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SGS Feature: 'The State Of Serious Games In Japan'

SGS Feature: 'The State Of Serious Games In Japan'

April 19, 2006 | By Simon Carless

In this exclusive feature on Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, John Andersen quizzes Serious Games Japan's Toru Fujimoto on the state of the Japanese 'serious games' industry, from DDR through educational, rehabilitation and training titles.

In this extract, Fujimoto is asked if Japanese society feels that "video games are toys only for children", as opposed to useful for other purposes:

"Well, I don’t think so. I can provide an example: anime and manga, it’s really part of the culture. Manga and anime are now used to educate people. These are entertainment media, but it’s used just like serious games. Manga and anime are embedded in Japanese education culture. Nowadays people are just arguing if video games are harmful for kids. Manga and anime have also been argued over if they are harmful, but that’s not even argued anymore. Gradually, Japanese people's perspectives on video games will be changing."

In addition, when asked what major Japanese developers such as Sega, Taito and Namco think of the 'serious game' concept, Fujimoto comments:

"Currently I think they just noticed what serious games are. They realize that serious games could be one way to develop their business. Serious games in Japan are not a huge business theme, because it’s a smaller percentage of the market. I keep hearing many of the big companies want to promote serious games as part of their business."

You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including plenty more intriguing discussion on the serious games market in Japan (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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