Japanese Video Game Studios Need To Stop Catering To The Western Audience

The West loved games made by Japanese video game studios precisely because they didn't make games specifically for them.

Story Highlights

  • The Japanese studios tend to improve their game once it gets popular in the West.
  • This improvement has the opposite effect since the fans love their games because of their originality.
  • Losing originality results in a drop in sales, which affects the franchise’s relevancy.

Modern Japanese video games aren’t as popular globally as they used to be because Japanese video game studios have decided to make games specifically tailored for the Western audience instead of the Japanese. Square Enix is a prime example of such a studio, with its recent games not doing as well as they did in the past.

Overseas fans have always loved Japanese video games because they used to be unique and interesting. This had been the case for decades until recently when these studios decided to make games for their Western fans. This resulted in the game’s quality dropping drastically and removing that said “uniqueness” from their games, making them generic and lifeless.

Once a game loses popularity due to one or two such installments, the franchise’s relevancy dies down, even if it has potential. For example, while I personally liked Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and Final Fantasy 16, the sales show that they had fallen short of expectations. The reason is likely that the games aren’t doing well overseas, and we’ll discuss why that is the case.

The Dilemma Of Japanese Game Studios

Japanese video game studios tend to follow a pattern. They make a game for the Japanese audience, which then becomes extremely popular overseas. Then, the studio makes the next installment tailored explicitly for the overseas audience, resulting in the game losing its uniqueness and the sales dropping. The studio then drops the franchise due to low sales because the game isn’t living up to expectations.

Square Enix's Forspoken was released on January 24, 2023. | Image source: Steam
Square Enix’s Forspoken was released on January 24, 2023. | Image source: Steam

It has happened countless times before. Let’s take a look at Forspoken. Square Enix made the game specifically with the Western audience in mind. Everything from top to bottom was made for the West, which is exactly why the game flopped. We’ll likely not be getting any sequels in the future, either. It’s a huge mystery why these studios can’t figure out why this always happens.

This is why most fans try to gatekeep their community and love for a specific title. If it gets popular, the studio will likely lose its originality and go down the same path as it did for Square Enix. However, I agree that it’s a good initiative for some Japanese studios, such as Bandai Namco, to focus more on quality control instead of pushing out as many games as they can for their fans.

The best way to deal with this is for these studios to continue making games while only considering the Japanese audience. Only then can they continue making good games, which will be good for the whole industry. A prime example of this is the Yakuza/Like a Dragon franchise. The overseas audience loves their games as they are because of their originality and uniqueness.

Ichiban and Dwight from Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. | Image source: Steam
Ichiban and Dwight from Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. | Image source: Steam

If we want games specifically tailored for us, there are plenty of studios we can get that from, but the Japanese offer something unique when making games for the audience that they know best, which should be treasured.


Japanese video game studios lost their originality by tailoring their games to the Western audiences instead of making games as they have for the last few decades. This causes people to want to gatekeep their favorites, hoping their favorite titles won’t get too popular and that the studio has no choice but to “improve” them so the fans will like them better.

To be honest, it works the opposite way. I hope these studios learn this soon from the obvious drop in sales instead of continuing to trial and error. If this continues, our favorite franchises might become irrelevant due to low sales and high budget requirements.

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Fahad is a news reporter at eXputer with a huge passion for fighting games. For the past year, he has been utilizing his skills to report on the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Side by side with his bachelor's in computer science, Fahad has also acquired a certification in English for Journalism from Coursera. Fahad now dedicates all his time to either playing video games or reporting news at eXputer.

Experience: 1+ Years || Covers News Stories at eXputer || Bachelor's in Computer Science.

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