Microsoft's Peter Moore Slams Japanese Games Scene!

Hilarious Mahjong gaffe inside.

Posted by Staff
Peter Moore
Peter Moore
Speaking at the Games Developers Conference on America’s West Coast last week, Microsoft's outspoken corporate vice president Peter Moore made some incredible comments about the Japanese gaming scene in perhaps the most shocking outburst ever to come from a Microsoft Xbox official.

When asked about possible future developmental resistance to the company's recently unveiled XNA tool suite, Moore said, "They have no choice [to support us] because they can't survive on Mahjong games shipping to 100,000 people anymore. They have the same issues that we're resolving with XNA now. They need to develop large-scale global games to stay in business."

Incredibly, Moore decided he had some further thoughts to share about the Japanese gaming scene, without question the most fertile and varied anywhere on the planet. Speaking of his last visit to the Tokyo Game Show, Moore said, "I thought I saw the same game 15 times over: a guy with a sword running around. There's a lack of creative juices which they admit themselves. It's the western developers and publishers who are really driving innovation."

This incredible outburst is perhaps one of the most startling made by any platform holder's representative to date, and will not be considered too wise by Microsoft’s beleaguered Japanese third-party development support team. Perhaps the wider implications of making such remarks will never be publicly known.
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Comments

NFG 30 Mar 2004 14:00
1/8
It doesn't sound like an 'outburst' that says anything that, like the article states, the japanese aren't admitting to themselves. I was at TGS too, and it's absolutely true that every company had the same game on display: A 3D adventure game. One generic game with different skins. It was embarassing.

It's been said for quite some time now that innovation has shifted back from the Japanese to the Western developers, and it seems to be true. Or, put another way, Japanese developers aren't innovating anymore and the Western ones can't possibly be worse.

Yes, there are exceptions. Yes, there's still hope, but by and large what Moore said is totally on the ball, and it sounds less like a Yamauchi-ism and more like a call to arms mixed with typical Microsoft bravado: "The Japanese are faltering and (we think) we've got the answer."
Brown Force 30 Mar 2004 14:58
2/8
I agree. I really can't belive Japan won't accept the Xbox. And not because of the games available for it, its because there so close minded that they refuse to buy into anything thats not Japanese. And thats really sad. Japan WAS home to the most innovative games...but now its the West and anyway everyone knows the most Innovative games come from the UK (GTA anyone?). This is not an outburst, this is the truth, if Japan hate it, who cares. Let them go back in their shell and pretend nothing else exists.
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Joji 30 Mar 2004 15:58
3/8
It's true that some japanese won't admit that things ain't progress into new ideas and games. But I believe this will go full circle and change in time (eg Biohazard 4). The japanese strive to keep their cultural/historical identity, games included (hence the samurai sword or swords in general feature a lot). This can be hard to do when you have western culture everywhere you look around the world, even in Japan. A game like the brilliant Viewtiful Joe, was aimed at an eastern audience who grew up on anime and sentai shows (stuff like Power Rangers), but it still sold well outside of Japan, I'm sure it can work vice versa. Through anime, manga and games westerners understand the japanese mindset much more. This same mentality can work for developers too. If good proper research is done into japanese market and history, you can sell games to them. They want Ninja Gaiden etc, not really Halo, though this might be changing. If exposing them to our games can't quickly change their mindset, atleast it might give them new ideas, and do it slowly. So what Mr Moore is saying is a double eged sword. Microsoft got off the plane to Japan and expected high sales, because they are arrogant Microsoft, though I knew it wouldn't work from day one. Microsoft only have themselves to blame, for making Xbox so large, when the average japanese household has more consoles besides, and a lot less dwelling space in general. A small, but major factor in their plight.
Warzone 30 Mar 2004 17:49
4/8
The japanese market is one of the most prolific and innovative in the world? THAT is being on something.

With a few exceptions, there would be NO japanese game market without Europe and USA. RE is the perfect example: they got Alone in the Dark, made some changes, and sold it. Was it good? It was. Except the instant they tried to move away from that formula, they got nothing but crap - and it started with RE2, not Gun Survivor (which was one of the few attempts at originality ever seen from there - and except for Dead Aim, all horribly botched ones too).

Again, with FEW exceptions (mainly Myamoto, who hoewever has hardly made any progresses in game design since Zelda 3 and Mario World), there is LITTLE TO NO INNOVATION WHATSOEVER coming from Japan since - well - EVER.
cherok 31 Mar 2004 01:31
5/8
I cannot agree more with what Moore stated. The video game medium has so much more artistic potential than to be only another faceless money hording gimmic. I have in recent years been seriously driven away by much of the repetitive nonsense that is thrust in gamer directions.

I would like nothing more than to see video games achieve near the respectability that films have earned by means of producing original content that excites the audience.

Progression not regression, please
downsouthhustla 31 Mar 2004 01:33
6/8
Being an Xbox owner, I hope that there can be some resolution of the current conflict of Japanese developers with the Xbox. I have sorely missed the Japanese influence (art, gameplay, RPG's) represented in PS2's game lineup, and if there is no change with the Xbox2 games, I believe that PS3 will even further strengthen their grip on the gaming market. This means they can license and publish more garbage titles, declaring a virtual monopoly (Nintendo has lost all say-so regarding the majority of gamers).
Joji 31 Mar 2004 14:42
7/8
Even if Xbox flops in Japan, I guess it has given Microsoft some experience in the market, and given japanese gamers, something they might have otherwise not experienced, gamewise. We all know for years it's been a bit of a one way street, where japanese games sell abroad. The thing is that other factors like the lack of broadband uptake in Japan, and lack of an RPG at launch also effected Xbox chances, funny the latter also happened to N64. A nice flipside of the eastern coin is Korea where they have good online services, (even though it's PCs and not Xboxs) and western games like Counter Strike are played alongside Ragnorok Online. South Korea seems to be more open to both western and eastern tastes of games. Perhaps in time this might rub off on Japan. Perhaps a combination of korean and western games might be able to make Xbox2 success in Japan from launch. This way an RPG or two will be ready at launch, next to other western software. As for innovating games from japan, in time the ball will return to their court, all we have to do is throw it in their direction, the same way they did to us. Also japanese developers can take more risks than their western counterparts, which is always a good thing. The opposite in the west, where if a game isn't 3D, it's too risky and won't sell, apparently. Lastly, it could be said that the west is also lacking in imagination, since the last half decent, western beat em up was the Mortal Kombat series, which still has no western challengers for it's title. I also believe that small developers have the keys to change things in japan, and abroad. Small in size and money, but big on imagination and hardwork to get things right. Biggies like EA and Eidos, will be the death of the industry eventually.


Romeo done.
neohxc 1 Apr 2004 05:16
8/8
is peter moore related to that simon judge guy from american idol? haha

Joji wrote:

>Even if Xbox flops in Japan, I guess it has given
>Microsoft some experience in the market, and
>given japanese gamers, something they might have
>otherwise not experienced, gamewise. We all know
>for years it's been a bit of a one way street,
>where japanese games sell abroad. The thing is
>that other factors like the lack of broadband
>uptake in Japan, and lack of an RPG at launch
>also effected Xbox chances, funny the latter also
>happened to N64. A nice flipside of the eastern
>coin is Korea where they have good online
>services, (even though it's PCs and not Xboxs)
>and western games like Counter Strike are played
>alongside Ragnorok Online. South Korea seems to
>be more open to both western and eastern tastes
>of games. Perhaps in time this might rub off on
>Japan. Perhaps a combination of korean and
>western games might be able to make Xbox2 success
>in Japan from launch. This way an RPG or two will
>be ready at launch, next to other western
>software. As for innovating games from japan, in
>time the ball will return to their court, all we
>have to do is throw it in their direction, the
>same way they did to us. Also japanese developers
>can take more risks than their western
>counterparts, which is always a good thing. The
>opposite in the west, where if a game isn't 3D,
>it's too risky and won't sell, apparently.
>Lastly, it could be said that the west is also
>lacking in imagination, since the last half
>decent, western beat em up was the Mortal Kombat
>series, which still has no western challengers
>for it's title. I also believe that small
>developers have the keys to change things in
>japan, and abroad. Small in size and money, but
>big on imagination and hardwork to get things
>right. Biggies like EA and Eidos, will be the
>death of the industry eventually.
>
>
>Romeo done.

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