According to figures from the Japanese-based trade body the Online Game Forum, the entity is forecasting total revenue of 93.8 billion yen ($854 million) from the Japanese online game market for this year.
This represents a significant increase from 2004's figures of 57.8 billion yen ($526 million), and shows the growing importance of online gaming in Japanese territories, where MMO titles such as PC/PlayStation 2 game Final Fantasy XI
and Korean-developed PC title Ragnarok Online
have been at the forefront of the massively multiplayer online market, and mobile and casual titles have also been making significant use of the online medium.
In fact, MMO titles such as Ragnarok Online
have been so relatively successful in the territory that they have spawned unofficial, Ragnarok
-themed amateur 'dojin' games, including strategy RPG and fighting game efforts.
Comparable, recent figures from North America, as published by
PricewaterhouseCoopers, revealed 4.4 million online game subscribers, presumably including both casual and MMO-styled subscriptions, in 2004, and noted revenues of $647 million last year, a figure which is estimated to climb to $3.7 billion by 2009.