Why Are So Many Video Games Made In Japan

Patrick Lawrence

A lot of video games are made in Japan for one main reason. It’s cheaper than making them in the United States and other foreign countries.

Japan is a very cheap place to make video games. The graphic engines have the most down-to-earth prices.

Japan also has something called a “minimum guarantee”. This means if the game undersells at least 50%, they pay you 50% of the price difference.

When the Steam catalog is very small and most games cost over $20, the U.S. actually pays a lot less than the cost of making the games in Japan.

That’s why it’s much cheaper to make games in Japan.

What Japan gets out of video games

random photos of my SONY A6000

To make video games is to create fun for the person who is playing. In Japan, video games are fun for them, not just money makers.

Japan gets more than just the direct sale of the games. What most people don’t realize is that Nintendo is the biggest game maker in the world.

Nintendo is in a different position than EA, Sony, Microsoft, or even Nintendo itself.

Nintendo makes Nintendo games. Not Microsoft or Sony. Nintendo makes the games that everyone wants to play.

Sony, Microsoft, and other game makers make their games for a broad audience of gamers or geeks. Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo know that some gamers don’t want to play games like Halo or FIFA.

Some gamers do want to play awesome Mario or Zelda. Those are Nintendo’s core gamers.

If Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo made games just for the core gamers, Nintendo could not survive.

They can only get about 75% of their games made by the core gamers. So for them to survive, they need to make games that the broader audience wants.

The broad audience includes casual gamers and families

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Those are Nintendo’s gamers. Family is much more important than casual gamers.

It doesn’t matter if you have kids. They are not gamers. If you are married, you don’t play video games.

It does matter to Nintendo that families like Mario and Zelda. This is why you see Nintendo make games that appeal to families as well as for their core gamers.

This is why Nintendo would rather put out games that are different from the core gamers, than the non-core gamers. This is also why we see fewer Mario games than other big gaming companies.

Mario is a classic gamer that works in places like San Diego, California, where the core gamers live.

Mario and Zelda were never meant for places like San Diego. They were meant for Japan.

However, in America, Nintendo gets very few Nintendo games for the family.

When the family is doing something together, you would much rather play something that is fun and family-friendly, like Mario Kart.

Nintendo thinks of Mario Kart as a great family game. But for the rest of us, we want more like Wii Sports.

Wii Sports was Nintendo’s first real attempt to make a family-friendly Mario game.

Nintendo would rather not make Wii Sports but the game did sell 5 million copies.

Nintendo is only too happy to make fun of games like Animal Crossing and their franchises, like Zelda and Mario.

But those games only sell because the casual gamers are eating them up.

And what does Nintendo get out of them?

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

The “star” of Nintendo, the Mario character, can only sell so many games.

The only real way for Nintendo to make money is for Mario and Zelda to become more popular.

So when Nintendo makes a Mario game, they put the Mario character in the game. It’s a marketing strategy, not to market Mario, but to make people want to play the game.

Even when Mario gets a smaller role in the game, the fact that the character is in the game just encourages more people to play the game.

The net effect is that Nintendo sells games to more people.

Because Nintendo cannot sell Nintendo games to the broader market, Nintendo becomes like a car company, they sell to the person who is willing to drive the car to where the person wants to go.

That is why a Mario game works on Nintendo’s grand scheme of making video games. A person who likes Mario would be willing to drive to a Super Mario game store to play a Super Mario game.

But if a person does not have a car, or is young, that person may not be interested in Mario, even if they do like Mario.

The same is true for Smash Bros. The great popularity of Super Smash Bros. did not come from the average video gamer.

They just played the game because they like Super Smash Bros. And then the game got popular.

And now it is popular, even though it was never the mainstream video game. It was just popular in the gaming world.

That is why Smash Bros. is such an interesting case for Nintendo. They released it because it was a Smash Bros. game and that was it. Not even thinking about its commercial appeal.

Smash Bros. was a Wii exclusive at launch. Nintendo has never released a game that it has not first released on a Nintendo system.

Nintendo does not think about Smash Bros. as the top-selling game. It does not think about it as an audience game.

The thinking with Smash Bros. is something like this: Smash Bros. is an awesome game.

I would love to play Smash Bros. more often. I am a huge Nintendo fan. I think Smash Bros. is awesome.

So I will buy a Smash Bros. game. I may also buy Wii U. Or I may just buy Nintendo games.

Who knows?

Circa Play