The Growth of Interactive Media in Japan

newsonjapan.com -- Jun 12
The internet is quickly replacing more traditional forms of entertainment.

Most notably any sort of in-person social events. Where previously people would gather to watch a movie, play a board game, or hang out and enjoy a barbecue, it seems most now prefer online interactions.

The consequences are many, but there are plenty of benefits as well. Part of what makes online gaming so attractive is the chance to enjoy engaging content with minimal effort. Additionally, much of the social experiences lost to the wind are making a comeback, in a different way of course.

Video Games

The video game industry is perhaps one of the fastest growing in history. There’s ample reason for this, along with an explanation for why it continues to climb in popularity in tandem with the fad of “home office” work. The growing number of video gaming players continues to soar, and the interest in the esports industry is also blooming. Long gone are the days where video games were labelled as “nerdy” by the general global population.

You likely already know how easy it is to boot up a video game and start playing right away. It’s simple, satisfying, and can provide hours of fun. These are only a few variables that partake in the media’s explosion in popularity.

The true attraction is a chance to play online with others.

Multiplayer Focus

The draw into virtual worlds enjoyed user base growth over many years. This was a slow but consistent increase. Technological advancements were the cheerleaders of the medium. They allowed for more hype over shorter periods of time.

This is where the internet stepped in to revolutionize video games as a whole, not to mention other markets eager to reach a wider audience. Instead of clambering for more users, though, most developers sought to provide better service and, in the end, a highly refined product.

Multiplayer games took the world by storm. The phenomenon started as a chance for competition with others. It evolved into what’s available now - a mix of titles to fit all kinds of needs. Thus, the in-person gathering was replaced by games that satisfy the following multiplayer opportunities, and many more:

  • MMOs for team play
  • FPS titles for competition
  • Survival games for building communities
  • Social platforms that hyperfocus on interactive features with others

Gacha and Gambling

In Japan, and many other countries in the East, two forms of online entertainment took precedence. These are gambling and gacha style games. Both stand out due to their focus on chance rather than skill.

Gacha

Gacha is a type of video game where “toy vending machines” are implemented and form part of the main gameplay loop. While similar in nature to loot boxes or crates, they’re a method of progress based entirely on chance.

In contrast to Korea, where skill-based games like Starcraft are most lauded, Japanese players flock to games with features dependent on random algorithms.

Online Gambling

Not far from the Gacha genre, online gambling has plenty of games to offer where outcomes are randomized. In Japan, however, there are strict rules against the activity. This is especially true for online gambling, where any offshore participation is a criminal offense.

The Legal Online Casinos in Japan are hyper focused on horse racing bets at physical locations, as they’re one of the few permitted games in the country. Funnily enough, the lack of establishments in Japan is mostly due to almost very low proper regulation. People can’t play what they want because the government doesn’t just hasn’t been able to engage and focus to get legislation organized.

The craze is incredible, though. There are a ton of people in the country that are heavily interested in gambling, some even willing to risk time in prison just to play online. With the advent of online multiplayer, fans are sure to want more over time.

Expectations

A free market is synonymous with a vacuum filling; any market left unattended will attract someone to invest and create a product or service to satisfy demand. Considering the popularity of online games and gambling, you should expect to see the government act swiftly in regards to regulation in the near future.

It’s only a matter of time before the market explodes in popularity, and the Japanese people will gain full access to online platforms of all types.