Why Gaming in Japan is Different to the Rest of the World

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Japan Game image

No Japanese game is complete without a cute cartoon character

Gaming in Japan - Trends Old and New

Japan has always been a technological leader, particularly when it comes to gaming. Classic Sega and Nintendo arcade and video games were created in Japan, as were some of the biggest games in the PlayStation 2 era such as Final Fantasy and Resident Evil. Although some believe that the gaming industry is dying in Japan due to prominent Western game developers creating games such as Halo and Call of Duty which appear to have overtaken the industry, other forms of gaming are becoming popular in Japan. Although some parts of Japan may think Bingo is a province or a sports car dealership, the game of bingo is becoming increasingly popular with many people learning how to play 75 ball bingo, and in Japan it is viewed as one of the most current entertainment trends for women.

Bingo vs Pachinko

Although land based casinos and certain forms of gambling are unlawful, games like bingo are regularly played in the country, but mainly in online form. Although 75 ball bingo is mainly played in the United States, Japanese online bingo sites have been established to tailor to both 75 ball and 100 ball bingo. In addition to online gambling and gaming, Japan is also home to pachinko machines. Pachinko parlours are extremely popular in Japan, and pachinko machines are used as both a form of arcade game and more recently a form of gambling. Although winnings cannot be converted into cash due to gambling for money being illegal in the country, any winnings can be exchanged for prizes or tokens, a huge difference to many other parts of the world.

Japan Bingo

Bingo is mainly played online in Japan.

A Virtual Future

Japan are also beginning to prove how far ahead they are in the world of technology, by countering competitive companies' autumn releases, such as Microsoft's new streamlined Xbox One, and Nintendo's Wii U Consoles, with Sony releasing an affordable virtual reality headset. Virtual reality is still a relatively new technology and is beginning to be used more frequently, but this will be the first time that virtual reality will be made available for consumers at an affordable price, showing how Japan are one step ahead when it comes to gaming. Now, some of the biggest named Japanese companies are putting money into virtual reality (see link below).

Mobile Gaming Growth

Although Japan may not be the biggest video game market in the world now, it does have the world's largest market for mobile games, with the country's gaming market today largely being dominated by handheld game consoles instead of home consoles. In 2014 alone, the gaming market in Japan reach $9.6 billion, with $5.8 billion coming from mobile gaming, and since then the mobile market has continued to grow.

The Future

Japan has always been a world leader in technology and gaming in particular, and although their stance in console gaming has dropped, they are still important leading figures when it comes to mobile technology and new technologies such as virtual reality. Despite gambling being illegal in Japan, online gambling is remanded as acceptable, or at the very most frowned upon, as long as the company who runs the online gambling site is situated outside of Japan. Whether it's arcade games, console games, online bingo, or the newest mobile app on the market, Japan is certain to have its foot in the door, despite having distinct differences from the rest of the world.

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