August 18, 2022

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Japanese gamers, who make up a huge percentage of the gaming population, have somewhat different tastes than those elsewhere in the world, according to findings by research firm Newzoo.

According to Newzoo’s findings, Japanese gamers largely prefer single-player games. The number of gamers who responded that they played single-player over multiplayer modes was higher in Japan than it was elsewhere in the world. 45% percent of gamers asked say they play multiplayer mode most on either PC or console. Global players responded with 62% on console and 60% on PC.

Across all three platforms — PC, console, and mobile — RPGs were the single most popular genre for Japanese gamers. A whopping 45% of players said it was their top genre on console, as opposed to 35% who responded “adventure,” the next-most popular answer. Only 23% of global audiences responded the same. According to Newzoo’s report, the games they’re most likely to have played include Pokémon, Genshin Impact, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest.

By comparison, shooters are much less popular, with 23% of Japanese players calling the genre their most-played on console. This is one of the wider gaps between the two markets, as 31% of global gamers said they played shooters the most. According to Newzoo’s report, 33 other countries named shooters as the number one genre. In Japan it was only number six. That said, Apex Legends is also extremely popular in the country.

Japanese gamers have bought quite a few Switches

Another insight the report provided is that the Nintendo Switch is extremely popular in Japan. As of November 22 this year, Nintendo sold more than 22 million Switches in Japan, which is over a fifth of the total Switch consoles sold worldwide. This makes sense as the aforementioned games that Japanese gamers seem to like — single-player RPGs — are quite populous on the Switch.

One final bit of insight from Newzoo’s report is that Japanese gamers seem to have slightly different reasons to play games than those in other countries. While 63% of global gamers say they play games to unwind, only 50% of Japanese gamers said the same. In a similar survey of American gamers, 60% said they play games to relax and unwind, while games with a strong narrative didn’t rate as highly with them.

Meanwhile, 45% of Japanese players say they play to get immersed in a game’s story, as opposed to 38% of global gamers. If they play to get immersed, the popularity of single-player RPGs makes total sense.


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