[Gamasutra rounds up recent reports on the Japanese games industry from local news site Andriasang.com, a leading destination for English-language news on Japan's game industry.]
In our latest round-up of Japanese game industry news not previously reported on Gamasutra, we look at the passing of Abel founder and CEO Hiroyuki Kanno, paid downloadable content coming to Nintendo 3DS, and more.
Abel Founder Hiroyuki Kanno Passes Away
Hiroyuki Kanno (pictured), founder and CEO of Japanese developer Abel (Exodus Guilty
series, Card of Destiny
), passed away on December 19 after suffering a stroke. He was only 37 years old.
Kanno is best known for working on mostly Japan-only adventure/visual novel releases such as YU-NO
and Eve Burst Error
while he was CEO at eroge studio ELF Corporation. He established Abel in 1997.
3DS Fire Emblem Kicks Off Nintendo Paid Download Content
Fire Emblem 3DS
(tentative title) will be the first 3DS game to feature paid downloadable content when it releases in Japan in March 2012, according to a report from business daily newspaper Nikkei.
Third-party publishers will also begin shipping titles that feature paid downloadable content starting summer 2012. When Nintendo's console, Wii U, launches next year, it will feature paid downloadable content, too.
Microsoft and Sony have offered microtransactions for games on their platforms for years, but Nintendo has been hesitant to do the same, and has allowed them with very few Wii titles (e.g. Rock Band
Sony Japan's CEO: PlayStation Vita Download Sales Exceeding Expectations
Though some have found initial PS Vita hardware and retail software sales disappointing
, Sony Computer Japan CEO Hiroshi Kawano says the portable's download sales in Japan are better than the company had hoped for.
"[PS Vita's hardware sales are] in accordance with expectations," Kawano told Famitsu
. "Games and peripherals are selling extremely well. Sales of the download versions of titles are exceeding expectations."
Japanese tracking firm Media Create, which does not record download sales, recently reported that PS Vita's first- and third-party titles had sold around 300,000 units during the system's weekend launch.