Factfile: Japan

Of all of the Asian countries and their game markets, Japanâ??s is perhaps the most widely known thanks to its influence in growing and mass-marketing the console eras almost single-handedly.
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Today, the situation is less rosy – many have spoken candidly about how the West has, in some terms, overtaken game development in Japan – but tides look to be changing.

[img :363]According to Enterbrain’s Game Maker Yearbook 2007, there are 195 game development studios in the region. 160 of those are centred in or around Tokyo – the Chiyoda, Shibuya and Shinjuku areas of the capital in particular – with the Kansai region of Osaka and Kyoto second most populated, with heavyweights Nintendo and Capcom making up part of its 18-strong force.

Its biggest employers are Sega, which housed 3,464 staff at the time of Enterbrain’s survey and Square Enix with 3,275, boosted by its acquisition of Taito in 2005. Its smallest is Super Smash Brothers Brawl creator Sora which, given that it only exists for designer Masahiro Sakurai to be able to work freelance, has only two registered employees – although Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has admitted that over 700 staff were ‘borrowed’ from 19 other nearby development studios. Indeed, it’s with collaboration that Japan has always lead, taking up the outsourcing model years before it became popular in the West. The country has also had a long history on promoting key staff behind the games, and heavily promoting new games based on the talent ‘tag team’ behind them.

Game education in Japan is quite advanced, with over 45 institutions offering courses on game development, many of them either entirely focused on games or specialising in other pop media such as comics and animation. These courses are marketed openly in consumer magazines such as the market leading weekly Famitsu, as are job opportunities in studios, helping to get across the message that games careers are viable to both a wide – and young – audience.



Factfile: Singapore

Singaporeâ??s games industry is relatively small compared to other Asian markets â?? no surprise given that it is one of the only three city states in the world with a population under 5m.


Factfile: Korea

South Korea is home to over 200 games developers â?? the majority of which self-publish their games online for PC â?? a not unimpressive level of scale for a country with a population just shy of 50m.


Factfile: India

With a vital history as a talent base for outsourcing in a number of industries, it wonâ??t surprise you to hear that Indiaâ??s creative industry boasts a mix of animation and development companies which at times overlap and complement each other.


Factfile: China

According to Chinese research firm Niko Partners, Chinaâ??s 46 million gamers spent $1.7 billion on online games in 2007, up 71 per cent from 2006.