Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Look at the Japanese to Western Gaming Censorship Problem

Though I only briefly said it before I predicted that other Japanese gaming studios would follow the actions of Koei Tecmo regarding western censorship. I said that once this exclusion of the western marketplace became a "thing" other developers would likely follow in Koei Tecmo's footsteps. Whether it's out of fear of a backlash, or straight stupidity it is inexcusable for any entertainment provider from any country in the world to not port an adult themed product to another country who clearly has an audience for adult material, especially a legally acceptable market for such material. At first I seriously thought this was an ordeal about social justice warriors, or extremists complaining about DOAX3's sexually provocative young ladies, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it seems to be something else entirely. My theory is that these "niche" Japanese developers are looking for a way out of providing for the minor amount of fans they have amassed in the United States. I think their fear doesn't lie with the morals of the outspoken few, but instead lies with the realization that it costs more, and doesn't pay out nearly enough to produce their niche games overseas. I think the whole censorship debate was a marketing ploy started by Koei Tecmo, and that it is slowly being adapted by other like-minded Japanese developers. I think other niche developers like Idea Factory who recently caved into such supposed western censorship regulations are catching on, and are slowly backing out of the US market in an attempt to save face and finances. That of course is a theory though. Take it as you will.

Regardless of the reasons behind Koei Tecmo's, and Idea Factory's departure from the western gaming market I will not, as a loyal gamer, and a consenting adult stand idly by and take their excuses at face value. I will not buy into such idiocy, and outright ignorance that is the debate of western acceptance, or the lack thereof. The fact is Americans watch a ridiculous amount of porn each year, and as far as I can tell DOAX3, or anything Idea Factory/Koei Tecmo has, or would have created wouldn't have been on a level playing field with that sort of adult content. Let's not forget that buying completely uncensored porn, and watching it in the United States is perfectly legal (unless of course it is deemed otherwise ... beastiality, pedophilia, etc., ...), and that it is not censored like the mosaic porn of Japan.

You can only use the excuse of western censorship, and regulations so far until you start sounding like an absolute fool. You may get away with it in your country of origin due to BS fed ignorance, or one-sided political propaganda pushing, but should you actually set foot on western soil, and make the United States your home for years you'd be clued into the truth. It's one of those "You don't know me until you've walked a mile in my shoes" types of deals. Granted I do realize America has it's own set of issues that obviously conflict with the truths of other countries, but in this instance I'm finding those who are crying out to Japanese developers from the US to not do what they are doing are more in the right than the Japanese developers, and publishers who are trying to bail on them. What say you Japan? Are you going to ditch the country that helped make gaming as great as it once was?

When it comes to gaming industry business ethics a developer, or publisher must know the audience they are reaching out to. Simple numbers, and graphs aren't always going to give you the financial truths that you seek. Gaming is an art medium just like any other. To gain an audience you have to brave the odds, reach out to the right people, and market your brand of art for what it is. Should you gain the attention of others do research, especially if those who are interested are of a different cultural background. Have your agents live in said country, and learn first hand what excites the customer, and what turns the customer away. Never EVER assume anything. Even if someone hands you an expertly drawn chart of sales numbers, and growth flow DO NOT take it at face value. The systems that are used to gain this sort of info are usually biased by their country of origin, and do not take in account the accuracy of readings from another country's standpoint. Each country in this world is governed by it's own unique principles, beliefs, and economy. Though some things are humanly similar like the love for sex, or the enjoyment of televised violence there will be things that set the industry standards apart. In realizing this keep in mind that we as humans all have a base set of interests no matter where we are from. Most of the time, if not all the time our curiosities are peaked in a similar manner. We find beauty in the human figure, intrigue in the actions of others, and even discover wonders in the ideals that are not our own. We are not all that different, you and I. When you realize this as a business man, or woman you'll begin to see that reaching out to new audiences is not as trying, or as taboo as it may have once seemed.

Should you only be financially motivated though your business will eventually falter. You have to understand completely the industry that you are in, and have a love for said industry. You also have to have a passion for your projects, and a longing to please those whom you are seeking to buy into your product. I'm not saying to cave into ridiculous demands, or forgo your morals to bend over, and take it up the ass, but instead do business with whomever, because you love what it is that you are doing. If push comes to shove stand up for yourself, and continue selling your product in the face of adversity. Often times the most genius inventors went against all odds, and naysayers only to end up being remembered long after they were dead, and gone. Do you want to be remembered for your greed, or do you want to be remembered for the great things you created? This is a question that must be asked in order to help any business man, or woman realize their potential in the marketplace. Sure money intake is a must if you aim to grow, but don't forsake those customers that made you who you are for a bigger piece of the financial pie. Lastly listen to those who cry out in your favor for your product when others are on the fence about it, and are publicly shunning your creativity. Artists of great renown have a history of not being appreciated until later on, but rest assured there are lovers of art today that would kill to own some of the masterpieces created ages ago. I guess what I'm getting at is that it might take a while to reap the fruits of your labor, but when you do harvest your rewards they could be greater than you had ever imagined. What's not beautiful today could easily be deemed beautiful just a few years down the road. Should you choose to turn your back on a paying crowd in your lifetime though, and make an ass of yourself doing so your art/product may become forever scrutinized, and your business's namesake equally as so. Tread carefully.

I'm going to close in saying, "know the truth". Know who your audience is, and never turn your back on those who would go to war in the public's eye to defend you. You can either end up looking like a greedy industry asshole, and lose out in the long run, or you can make a name for yourself even if it is only by standing up for what is right. Don't be that greedy asshole.

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