Western games may increasingly be making inroads into the Japanese market, but the struggle to penetrate the notoriously inwards-looking region remains – so FIFA 10's appearance in the Japanese Top Ten recently is certainly something to shout about.
One of the frustrations of being an American company attempting to do business in Japan is the insularity of the industry that defends locally-made content and looks down on games from abroad,” EA Sports boss and former Xbox head Peter Moore has stated on his always interesting EA blog.
While western movies and music can be extremely popular with younger consumers, foreign-developed games have an extremely difficult time breaking through with Japanese gamers. This has frustrated American and European publishers for decades.
In the past, we've pointed to things like genre preferences, game play mechanics and character art as issues in breaking through in this culture. But with simulation sports games, these issues would seem much less relevant – it's typically about the gameplay.
"So you can imagine my disappointment every year as we struggle to break through in Japan with our outstanding FIFA franchise (which, I should point out, is a game made by developers from more than 20 different countries, including Japan).
This year's tour de force has been universally-acclaimed as the best iteration ever in the long history of the franchise, garnering a number of perfect scores from reviewers and averaging a metacritic score of 91.
"So imagine my delight to see Famitsu award the game a platinum rating of 36/40. That score obviously caught soccer gamers eyes over there, as the game debuted in the top 10 this week, much to our delight.”