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Latest News from Japan

Latest News from Japan
Latest News from Japan
Konami's Kozuki Hot on Mobile Phone Games

A key to the future can perhaps be found in Japan's crowded commuter trains. The first thing passengers do now is whip out their e-mail and internet-enabled mobile phones to find out their horoscope, how much their making on the stock market, movie times and reviews and now increasingly, to play interactive games. Big change from a few years ago when trains were places to catch up on some shut-eye.

I wouldn't say Konami founder Kagemasa Kozuki has travelled by train for a while but he recently told MCV that he expected over half of the game industry's future revenues to come through games for portable devices as their use is independent of location, i.e. can be used anywhere.

Jaleco Looks To Beer

It's pretty hot in Japan and it looks like the heat has got to Jaleco. The company has put on sale a beer server called "BEER PARTY" for pulling those outdoor B-B-Q draft beers. Price is JPY19,800. Cheaper than a lousy driver.

On-Line Game Boy

The ubiquitous "Game Boy" is to go on-line before the end of the year. For existing models, players will have to buy a special adaptor to connect to a mobile phone. A new model called "Game Boy Advance" will have the adaptor built-in. The adaptor will cost around JPY5,000 retail.

Nintendo will offer games on-line for which the player must pay 10-20 yen per time, in addition to the mobile phone charges.

Konami To Distribute 3rd-Party DVD Software

As part of its continued efforts to increase the efficiency and of each and every of its business elements, Konami is set to distribute 3rd-party DVD software on its consumer game distribution network.

Initially Konami will distribute the DVD software titles of Time Warner Entertainment Japan, Bandai Visual and King Records. These three companies have a total DVD line-up of over 500 titles. Konami's strategy of distributing directly to retailers is highly profitable as long as it has a full product line in order to keep all elements of the distribution chain at or close to full capacity. This addition of 3rd-party products will help in this respect.

Illegal Copies of D'Cast Games On Net

Sega announced this week that an as-yet unidentified group is distributing illegal copies of its Dreamcast game console software over the Internet. This appears to be the first time that copies of consumer game software have been distributed in this way. The firm, which held an emergency meeting Monday, will identify the group and consider filing a lawsuit.

The unidentified group began to post newly-released games on its Web site in late June this year. However, with the software occupying over 1 gigabytes of memory and the relatively slow internet connection in Japan, it is unlikely that widespread downloading of the copied games will take place in the near future.

Sega's Digital Network Arcades Take Shape

Sega's network amusement center project is taking shape. Sega has decided to use Schlumberger Ltd. integrated circuit card system in the membership-based nationwide project.

The project, called "Entertainment Stage net@", will connect amusement facilities throughout Japan using high-speed optical fiber to provide real-time communication for all kinds of digital amusement contents.

Sega plans to set flexible charges for playing the games, and provide services that match each customer's characteristics, including various discounts.

IC card holders will be able to use a wide range of digital amusement contents at game arcade centers without coins. The Japanese printing company Toppan Label Co. will develop a customized system for Sega's net@ project based on Schlumberger's IC card chip and operating system.

Sega plans to carry out a test run in July by connecting three amusement facilities in Tokyo using optical fiber.

Special thanks to Manjiro Works.


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