Atlus CEO Discusses Struggling Japanese Console Market
In spite of the Japanese game market going through some well-documented struggles, Persona 5 has been a huge hit for Atlus. In fact, the game, which moved over 400,000 units in its first two weeks, was the fastest selling title ever for the publisher. UK outlet MCV caught up with Atlus CEO Naoto Hiraoka to discuss the company’s year.
Here’s what the Atlus head honcho had to say about the current state of the Japanese console market:
The market is narrowing thanks to the prevalence of mobile phone games, and the shrinking of the ‘otaku’ culture in Japan, but our target audience is not only Japan. After our success in North America, I believe the next step is to move on to Europe; there are many consumers who hold a strong interest in Japanese culture, such as France. We are striving to serve everyone as best we can.
Despite this general downswing in the Japanese marketplace, Atlus sales haven’t sagged. “The sales ratio of Atlus titles is approximately the same,” said Hiraoka. “Which is a very rare case in Japanese-based publishing.” This definitely showcases one of the advantages to servicing a specific niche audience rather than a broad one. While the casual gamer is no longer buying consoles in Japan, Atlus’ audience is still there.
While the game has been big in Japan, Hiraoka expects big things from North America as well:
Obviously we have very high expectations for it in the West, and feel that it will become a representative title of Atlus, not only in Japan but in the West as well. Each and every staff member is working extremely hard to ensure it sets the gold standard for our localisations and culturalisations.
It’s great to see that Persona 5 has been such a success for Atlus, especially during a time where consoles are struggling.