Japanese consumer: Wii looks fun; PS3’s future holds promise

With Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s Playstation 3 both now released in Japan, not forgetting Microsoft’s XBox 360, of course, japan.internet.com reported on an opinion poll conducted by Cross Marketing regarding next generation game consoles. They collected the opinions of 300 mobile phone users of their monitor group via a (mobile phone-targeted?) internet-based survey on the 6th and 7th of December. Their sample was split equally 50:50 male and female, and 20.0% aged 18 and 19, then 20.0% in their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties.

I wouldn’t put too much trust in the relative sales figures in Q1, as allowing for sampling error, the figures are almost indistinguishable, and since the Wii is barely out and the PS3 in short supply, just the very early adopters are being counted here.

For me, the most interesting result was those interested in the features of the console. Despite all the buzz before release about the PS3’s Cell chip, its advanced graphics, the Blu-ray disk drive and other advances, just 40% of those putting their money down were interested in doing so to get their hands on the new features. Conversely, the much more technically conservative Wii had 60% of the potential buyers after it, presumably mostly on the strength of the WiiMote.

This perhaps ties in with a talk I heard a couple of weeks ago given by Nintendo’s President Iwata on the philosophy behind the Wii. He wants to engage the casual gamer and the non-gamer much, much more than the vocal fan boy who scream for even more advanced bells and whistles. In addition, Sony sales may prove to be weak because of the relative lack of interest in parts that make it a rather expensive platform, and with the promise of future titles appearing to be the main stimulator of demand, if deadlines are missed or titles come out faster or better on the Wii, Sony may find their demand evaporating.

Almost two in five Japanese home LANs exclusively wireless

Do you use a wired or wireless home LAN? graph of japanese opinionjapan.internet.com recently published a survey conducted JR Tokai Express Research on the use of home networking. They interviewed 330 people from all over the country to find out their views. 60.6% of the sample was male; age demographics were 20.3% in their twenties, 31.2% in their thirties, 27.9% in their forties, 15.5% in their fifties, and 5.2% in their sixties.

My personal experience with “wartraining” (like wardriving, only from the train!) is that on my ride home I can pick up about 60 or so open wireless access points according to NetStumbler, the bulk of them being Yahoo BB! wireless routers in their default configuration. Sadly this survey (or at least the free preview that I have translated) did not ask any security-related questions.

Three-quarters of Japanese gamers want a PS3

What extra console features do you want? graph of japanese opinionjapan.internet.com, in conjunction with Cross Marketing Inc performed a survey on next-generation game consoles. They interviewed 366 self-confessed gamers; 50.3% were male, 25.4% in their teens (18 or 19 to be exact), 24.9% in their twenties, 24.6% in their thirties, and 25.1% in their forties.

With the recent name change of the next Nintendo to Wii (I try to think of the name as referring to going “whee!”, not going wee…) the awareness of the name seems rather low; it would have been interesting to have used the previous Revolution codename instead in this survey. I will keep an eye open to see if the awareness of Wii increases in the coming months.

Gaming in Japan

Nintendo DS ownership percentage by age and sex graphinfoPLANT recently released the results of a survey they conducted into game machines. They conducted their research by means of a public questionnaire available through the iMode menu system for a week at the end of April. 5,924 people completed the survey, with 62.5% female.

Note the figures suggesting that the Nintendo DS is significantly more popular with the older generation. Surely this must be related to the current boom in brain training in Japan, in particular the massively popular series for the DS, a set of titles I dearly want to buy, along with the DS itself (and also a kanji dictionary), if I ever manage to earn any money from this blog!

Mobile phones very popular gaming platform

games downloadedinfoPLANT conducted a survey regarding mobile phone game usage in Japan amongst 8,984 users of the DoCoMo iMode sevice, by offering the survey through the iMode menuing system. The questionnaire was available for a week in mid-November, and of the 8,984 respondents, 63.5% were female.

infoPLANT’s survey methods obviously indicate that they will most likely result in an over-representation of the heavy user demographic, but regardless this still presents an interesting snapshot on how some people use their mobile phones. One could argue that since a previous survey showed the majority of people were on unlimited usage plans (although the methodology of that survey was probably flawed), these consumers could more easily budget for pay games, and download them without worrying about additional transmission costs over and above the basic fee. Also note that almost all mobile phones come with built-in games, not just Tetris clones and the like, but pretty good quality commercial-grade RPGs and pet simulators. As for my own phone, I have a nice golf game, but I beat that and quit, and the shoot-em-up is no fun. I once downloaded a trial version of a pay-for game, but it took a long, long time and the game play was rather lacking, so basically I haven’t played any games at all this year.

PSP Plans

Last month there was a survey on what users are doing with their PSPs. Once again, this is a report about a survey, so fuzzy numbers abound! The basic data – PSP users own an average of 3.1 titles (does this include bundled titles?), but only a tenth of the Read more…