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Japanese Online Games Market Surges

According to information from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the market for online video game software has soared by 56.6 percent to $781 million in the country, as network-enabled gaming continues to increase worldwide.
According to information from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the value of Japan’s market for information and entertainment content, including newspapers, television programs and video game software, exceeded ¥11 trillion in 2005 for the first time ever – up 1.9 percent to ¥11.06 trillion ($94.94bn). According to a Kyodo News report, the increase was attributed to a 28.6 percent rise in the market for online content, even though it only accounted for 6.2 percent of the overall content market. In particular, the online video game software market rose by 56.6 percent to ¥91.0 billion ($781.49m), with music software downloads, including those for mobile phones, also seeing a sharp rise, increasing by 21.0 percent to ¥186.8 billion ($1.60bn). Ministry officials indicated that the market for online content will continue to expand, with free Internet based content distribution services such as the "GyaO" service of Usen Corp., which has been growing rapidly since 2005. Broadband penetration is also important, and it was also noted that at the end of March the country housed 23.3 million broadband users, including 5.5 million fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) users, 14.5 million xDSL subscribers, 3.4 million cable modem customers and 16,000 fixed-wireless access (FWA) connections. The Japanese market has traditionally been seen as highly resistant to the idea of using PCs for Internet-enabled video games, and even, to a certain extent, to the concept online console games, particularly compared to neighbors such as South Korea and China. However, these latest figures seem to show a continuing change in attitudes, and the buoyant mobile phone market in Japan continues to attract a great deal of growth, appearing to be at least anecdotally the most common way of accessing networked information in Japan.

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