How To Launch Your Game In Japan?
Updated: Sep 8
The Japanese gaming industry is the world's third-largest after China and the United States, with millions of passionate gamers and some of the biggest gaming companies. It's no wonder that small and medium-sized game developers around the world are interested in breaking into this market. However, entering the Japanese gaming market can be challenging, with unique requirements and cultural considerations that can make or break a game's success.
In this blog post, we will explore how to launch your game in Japan, providing insights and tips to help you navigate within the Japanese gaming industry and achieve success in this highly competitive market. If you would like to read more about the market sizes and preferences check our article on Which game market brings in the most revenue?
Understanding the Japanese Gaming Market
To successfully sell and promote your game in Japan, it is essential to understand the Japanese gaming market. Here are some key facts and figures:
Japan is the world's third-largest gaming market, behind China and the United States. In 2020, the Japanese gaming market was valued at $19.8 billion.
Console gaming is still very popular in Japan, with the PlayStation 5 being the best-selling console in the country in 2020.
Mobile gaming is also a significant segment of the market, with games like Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike being particularly popular.
Japanese consumers are known for their love of role-playing games (RPGs), simulation games, and puzzle games.
The market is highly competitive, with several large domestic game companies dominating the industry, such as Nintendo, Sony, and Bandai Namco.
How difficult is it really to enter the Japanese Gaming Market?
Entering the Japanese market as a small or medium-sized game developer can be challenging. Japan has strict regulations regarding game content, with a focus on protecting children from harmful material. The country also has complex laws regarding game development, publishing, and distribution. Furthermore, cultural differences and language barriers can make it difficult for foreign developers to gain a foothold in the market. Here are some of the major obstacles you may face and how to overcome them:
Licensing and Regulations: Before releasing your game in Japan, you must obtain the necessary licenses and comply with local regulations. The process can be time-consuming and expensive, but it is essential to ensure your game meets local standards.
Cultural Barriers: Japan has a unique culture that may be unfamiliar to foreign game developers. It is important to understand Japanese cultural norms and consumer preferences to ensure your game is well-received.
Marketing Channels: The marketing channels used in Japan may differ from those in your home country. Japanese consumers may prefer different social media platforms or search engines, for example. It is important to research the most effective marketing channels for your target audience in Japan.
Language Barriers: Japanese consumers are more likely to purchase games that are in their native language. It is essential to translate your game and marketing materials into Japanese to appeal to a wider audience.
In order to successfully launch your game in the Japanese market, there are several steps you can take to overcome the challenges mentioned above. Firstly, it is important to obtain a license from the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) in Japan. CERO is responsible for rating video games and has strict guidelines that must be followed for a game to be released in Japan.
When it comes to local marketing channels, it is important to consider the popular platforms used by the Japanese gaming community. For example, the messaging app LINE is popular in Japan and can be used for marketing purposes. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are also widely used in Japan and can be utilized for advertising.
In terms of advertising laws, it is important to ensure that all advertising complies with local regulations. The Japan Fair Trade Commission has strict guidelines for advertising, and it is important to be aware of these guidelines to avoid any legal issues.
Tips for Selling and Promoting Your Game in Japan
Here are some tips for successfully selling and promoting your game in Japan:
Localize Your Game: As mentioned earlier, it is essential to translate your game and marketing materials into Japanese. This includes everything from in-game text to promotional videos and press releases.
Leverage Influencers: Influencer marketing is a popular tactic in Japan. Consider partnering with Japanese influencers in the gaming industry to promote your game and reach a wider audience.
Attend Trade Shows and Events: Attending gaming trade shows and events in Japan is a great way to showcase your game to a targeted audience. It also provides an opportunity to network with industry professionals and potential partners.
Advertise your game strategically: The Japanese gaming market has strict advertising laws, and it is crucial to advertise your game strategically. Consider using local marketing channels and platforms such as LINE and Twitter.
Use local marketing channels: Utilize local marketing channels such as LINE, Twitter, and YouTube to promote your game. Partnering with local influencers can also be an effective way to reach your target audience.
Offer In-Game Purchases: Japanese consumers are known for their willingness to spend money on in-game purchases. Consider offering in-game purchases to monetize your game and generate revenue.
Dominating the Japanese game market is no easy task, but with thorough research and preparation, it is possible to achieve success and take your share. Understanding the Japanese gaming preferences, obtaining a license, localizing your game, and utilizing local marketing channels are essential factors in the success of any game in Japan. If you're looking for help with your marketing needs, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help you achieve success in the Japanese gaming industry.