How Does the Japanese Online Entertainment Industry Look Different in 2021? -- May 05
Traditionally, Japan is a world leader in new technologies, particularly those related to the entertainment industry and to the internet as a whole.

As we move further in to the 21st century, the country continues to innovate and surprise in these areas, inspiring other countries to follow their lead as they move forward into the future.

The 2020 Gaming Boom

Japan has always been a world leader in electronic gaming and currently stands as having one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world at over 91%. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the worldwide gaming boom that happened in 2020 boosted Japan’s industry to new heights. The global release of Sony’s long awaited Playstation 5 and the continued success of Nintendo’s Switch reconfirmed the country’s place as a leading light in traditional console gaming, whereas the growing influx of iGaming companies is as evident in Japanese society as it is elsewhere.

The esports industry also continues to go from strength to strength in Japan, gaining on the established enterprises located in the neighbouring countries of South Korea and China. Alongside this, people are generally more interested in gaming than ever before, as the desire to emulate successful esports stars develops and access to AAA gaming titles becomes easier across all devices.

As well as the massive success of new titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there is also a resurge of interest in traditional games. Pachinko and slots games are incredibly popular in Japan already, and increased access to these games online has been met with great enthusiasm lately. Trusted casino sites often provide customers with offers so that they can give the game a try before committing any of their own money to it. Websites like VegasSlotsOnline provide interested players with guides to all the best offers that are currently available, like no deposit bonuses and free spins, so that they don’t have to scour the internet for a trustworthy provider. Benefits of playing in this way include the fact that these offers are easy to claim and they give players the opportunity to try out a casino risk-free.

Streaming Services for TV, Music and Film Finally Prosper

Although streaming as a whole has been slower to take off in Japan than in other countries, it is now gaining in popularity as more content is created for local audiences. Statistics show that Amazon Prime is quite clearly the overall winner when it comes to paid video streaming and music streaming services, cornering about two thirds of Japanese video streaming consumers and almost a quarter of music streaming consumers. Netflix and Hulu are also popular for TV and film, but local platforms like dTV, dAnimeStore and U-Next are much further down the list. Spotify is holding its own against the Amazon behemoth, serving almost a quarter of the music streaming market itself, but many Japanese music fans are still loyal to analogue recordings on CD and even vinyl. Only time will tell whether the tide will eventually change completely on this matter.

The lack of uptake in video streaming platforms could be down to the fact that alternative platforms like YouTube are attracting more viewers, with people preferring to watch a wider variety of content for free, including amateur uploads as well as the latest releases from industry stalwarts. It could also be down to the fact that Japanese customers tend to access the internet through mobile devices rather than on a desktop or smart TV; because of this, lower bandwidth platforms could prove more appealing.

There is no question, however, that the Japanese population are committed and enthusiastic entertainment consumers, with yearly spending on these services increasing year on year. Much like online gaming platforms, streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify and more offer interested customers free trial periods so that they can test the service before committing to a regular subscription fee. This has proved an effective way to connect with consumers and grow the individual companies’ viewership.

Looking to the Future

Although streaming services may not ever have the same foothold in Japan that they do in Western countries such as the USA and UK, gaming remains overwhelmingly popular here in a way not often seen elsewhere. Looking forward to further developments in both VR and AR technology, as well as increased uses for the internet, Japan will likely maintain its role as world class innovator and pioneer.