There are things happening in Japanese games which are years ahead of the west, Marvelous AQL’s Harry Holmwood has argued, but at the same time there’s an untapped market in Japan for western-made games.
“It’s very easy to look at [Japanese] games and think they look alien, and to think that there’s nothing to learn from it, but I’m absolutely confident that there are many things that are happening in Japanese games now that people are going to do in the West in five or ten years time, or in some cases now, with huge success,” Holmwood said at the Develop conference in Brighton.
One of the key things western developers can learn, he said, is how to treat games as a service – and not just in order to allow ongoing revenue, but from a support perspective as well. At Marvelous, a team of 15 to 20 staff work continuously on a game post-launch, he said.
That said, Holmwood noted that the Japanese market hasn’t got it all figured out, and there are opportunities for western developers to succeed while locals learn from them. One example is Candy Crush Saga, which is doing very well in Japan.
“In Japan, at the moment, audience are still just thinking that consoles are their main gaming device,” Holmwood said.
“So this a big opportunity for us. I think in West, we’re very good at making tactile console experiences, but also tactile tablet and smartphone experiences, and at the moment in Japan, they’re kind of playing catch-up, because their legacy is coming from niche gaming, not from console.”