News Article

Japanese Wii U eShop Still Waiting for its First Download-Only Game

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Those of us in the West are rather fortunate

It's a common refrain among gamers in the West, especially with 3DS games, to bemoan a number of rather interesting titles that either don't come out of Japan or, alternatively, take an age to do so. When you also take into account the number of attractive hardware revisions of the handheld, particularly, it can be tempting to say that the West is often deprived of some rare treats.

However, the shoe could be conceived as being on the other foot in Japan, with one example being the Wii U eShop. We may have liked to complain when a glut of launch download-only games was followed by a barren spell of around 6-8 weeks, with some new titles arriving with regularity since mid-late January. In Japan, however, Wii U owners are apparently preparing to enjoy their first download-only release — Nano Assault Neo.

This is due to a rule in the Japanese marketplace that developers need a company with majority ownership based in Japan to pick up publishing duties; this applies to 3DS, Wii U and also impacted on the Wii Shop. As a result the Japanese store is reportedly only populated by some retail downloads and the free-to-play version of Tank! Tank! Tank!; now Arc System Works is picking up Shin'en Multimedia's twin-stick arcade shooter, bringing it to Nintendo's homeland long after the equivalent launch day arrival in other territories.

It's pretty obvious why this publishing policy isn't used in the West, as it's simply too restrictive, so it's surprising that it's still the case in Japan. In any case, it seems that both regions have grounds for complaint in terms of game availability.


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User Comments (19)



x-mas_mii said:

That rule seems much too restricrtive; we wouldn't have a game market here if that was the case and does that mean no indie games?



Mahe said:

Hopefully the Japanese will enjoy this game as much as Westerners.



bahooney said:

Eh. I'd say this is nothing compared to long translation times or localization never happening. Give me Tomodachi Collection, Taiko no Tatsujin, or MOTHER 2 on the VC before anything we have here!



TheAdza said:

Bravely Default, Dragon Quest 7, Super Robot Wars, the list of 3DS games that should be released outside of Japan just goes on and on and on.



Tsuchinoko said:

Just remember that although people in the west will eventually get a lot of these retail games they are waiting for, we in Japan still don't have a lot of games like VVVVVV, Mutant Mudds, Mighty Switch Force, Colors 3D, and quite a few others.



cornishlee said:

That does seem like a somewhat archaic law. I'm familiar with that situation in various countries from my own line of work but I never expected it to apply to the Japanese video games market!



TheHeroOfLegend said:

That seems really strict for a Japanese video game law. I guess it's to keep shovelware out of Japan?



JJtheTexan said:

I would assume another part of the problem is a sort of reverse-localization, with the costs of having game text translated into Japanese.



Kyloctopus said:

I never realised. No Japanese developer was developing WiiUware.
I still find it strange Nintendo didn't have a Download Only Title Fore Launch, or Launch Window. Or soon.



CrissCross87 said:

I guess this explains why games like Call of Duty & Grand Theft Auto always tend to have different publishers in Japan.



FineLerv said:

That's very unfortunate. I thought Australia was bad with our still absent Mighty Switch Force!



Rapadash6 said:

To be honest, I'd trade this for their Virtual Console support any day of the week.



BooJoh said:

As tempted as I am to echo the sentiments of everyone saying they'd trade these for Earthbound or Bravely Default or the plethora of 3DS VC games they've been getting while we get an NES game every week or two, this really illustrates a larger problem with the industry in general. There is simply too much separation between East and West here with regards to who gets what and what they think gamers in each region want. Publishers (and some developers) need to realize that chances are if a game is good, there will be people who want to play it across all regions. Unfortunately sometimes we can't even get a cheap digital port of games like GCCX2 or in Japan's case, VVVVVV.



WiiLovePeace said:

Wow that sucks! No wonder Wii U is currently selling so little... Nintendo should've picked up publishing for Nano Assault Neo & other eShop titles to bring them at launch to Japan if that's the case.

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