IT 398/599 Topics in Global IT -- CDM Japan
Assignment #1 (due Friday, Oct 24)
For this assignment, you do a background research on the Japanese
computer/video games and animation -- the characteristics of Japanese games and
animation/anime, and the current issues which the Japanese gaming and animation
industries are facing. Then you write a report, and present it to the rest
of the group.
- You must work in teams of 2 or 3 people for this project; teams
of one are not allowed. You might self-select your team members, in
which case you must communicate
to us the full roster of the team. Or if you are not sure what to do, you
can ask us to assign you to a team.
- Each team selects a research topic. See below for the list of
suggested topics. If you want to do a topic that is not in the list,
you must communicate to us to get an approval.
- Each team writes a/one report on the topic. The report will
compilation of the individual sections written by all members in the team,
and must be coherent as a whole (that is, the report starts with an
introduction, and sections are organized to follow the flow of the context).
- After selecting a topic, members in a team get together to discuss the content
(i.e., sections/sub-topics), and decide who
will be responsible for what section(s).
- Every member does his/her research and writes one or more sections, for a minimum of
pages (worth of text -- without counting figures).
[To clarify, each/one member writes at least 3
pages (worth of text).]
- After all sections are written, somebody in the team put them
together to create a single, final report (in one file).
- Use the internet to do your research. Read industry news,
interviews, etc. You know what to do. You are also more than
welcome to use other information sources such as printed books and
- The report must be objective, in particular,
- Avoid statements which express your personal opinions or reactions.
- Describe (or even quote) opinions or statements made by industry people
(e.g. well-known game developers, anime directors). Try to get
multiple views on a given subject (e.g. "On such-and-such aspect, one
person is saying this, while another person is saying that.")
- The report must also include relevant statistics (REQUIRED), such as "2007
Sales of Video Games by genre". For example,
"Clash of the
cultures" has a statement "Why are American sales charts dominated by the likes
of big, burly men with guns, while the Japanese flock towards fanciful RPGs?" Find the facts/data which
support such statements. If
all possible, obtain data for the U.S. and Japan for the same statistic so
that you can compare the two countries. Use graphs, charts, tables
etc. in the report effectively to present the statistics.
For your reference, here are some recent statistics on the game industry:
Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry" and
"Edge's Top 20 Publishers 2008".
- Each team makes a 15-minute presentation on the topic/report in
the 2nd pre-trip meeting (tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 24).
All members in a team must contribute in creating a PowerPoint presentation.
Read at least one from below (one(s) of your interest). These are
reports (written by
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)) on Japanese video
games/anime/manga markets, exports and industry business models. Although
you might not use these information directly in your report, they are
informative and provide an excellent context for your research.
- Characteristics of Japanese games
This article, "Clash
of the cultures", might be a good starting point. Although it's
only a theory by the author of the article, some of the cultural factors and values
raised there may be true or agreed by many people. Here is
another good article which talks about suggested game designs for
Western game makers to penetrate the Japanese market. In your summary, you should focus on a
couple of cultural aspects and discuss each one in a relative depth,
rather than presenting an array of people's opinions with no
- Developing games for global market
Japan is the largest exporter of games (software & hardware combined) in the
world. There are a number of aspects and issues involved in developing games
for global/overseas market, including:
- Localization -- changing
the content of the games for different languages, cultures, religions,
etc. of the target countries or regions. As an example, here
is an article on the gender differences in spoken Japanese.
Here is another
article, an interview with Japanese developers who created a DS game
- Product design -- export "Japanese contents", or create
games which have an appeal in the target market (or both)? For
example, here is
an article on Sega's strategy for global development.
- Piracy and copy-rights issues
- Online games
Online games have been growing rapidly all over the world. In
particular, East Asia
(Japan, China and South Korea) is one of the fastest growing regions of
online games. Do a research on the market
trends, products, user tendencies, country-specific regulations, current
with a particular focus on Japan.
This report by IGDA, "2004
Web & Downloadable Games White Paper" (2mb - pdf), would be a good reference.
- Other gaming topics
Here are some other, smaller gaming-related topics. Pick two or
more topics (from below or something you are interested in), and for
each one, do research on the market trends, products, user tendencies,
current issues, etc. with a particular focus on Japan.
- Mobile games -- reference: "2005
Mobile Games White Paper" (844kb - pdf)
- Casual games -- reference: "2006
Casual Games White Paper" (2.2mb - pdf)
- Arcade games
- Middleware, Game engines, Development tools -- There are not
many middleware vendors in Japan. Find out why.
- Demographics of gamers -- Do women play games in Japan?
Kids? Senior people? Also, what kind of games do they
play (as compared to the games played by American women/kids/senior
- Characteristics of Japanese anime
Japanese anime has distinct artistic styles and deep storylines.
Also in Japan, anime is made for people of all ages (not just for
children). Do an extensive research on the characteristic of
Japanese anime on various aspects, for example:
- characteristics of the art
- characteristics of the animation methods and techniques
- popular themes/genres (e.g. mecha, sci-fi)
- contents -- Does anime contain too much sex or violence?
Here are some good introductory articles --
Business models of Japanese anime
In Japan, anime is a huge business, and it cuts across media -- Many anime is
based on manga. TV anime programs are first broadcasted, then made
into DVD's. Additionally, feature-length films are made on a regular
basis. Theme songs are made into music CD's. Games are created from
anime. Toys and goods are made from anime characters. Anime is
used even on pachinko machines (no joke!!) TV
commercials feature anime characters... etc. etc. Those media contents
are exported to other countries as well.
What are the revenue sources of Japanese anime companies? How is the
sales "distributed" among the entities involved? How does the
copy-right/licensing work in this industry (which is called the "Contents Industry" in
Japan, encompassing manga, anime, games, movies, music and books/magazines)?
Various issues in Japanese anime
There are a number of issues which the Japanese anime industry is facing,
- Market saturation (and low quality products)
- Localization (especially content edits)
- Illegal downloads, Fansub
- (15 points) The team report. Every member of a team submits the
(same) final report, on COLweb.
The report must have:
- Course number (IT 398/599), Assignment number (#1), and Date
- Team research topic
- Full names of all team members
- Name of the author for each section (i.e., who wrote the section)
- (5 points) The presentation slides. Every member of a team submits
the (same) presentation file, on COLweb.
- (10 points) A 15 minutes presentation to be given in the October 24
This assignment is worth 30 points. Complete and well edited
reports/presentations will receive at least 20 points. More credit will go to
those that provide thoughtful and specific descriptions and explanations.