The First Seminar by Unicon Products
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Seminar Report by Unicon Products

On November 26th (Fri) 2004, Unicon Products held a seminar with the theme as "game development for the global market" at Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo.
We were pleased to have an attendance of over 100 attendants despite everyone's hectic schedule near the end of the year.


Lecture 1:
Global Production in the 21st Century

Lecturer: Shuji Utsumi
(Managing Director & CEO of Q Entertainment Inc.)

Mr. Utsumi stated that he sees the Japanese video game developers not being able to keep up with the drastically changing global market, resulting in downward trend of the market share. He also compared the Japanese video game industry to a unique environment, one separated from the outside world such as the Galapagos Islands. Such isolation can be beneficial; stimulating unique and original growth, but it could also have negative effects creating national seclusion. He then pointed out that it is vital to: create titles with the global market in mind from the beginning, establish titles on multiple platforms in Japan, and an aggressively push for the sharing of technology to increase efficiency, in order to succeed. Mr. Utsumi finished his lecture by strongly stating that improvement of overseas departments and having producers with the ability to realize visions that are accepted worldwide are necessary.

Lecture 2:
Development Method to be Winners in the World
-What If Toyota Made a Video Game?-

Lecturer: Yasuo Tanaka
(COO of Reveal Laboratory (R-lab))

Mr. Tanaka lectured that it would be important to take advantage of this globalization of the game market and to develop games according to the common values within the world from the stage of planning instead of superficial localization. With his unique views as a person who dived into the game industry as a strategic consultant, he emphasized the important factor of "considering the world market" in order to foster the idea of global standard, setting Toyota, who keeps gaining worldwide success in the completely matured automotive industry, as a prime example. Mr. Tanaka mentioned that he did not see any reason why the Japanese game industry could not follow in the "ever-evolving courage" spirit Toyota possessed, which seemed to have the agreement of everyone in attendance.

Lecture 3:
Perspective of the Game Industry from the Point of Views of Localization

Lecturer: Mike Sakamoto
(President of Unicon Products Inc.)

Mike Sakamoto has been working in the translation industry, and has experienced the complicated work involved in translation for over 20 years. Because he knows the ins and the outs of the cultural differences among each country in the world, he feels that merely translating foreign languages into Japanese/Japanese into foreign languages does not convey the subtle nuance and unique aspects of their cultures. He mentioned that the true joy of video game localization is keeping the title's worldview while filling in the gaps between cultural differences. He also mentioned that there were not many languages that games are localized into. Along with this statement, Mike proposed that although it is a common conception that localizing a title into multiple languages is costly, it is possible to maintain a low cost and to expand the worldwide market if the game is produced with multilingual localization in mind from the development stage.

Lecture 4:
The Planning and Development of Cell Phone Games for the Global Market

Lecturer: Ryo Shimizu
(President & CEO of Ubiquitous Entertainment Inc.)

Mr. Shimizu spoke of the most important issue in the game industry: global strategy. By having a global strategy, a company can promote financing from foreign investment as well as diversify the development risks. Furthermore, he also explained that by keeping a wider market in mind, it would be possible to create better contents since the developer would not be strained by the sales of one country. Mr. Shimizu also mentioned that in these situations where the whole world is your rival, we, as the Japanese, have to utilize the "Japanese brand" in areas which we excel in, such as anime, video games, cell phones, robots, and mech designs. Then he stated that it was vital to have common element in the world of video game development and localization. He gave adventurous spirit, perseverance, conflicts, and friendship, as examples of such common elements, which are all universal to mankind, and explained that reflecting upon the history that shapes each country's national identity and culture into the playstyle is also necessary, with all these leading to a global strategy.

Party / Reception

After the seminar, everyone moved to the party room and took the opportunity to meet one another.

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