EA Sports head Peter Moore says he's "delighted" to see FIFA 10
making strides in Japan, having been challenged in the past by the insularity and specific tastes of the Japanese market.
He calls Japan "the cradle of our industry," praising the continued creativity of the country's developers even in an era when Japanese design sensibilities appear to be suffering a business decline -- but on his official blog, Moore writes candidly
about "frustrations" he has experienced as part of American game companies trying to market to Japan.
Key to the difficulty is "the insularity of the industry that defends locally-made content and looks down on games from abroad," Moore says.
"I appreciate this is a unique culture that has very different tastes in entertainment," he adds. "But while Western movies and music can be extremely popular with younger consumers, foreign-developed games (or yoge, as they are called) have an extremely difficult time breaking through with Japanese gamers."
It's a particularly complex hurdle for sports simulation games, as there is less room to tailor art and gameplay mechanics for Eastern preferences. "You can imagine my disappointment every year as we struggle to break through in Japan with our outstanding FIFA
franchise, " he says -- noting that FIFA
's developers hail from more than 20 different nations, Japan included.
But this year's iteration of FIFA
has received critical acclaim in Japan, with high scores -- particularly a rare "platinum" rating from the tastemaking Famitsu magazine -- and a spot in the top 10 for its debut week.
"Having said all of that, it is clear we still have work to do in Japan to more fully understand what drives that gamers attraction to sports titles," Moore says, stressing EA Sports' commitment to "better understand the Japanese consumer... and continue to improve on the best soccer game in the world."