Japan and America have always been very different when it comes to the games they like, and how they approach video games. When the video game crash of 1983 was occurring in the US, Japan was still enjoying its video games like nothing else. Now, while the US and other countries continue to enjoy the consoles and the games they bring, Japan is apparently shifting towards a more mobile platform. Enjoying the freedom it provides them.
Star Ocean Producer Shuichi Kobayashi talked with Gamespot about the market, and how he perceived what was occurring in Japan:
“In Japan, I feel that consumer [interest] in console games is dwindling right now. At Square Enix, as a whole, I feel that it’s very dangerous for even us. Of course there are big titles like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts–we have those–but I feel that all the other IPs Square Enix holds are all falling into the most casual line, like mobile games. I also feel that the Japanese market for consumer titles is getting smaller. I felt that this was very dangerous, so I wanted to reboot Star Ocean.”
He went onto note that though JRPG’s (like Star Ocean) are still popular, the desire to become more casual for consumers may cause problems for developers:
“Because a lot of those type of games and IPs are becoming more mobile, they become more casual. I feel that the Japanese as developers are losing the technology and techniques and skill sets to be able to create those [less casual] kind of games. We do need to start learning from Western games and the technologies they use. Just as Final Fantasy XV is taking on a new challenge to create that kind of game, I feel Square Enix is moving towards taking on more of that kind of challenge.”
Whether this shift continues, and whether it grows in the US remains to be seen, only time will tell.