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Survey suggests rough financial climate for Japanese developers

Survey suggests rough financial climate for Japanese developers

February 16, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

A new report has found that a number of Japan's game studios are struggling to make a profit in today's economic climate.

The report, conducted by The University of Gothenburg researcher Mirko Ernkvist, gathered data from 74 CEOs across a range of Japanese companies, and found that 48.2 percent, or almost half of the participating companies, did not report a profit in the last fiscal year.

While it's impossible to say whether this data is representative of the Japanese game industry at large, the data does support the growing consensus that Japan's game industry has fallen into a lull.

The survey also examined the tools Japanese companies use to create their games, and found that 57.8 percent of respondents reported using game engines during the last three years, 40.6 percent used physics engines, 37.5 percent used software configuration management programs, and 35.9 percent used AI engines.

In its analysis of the data, the report noted that these percentages could indicate a "lack of technological sophistication" for Japanese developers compared to their counterparts in the West.

In addition, many survey respondents indicated that they are using outsourcing to either accelerate development or to aid other companies. In all, 63.5 percent of respondents said they had worked as an outsourcing partner for another company's game during the last three fiscal years, while 78.7 percent reported outsourcing parts of their own projects to other companies.

The full, unabridged report, which covers topics including feedback techniques, external knowledge sources, and CEO background, can be downloaded as a PDF here [PDF file].

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