Features// This Week in Japan: Afrika Corpse?

Posted 4 Sep 2008 15:03 by
Games:
Tsutaya
Tsutaya
The Tokyo Game Show is just over a month away and already the battle in this part of the world is hotting up. Suddenly Microsoft Japan seems to be making a real go of things ? I wonder if something has been put into the tea they?re drinking at MS Japan HQ? As well as price cuts for the Standard, Elite and Arcade models of the 360, there?s a new 60GB hardware bundle due here on September 11th. At 29,800yen ? about 150 ? it?s probably the best buy of the lot. Microsoft even has the games Japan wants ? Tales of Vesperia last month, Inifinite Undiscovery this month? it?s almost as though Microsoft is trying to be a contender in Japan.

Afrika Corpse
The only thing Sony is shouting about at the moment is Afrika. I bought my copy of the game last Thursday, the day of its release. The shop I bought it from was Tsutaya, Japan?s version of Blockbuster Video. I asked the girl behind the counter if they?d sold many copies of Afrika, but it turned out I was the first person to buy a copy ? and I hadn?t got to the store till 4pm.
Afrika
Afrika
They?d received ten copies that morning, but even after I left there were nine still remaining. As I write this, sales stats aren?t in from Media Create yet, but if my experience is any indication, Afrika probably isn?t top of the charts. And that?s in spite of some pretty heavy TV advertising in the fortnight leading up to its launch.

As for the game itself, it?s certainly a change from the norm but it?s not much of a ?gamers? game? ? it?s a bit like a next-gen Pokemon Snap, but without so many weird creatures. Probably if it was a Wii game and Nintendo had been responsible for marketing it, Afrika would have gone on to sell two million copies. As a PS3 game marketed by Sony, I think it?ll fade into obscurity by the end of the month.

Second Hand Daylight
Time for a quick diversion from the new: a noble SPOnG reader wanted to hear about the state of the used game scene in Japan, so I?m going to oblige. In short, second-hand game sales appear to be huge in Japan. Even major, legitimate, not-at-all-shady retailers like Tsutaya and Sofmap openly sell and buy used videogames.

Some local Japanese developers I?ve spoken to blame Japan?s thriving used games market for disappointing sales figures in recent years, but I think this is a problem that?s always been here so I can?t quite see the logic there.

Anyway, there are a few quirks peculiar to the Japanese second-hand games market:

1. You can get up to around 85% of the price you paid for a new copy of a game when selling it back to the shop, depending on timing and the scarcity of new copies.

2. There?s no such thing as higher trade-in values over standard sell-it-back-to-the-shop transactions.

3. Used games are generally in such pristine condition that it can be difficult to tell which games are new and which are second-hand.

4. As part of the checkout ritual, larger game shops and electronics retailers sneak printed papers detailing the prices they will pay for all sorts of titles into the bag which holds your brand new purchase. All things considered, it?s easy to see why second-hand games are big business in Japan.
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Comments

VinTheDean 4 Sep 2008 14:24
1/11
The reason why Afrika will not sell is because it is not a world wide release. i probably would of bought this game so that my little kids can see animals on my big screen.
Hark 5 Sep 2008 10:15
2/11
Hey Martin!

Good right up, Another advantage of trading games is that many people would use the price they recieve from the trades towards buying the new titles. So in a way this helps increase the sales of new games.

Also in your opinion wheres the best place to buy games in Tokyo? Im heading there later this month...I know about Akiba, but u got any stores which are ur favs?
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Hark 5 Sep 2008 10:16
3/11
*right* = write......sorry I dont really think when I write (right)
M. Olsen 5 Sep 2008 11:10
4/11
Hark wrote:
Hey Martin!

Good right up, Another advantage of trading games is that many people would use the price they recieve from the trades towards buying the new titles. So in a way this helps increase the sales of new games.

Also in your opinion wheres the best place to buy games in Tokyo? Im heading there later this month...I know about Akiba, but u got any stores which are ur favs?


Hark, you probably are already familiar with it, but I'd recommend the multi-storey extravaganza of Super Potato if you're retro-inclined. Otherwise, if it's new stuff you're after, Laox, Sofmap and Yodobashi branches are much of a muchness.
schnide 5 Sep 2008 13:00
5/11
3. Used games are generally in such pristine condition that it can be difficult to tell which games are new and which are second-hand.


Maybe I'm Japanese, because I take care of every game I ever have. There's nothing I've sold on eBay that I wouldn't have been able to list as 'New' because you wouldn't know any different if you bought it. I don't understand how people can turn in games for trade-in that look like they've been used as a dance floor on a salsa night.
Joji 10 Sep 2008 00:42
6/11
Thanks for checking out the second hand market in japan, Martin. I believe I was the one who asked about this aspect of japan, and it makes an interesting contrast to our markets in the west.

Hey guess what, Martin, I already have your next assignment (i'll be pitching my tent outside Spong HQ next, lol).

Find some japanese gamers who own 360s and find out their opinions of the 360, western 360 games, exclusives like Lost Odyssey, Xbox Live, Live Arcade, XNA etc. What's it like to be a 360 gamer in japan? Do they like the ideas MS have introduced to gaming, and would they buy an MS console again?

Add some other good 360 questions if you must. I hope you can deliver, good luck.

tyrion 10 Sep 2008 08:43
7/11
Joji wrote:
(i'll be pitching my tent outside Spong HQ next, lol).

Make sure it's got a good zip, remember we live in an underwater castle. :-)
Ricardo 10 Sep 2008 14:36
8/11
Maybe you should check Japan game sales data again?!... Just a suggestion ;)
Joji 10 Sep 2008 15:41
9/11
Hey, maybe Afrika didn't sell, because all PS3 owner are waiting to board the Capcom RE5 plane to Africa. Less cheetahs and lion picture taking, and more beating zombie villagers to death.

PS3 PokeSnap? Anyone would dodge that. Good one, Sony.
tyrion 10 Sep 2008 16:39
10/11
Ricardo wrote:
Maybe you should check Japan game sales data again?!... Just a suggestion ;)

Hey, would you look at that! In the figures posted the day after we published this article and two days after it was written Afrika jumped to second place in the software charts in Japan!
M. Olsen 10 Sep 2008 22:50
11/11
Oi, Ricardo, please read what I wrote:

"As I write this, sales stats aren?t in from Media Create yet, but if my experience is any indication, Afrika probably isn?t top of the charts."

That was *true*. It wasn't top -- it was in second place. And:

"As a PS3 game marketed by Sony, I think it?ll fade into obscurity by the end of the month."

I'm pretty sure this will hold true, as well. If it's still in the Top Ten by the end of September, I'll write you a personal apology and send you a bouquet of carnations. OK?
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