it and anime I would say it's a series that combines the X-Files with the "fun" parts of Judeo-Christian mythology/theology mixed in with giant robots and cute girls with a good dose of psychiatrist's waiting room. If there were any group that really needed therapy, it would be the characters of EVA.

One of the things I liked about the End of Eva movies was how Anno gave the visuals and action that the fans were screaming for, but he did not essentially change the story or message of those last two TV episodes and didn't make it any easier for the audience to understand what was going on or why. He wanted to audience to think and he wasn't about to spoon-feed them like so many other anime series do. Props to Anno.

The wierd thing about 2.22 was they used a lot of the same music that was used in KareKano (Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou) for the music played during the school life scenes. Instead of another EVA rehash, how about giving that Anno series an actual proper ending?

Roku said...

Was interesting in watching Evangelion after you guys talked about how it was in the anime culture in Japan. I saw the show and the movies, then the 1, 1.11, 2, and 2.22 and it was awesome, psychotic but awesome none the less. Great recommendation and thanks! It's cool to hear about japanese gaming,anime, and general culture from your guys podcast and will tell anyone I know with similar interests about your show! keep it up! EVA! and also I feel strange because in the Rei or Asuka debate I thought Katsuragi was the hot one lol.

Gwyn said...

@Roku: no need to apologize, Misato IS the only real choice! (I'm sure it's a trick question to separate the men from the boys).
@KG Jung: what do u mean End on Evangelion didn't make any sense? Every day at 6pm, that giant Rei appears over Tokyo and makes all the salarymen disappear into little organic goo puddles. And then all is good. Until the next day, when it happens all again.

Well I have some good news and some bad news folks. The good is that we did indeed record the latest episode last weekend. The bad news is that Tuesday night saw me racing through the streets of Tokyo in an ambulance for an emergency medical proceedure, and I'll probably be in the hospital for close to another week yet so it will take a little longer than usual to get the episode up for u guys. Sorry about that. This is what happens when

Gwyn said...

rampant packs of savage moe zombie cat girls roam the streets. All my ninja training just wasn't enough.

Roku said...

Hey no worries hope you feel better, High school moe zombies are coming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMnKAvlXbsI

silversaucer said...

OMG Gwyn hope your doing okay. How is the food in those Japanese hospitals?

And thanx for the screenshots Kyle. This game LOOKS better than FF13 and I thought that game looked amazing.

KG Jung said...

First microphone problems, then an earthquake, and now medical problems. Geez, who did you guys piss off?

Hope Gwyn is ok especially when dealing with the JP medical system. This is probably divine punishment for having the gall of having personal hobbies instead of being just a good cog in the company machinery :P .

Salarymen turning into goo puddles? I thought that only happened to fans' brains when they actually try to use them for once. I remember reading way back about how some JP fans were complaining that Anno still made it too hard for them to understand Eva's story in the movies, just like those TV episodes. Anno's response was basically, "Too bad for you." If I'm not mistaken, Anno mentioned that one of the inspirations for him in making EVA was his own experience of deep depression in which he seriously contemplated suicide. He wanted to use EVA as a vehicle to convey some of those feelings and lessons he learned from that time of his life.

What makes EVA such a good series is how it broke from the typical and dealt with some pretty heavy themes. Sure, we get the fan service from time to time, but then you get things like Asuka's mind rape or Rei's gradual sense of self-awareness.

Hope Gwyn is better with a ninjato against those cat girls then he is with a gun against zombies. According to the podcasts, Gwyn has the aiming skill of Mr. Magoo.

riley said...

Hope you're doing better soon Gwyn; those zombie cat girls sound pretty vicious. Like KG Jung said, it just figures that they would go for the outcaster with the worst aim against zombies.

SolidBoss said...

Thanks to you guys and all the talk about Evangelion I finaly got to watch this show that I have been saving for a long time. i have to say its very good, but for me the new Revival Evangelion Movies were kickass! very epic! thank again for all the hype you give me ;)

And I hope you get better Gwyn

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