The end of an era for Japanese console game development
"We're probably heading toward the end of an era of Japanese game developers making successful console games like in the West."
- Capcom veteran and Game Republic founder Yoshiki Okamoto argues that it's become exceedingly difficult
for Japanese developers to create a blockbuster console title that can sell significant units worldwide.
Okamoto, who worked on major series like Street Fighter
and Resident Evil
during his time at Capcom, laid off his entire staff at Game Republic last year (the studio employed around 300 at its peak) after a publishing deal fell through.
Like many in his situation, he now focuses on mobile projects, avoiding the massive budgets and development teams often required to make modern console games. Okamoto believes mobile teams can be more like the smaller groups that worked on games in the early years of the industry.
Mobile has become an increasingly important segment for a number of Japanese developers and publishers
, and two of the biggest companies that have risen from the country recently are mobile social game network operators: Gree and DeNA.
If creating a console hit continues to becomes more and more difficult for game makers in Japan, we're sure to see more Japanese studios and talented game developers abandon traditional platforms to look for success in the mobile space.