Localizing Games for Japan – Video Game Age Ratings

A Phenomenon is Born

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Video games have been big business in Japan since the industry began in the early 1970s. Japan became one of the biggest exporters of video games at the end of the 1970s with Taito’s Space Invaders(1978) helping to trigger a golden age of videogames. Japan’s dominance over the video game industry continued to grow with the release of high profile gaming consoles from Nintendo, Sega, and Sony. Until the US firm Microsoft released their Xbox console in the early 2000s, Japan held the monopoly over the videogame market. With videogames playing such a significant part in the everyday lives of Japanese people, covering genres as diverse as construction, fighting, romance, music, dance, virtual pets, and design, it became important to set age rating guidelines in place. However, compared to other countries, Japan was quite late to adopt an official system.


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