Thursday, June 16, 2016

How Japanese companies use SJWs to sell video games

It's a bit of a well-known secret that when a video game localizer brings a game over to the west, the original Japanese developers do not see the lion's share of the game's profits after release. Part of this is understandable, as the localizers do much a good bit of work into getting the game ready for US release, though some companies make unnecessary changes to the games so they can get more money from the publishers.

But the point still stands that, when you buy a game (or show or movie or comic book) from the English localizer companies, you're not really supporting the original creators. The only way to be sure that your dollars are going to support the people that actually worked to bring the games to life is to either buy from international branches of the original companies, like Idea Factory and Spike Chunsoft, or you import the original Japanese versions of the games. Though importing comes with a somewhat higher price tag, what with taxes and distribution, but none of that eats into profits earned by the original Japanese developers.

Now this brings me to somewhat of an interesting trend that we've been seeing as of late. It started way back when Bandai closed down their US anime branch, though the most well-known example is when Koei Tecmo decided not to bring Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to the west. And now we're seeing it with Summer Lesson, an upcoming VR Simulation game by Namco Bandai.

The reason given for why these games aren't getting released is because of the different cultural climate in the west (ie. Social Justice Warriors getting outraged at anything that isn't specifically created to uphold their fringe beliefs.) This then causes a situation similar to that of the Streisand Effect where, after being told that they are not allowed to buy a particular title, consumers everywhere suddenly need to have it. That's how DOAX3 managed to break sales record for Play Asia, and it's how a terrible Seth Rogan comedy movie became one of the most talked about movies in the country for a short time.

The thing is, at least in the case of games like DOAX3, the reaction was unnecessary as there was no real reason to not bring the game over to the west, even just as a download-only title like Koei Tecmo has done in the past. With the success of titles like Hyper Dimension Neptunia and Dragon's Crown, despite or even because of manufactured outraged, it should be clear to everyone paying attention that the threat of SJWs is a paper tiger, and the only thing said outrage does is gain fake internet points or blog clicks for the outraged. No one has ever successfully gotten a game pulled from Valve's Steam store page due to a personal offense and, at this point, it's safe to say that they never will.

So it's quite possible that Namco Bandai isn't being entirely honest with their reasons for withholding their game from western release. Also, keep in mind that this is not the first time that they've done this, what with the closing of Bandai Entertainment USA. It is entirely possible that the real reason why games like Summer Lesson aren't coming over is to boost import sales numbers, cause the Japanese companies make more money from those than from the sale of a localized version.

So I would suggest taking caution with these types of situations and avoiding the impulse to rush out to import sites. Ask yourself if there are similar games that are released in your country that you might find just as much enjoyment from instead. If there’s any doubt in your mind whether the game is worth spending money on, then maybe find a pirated copy somewhere to try before dropping $80 on an import.

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