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Platinum Games outlines “new course,” warns of lack of “vigor” in Japan

Friday, 1st April 2011 09:53 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Platinum Games has published an open letter on its website, labeling a “new course” for the Japanese dev known as “Platinum Next”.

In the missive, CEO Tatsuya Minami said the games industry was “struggling,” claiming Japanese games companies have “lost their vigor.”

“I believe that games exist to offer fresh surprises to those who play them. As members of the games business, we have always pursued the creation of the new, and we take pride in doing our part to support our industry,” said Minami.

“However, the current games business is struggling. The ‘fresh surprises’ I mention are becoming few and far between, especially in our home of Japan. Not so long ago, Japan lead the world’s games business, and it was not a stretch to call games a uniquely Japanese specialty; however, now it appears that Japanese games companies have lost their vigor.

“Series grow ever-longer; original titles are on the decline. Games with new at their core are disappearing. Japanese games that garner worldwide acclaim are slipping away.

“This state of affairs deeply saddens us.”

Minami went on to claim “Platinum is currently one of the very few healthy Japanese games companies,” and that the studio is striving “to be the face of Japanese game studios on the worldwide stage.”

He added: “We want our contributions to not only be towards the games industry as a whole, but also be contributions towards our homeland of Japan. That is the principle that will guide our company into the future.”

Platinum was formed in 2006 from the ashes of Okami developer Clover by Shinji Mikami, Hideki Kamiya and Atsushi Inaba. Its since released four titles: Madworld on Wii; Infinite Space on DS; and Bayonetta and Vanquish on PS3 and 360.

It’s currently making action title Anarchy Reigns, for a fall release on PS3 and 360.

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16 Comments

  1. Robo_1

    Platinum Games are amongst my favourite developers. Their work as Clover was essential gaming last gen, and their current gen offerings have been just as strong.

    Whilst I hear what he’s saying when he talks about the lack of originality in games, the sad truth is that it’s not developed as much, as the market for original 60 dollar games just isn’t there. Both Bayonetta and Vanquish are leading examples of current gen action games, yet they both struggled to get past the 1 million sales mark (before mass discounting at least).

    That said, originality is thriving within the download market, so it’s not all lost, but sadly the mass market would rather fork over their 60 dollars every year for a remake of last years military shooter, rather than taking a risk on something new and exciting.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Blerk

    I like their drive and the sentiment, but creating amazing new things is only half the problem. Convincing people to actually buy those things is a hell of a lot more difficult, especially when half the time you can’t even manage to convince your own publisher to promote them.

    It seems somehow bizarre to put all the marketing budget into promoting the things you know are going to sell. Yet everyone does it. There’s little wonder the man on the street only buys COD.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. DaMan

    Bayonetta sold over a million in the very first month, I ‘ve never heard about any discounts except someone mentioning the ones in Uk..

    #3 4 years ago
  4. NeoSquall

    ’tis a fool to me.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Blerk

    Bayonetta’s UK price collapsed pretty much immediately. It was down from the £60 RRP to sub-£20 within the first couple of weeks, and it wasn’t much longer before you could get it for less than a tenner.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    Vanquish plummeted in price soon after release aswell.

    I think Platinum just have to face the fact that they are never going to massively popular, despite the talent and dispite the quality of the games they produce.

    The video game buying public are so small minded that they simply will not try anything outside of a tiny tiny box of what is considered good.

    That might not bode well for a large studio but if Platinum continue to make the same high level games and now shift focus to pleasing the audience that actually love them then I doubt they would have much problems continuing as they are.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. The_Red

    As Blerk said, the bigger problem is convincing people to buy the good original games. I really wish most gamers would have bought Vanquish (flawed but fun) or Bayonetta (a true masterpiece) instead of 2094th miltiary shooter or the billionth platformer (or party game) from Nintendo.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. DaMan

    @Blerk well, I was just talking about ww sales. the game was at number 5 in Uk charts at the time of release.

    it didn’t do nearly as well as it should’ve, but I really don’t think it is comparable to Vanquish’ performance. that’s what I’m saying.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. frostquake

    I love Plats enthusiasm, and I am all for “New” and “Exciting” and “Original”, but at the core, it has got to be a fun, engaging experience.

    A “New” title that is Horrible, Boring, and Short creates the Fear of investing $65 US.

    I don’t want to get “Burned” over and over with “New IP’s” at the tune of $65 US.

    So Demo’s are a must for New Titles. Don’t release an “Unknown” new title like some games do, and just expect people to buy them, even with PR! I am NEVER going to trust PR Campaigns telling me how great their game is!!

    Plat is going down the right road, unfortunately, in the World Economy, people tend to reel in their spending on things they Know. Much easier to spend on 2, 3 and 4 if you like 1! If we were a Booming World Economy then people like me, would gamble more often on the Unknown Game, and if I got burned, it wouldn’t matter because I had more gold in my coffers, as is, my coffers are thin and I see the bottom, so I must be really careful!

    #9 4 years ago
  10. ruckus

    “Bayonetta’s UK price collapsed pretty much immediately. It was down from the £60 RRP”

    £49.99 RRP surely?_?

    #10 4 years ago
  11. osric90

    Bayonetta and Vanquish are awesome and I hope after Anarchy Reigns come two games more made by Kamiya and Mikami (I’m really not interested in Anarchy Reigns).

    #11 4 years ago
  12. OlderGamer

    I was thinking some of the same things as Frosty.

    And its not just new IPs vs sequals, not really in the sense that the older established games are better. But they are just less of a risk. I will buy an unknown arcade game that costs me 10-15 usd, but I won’t goto the store and drop 60usd(plus DLC) on a game that I never heard of before.

    Demos are a must.

    JPs problem, gamewise, isn’t that they aren’t as creative. Their trouble is that they cater too much towards the JP gamer. And I am talking about their love for handhelds. Where are the long list of PS3 exclsuive JP mega hits that once graced the PS2?

    In short the average JP game doesn’t understand or reach out to western gamers. You can call names or use put downs all you want, but I would rather play Gears over Vanquish, Darksiders over Bayoneta, and Left4Dead over Resident Evil. And being honest, so would most of the general audiance of western gamers.

    If JP game devs/pubs want to compete in an international market, they must reach out to that market. Or it will leave them behind. They will be left with their own JP gamers. And tbh, thats fine. There is a lot of potential in doing just that.

    It would be like me showing up for an F1 race in Germany with a Nascar Cup Car. Round peg, square hole. You have to know your audiance, and they clearly don’t.

    I really don’t think they make bad games.

    And I think the feeling that JP companies lack vigor is silly, if they do then so do the western games too. How many CoDs are out there now? How many GH games did it take to run the franchise into the ground? No, lack of origonal titles is NOT just a JP problem.

    But I would warn against trying to make a game that was too out there just to be something original. It is important to recognize trends, understand them, and then be able to capitalize on them. To some degree you have to offer gamers games that they expect and want, the trick is to offer those games in ways they makes them feel fresh.

    And in our over saturated market, that is no easy task.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    I’ll never waste a buck for their games unless they actually try to deliver a story and characters in their games that don’t insult me.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Monk

    @13

    Can you just explain what with insult you sentence ??

    #14 4 years ago
  15. xino

    “Not so long ago, Japan lead the world’s games business, and it was not a stretch to call games a uniquely Japanese specialty; however, now it appears that Japanese games companies have lost their vigor.”

    Exactly! Japanese games industry all know they are lacking behind but would not admit in shame!

    All you ever see from them are copied and pasted Tales games 24/7. They use the same formula and methods in their games and would not change! ‘change’ is something inafaune was baning on about during his days at Crapcum.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Monk

    ^

    Xino, it`s the same, the same damn here !!
    Look to the most profitable game in this generation, FIFA and COD,
    it`s the same gameplay and the change a tiny little bit of the game !!

    #16 4 years ago

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