Online gaming in Japan


About how often do you play online games? graph of japanese statisticsOne online game I see heavily advertised in Japan is a free online RPG Maple Story, although I’ve never actually played it myself, and I take no responsibility from any addiction caused by clicking through that link! To see what the average Japanese person plays at online, MyVoice performed a survey on online games.


Over the first five days of February 2008 15,447 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 2% in their teens, 16% in their twenties, 37% in their thirties, 28% in their forties, and 17% in their fifties.

I used to play online games, starting with the sadly departed Meridian 59, then beta testing Ultima Online, Everquest as both a beta and a paid-for player, then finally Asheron’s Call for quite a bit until I found out that being an anti-social git meant I didn’t get very far ahead. I still miss Meridian 59, as it was small enough to form real friendships, in fact even leading to a real-life meeting with a bunch of other people once. I don’t think I’d ever do that again as there seems to be far too many weirdos about these days, or maybe it’s just I’m a bit older and less naive.

Research results

Q1: How interested are you in online games? (Sample size=15,447)

Really interested 6.1%
Quite interested 20.7%
Can’t say either way 12.4%
Not very interested 26.5%
Not interested at all 34.3%

Q2: On what sort of device do you usually play online games? (Sample size=15,447, multiple answer)

Windows PC 27.3%
Portable games machine 14.5%
Home console 12.9%
Mobile phone 9.9%
Macintosh 1.1%
Other 0.4%
Don’t play online games (to Q8) 59.9%

Since the last survey in November 2004 the percentage of all kinds of games players has increased, with the biggest growth being in, not surprisingly, the portable game segment.

Q3: For how long have you been playing online games? (Sample size=online gamers)

Less than a year 23.7%
One to two years 16.9%
Two to three years 15.6%
Three to four years 8.4%
Four to five years 5.3%
Five or more years 18.5%
No answer 11.6%

This and subsequent questions have over 10% no answerers, but the reason for this is not obvious.

Q4: About how often do you play online games? (Sample size=online gamers)

Almost every day 11.3%
Four to six days a week 7.5%
Two or three days a week 13.1%
Once a week 16.9%
Less than that 39.1%
No answer 12.1%

Q5: About how much do you spend per month playing online games? (Sample size=online gamers)

Play free games only 66.3%
Up to 999 yen 11.5%
1,000 to 1,999 yen 5.1%
2,000 to 2,999 yen 2.4%
3,000 to 4,999 yen 1.5%
5,000 to 9,999 yen 0.8%
10,000 to 29,999 yen 0.4%
30,000 to 49,999 yen 0.0%
50,000 to 99,999 yen 0.1%
100,000 yen or more 0.0%
No answer 11.8%

Q6: What kinds of online games do you play? (Sample size=online gamers)

Puzzle game 36.1%
Table game 34.6%
Card game 28.2%
Action game 11.3%
Simulation game 10.7%
Sports game 9.6%
Shooting game 4.5%
Race game 3.9%
War game 3.2%
Other 10.8%
No answer 12.6%

Q7: What caused you to get started playing online games? (Sample size=online gamers, multiple answers)

Saw it on an internet game site 38.8%
Friends, family recommended it 23.3%
Saw internet advertisement 10.7%
Software came with PC, mobile device 9.9%
Game I wanted to play had online element 8.2%
Saw family members playing it 6.7%
Saw an internet word-of-mouth site 4.8%
Saw a television advertisement 3.5%
Saw a magazine column 1.8%
Saw it on television news or other program 1.5%
Saw an advertisement in a magazine 1.0%
Saw a newspaper column 0.6%
Saw an advertisement in train, station, etc 0.5%
Saw a newspaper advertisement 0.4%
Saw it on a flyer being passed out on the street 0.2%
Other 3.4%
Can’t remember 7.7%
No answer 12.5%

Q8: What image do you have of online games? (Sample size=15,447, multiple answer)

Geekish 25.6%
Easy to get into 23.1%
Expensive to play 21.6%
For young people 20.8%
Lots of bad-mannered players 17,2%
Fun intercourse between players 14.5%
Complicated instructions and difficult to understand 13.4%
Lots of trouble between players 13.2%
Can design my own avatar 11.4%
Lots of system trouble 10.1%
Beautiful graphics 7.8%
Insufficient user support 6.6%
Lots of things to do so won’t get bored 6.4%
Difficult to register 6.2%
None of the above 14.9%
No answer 3.6%
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