Why Is Monster Hunter Frontier Only Available In Japan?

By Ishaan . October 15, 2010 . 1:29pm

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While you may know him as the producer of Street Fighter IV, Yoshinori Ono plays a much larger role at Capcom. His official position at the company is “Online Game Development Manager.” This means he’s effectively in charge of multiplayer-focused titles like Monster Hunter Frontier on the PC and Xbox 360.

 

Unlike traditional Monster Hunter games, which tend to focus on a cooperative effort between 2 – 4 players, Frontier is more of a massively multiplayer game like World of WarCraft, where you play with millions of other people in a consistent world.

 

In an internally-conducted Capcom interview, Ono talks about the nature of online games and how it’s important to finetune and balance them so that players find them enjoyable and keep coming back for more, rather than end up frustrated. One aspect of this involves accounting for cultural differences.

 

Monster Hunter Frontier is presently available for play in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. However, players outside of Japan aren’t allowed to connect to the game’s main server. You might think this is solely due to the difference in language, but Ono says that it’s about culture, too.

 

“We intentionally made MHF only available to people in Japan,” Ono reveals. “While it may seem that vast number of potential players outside Japan would lead to greater profits, each nation has its own culture, which can create friction between individuals from different countries.”

 

Ono believes that the attractiveness of an online game is determined by the relationships and friendships built within its online community. “We don’t want to give players a stressful experience when they are supposed to be having fun,” he concluded.

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean Capcom aren’t looking at other markets. Ono reveals that markets like Shanghai (with a potential audience of 150 million people) or Beijing, Guangdong, and Dalian are all under consideration and that Capcom are developing games suited for those audiences.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Ricard/100000637517758 Kevin Ricard

    No sense :/

  • Code

    uhhh… did that come across how I think it came across T_T?

    • Scallion

      Totally xenophobic?

      …Just a lil bit.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

        We’re like the BRs of our stateside MMOs to the Japanese.

        huahahuahahuahauahah

      • thebanditking

        Nah he just realizes that a good 70% of the West using Live are homophobic teens who curse too much, and generally only play to ruin peoples enjoyment of online gaming(its worked on me so far). Lets face it XBL may be a great service but far too many of the players on there act like total asses. I have submitted more complaints and blocked more people over XBL then in online forums.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

          We could be the scum of the Earth for all I care, but you don’t want to tell paying customers what you think of them, even in a round-about sense.

          And I can’t really think that other countries are necessarily any better of a trendsetter for ‘how to act’ online or whatever than any other one.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

            By ‘what you think of them’ I mean in a negative sense. FF doesn’t like Disqus editing for some reason or I’m a total n00b to the Intertubs.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

      Don’t want them there foreign trolls screwin’ with our games!

      Ah Japan and their shut-in ways. Never change.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GRBSTHG2AE2J2VJ6L7JFKYKEBY JC Beaudoin

        Yeah, I like when people are belligerent and rude on the internet too.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I don’t know if Ono necessarily meant what you might be thinking. I kind of agree that cultural differences tend to show even online, and when they’re more or less anonymous, people naturally tend to be more disrespectful of each other. That’s what he’s getting at I think. :)

      • Code

        Yeah I do get what Ono means, and obviously there was no foul intent behind the comment >w<; rar, although I'm still not fond of it because not only is it regional locking, it's like saying on top of regional locking "we have a different culture this is why it’s only for us” omo; They could have given a lot of reasons, such as infrastructure, profitability versus costs, and handling a MMO globally, or even Capcom just having no interest in releasing/expanding it globally, would have been understandable. All that felt like was Ono telling me I can’t have it because I have cooties omo; It surprises me this would come up with Monster Hunter, since it should be far more immune to asshats then most MMO’s since you only play in groups of four if someone’s a buttmunch don’t play with them again >w<;

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          I wondered about that for a bit, too…until I noticed that right from the very start of the interview, Ono speaks mostly of Asia. I think the implication is that they don’t know if it’s worth doing in the West at all, given the competition…

          • Code

            Yeah, thinking on it and re-reading it perhaps this is more that angle. Yeah after being out 3 years I figure Capcom has likely chalked it up to not being profitable yet in the West. But sooner or later, it just might be~!

  • malek86

    What if it has to do with the recent frictions between China and Japan?

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      Uh, there’s always been frictions between China and Japan. Unless you’re referring to a specific event?

      • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

        The thing about China wanting to take some of japan’s isles, forgot the name, and this china’s boat capitan that crashed with japan’s god knows what and japan took custody of this capitan and etc etc etc. But i dont think MANY people take those kind of stuff to internet, after all, internet is the anonymous world

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

          That’s too recent to be the reason. The game has been around for 3 years on the PC. Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese(both the citizens of the PRC and the ROC) all have a stubborn sense of national pride, so I can see where he’s coming from… a little. Even in the PRC, people of different provinces clash a lot. Then there are those Han vs Manchu arguments I see from time to time. If anything, the anonymity of the internet causes people to just drop all political correctness when speaking to someone of a different culture.

          • Aoshi00

            That happens when you have different races living together, it’s not all rosy here in the US either, and people from different states have pride too, like small town folks think of those from the city as elites and city people think of people form MidWest and the South as bible-thumping hicks. Of course there’s more history to the Hans & Manchus because the Manchus ruled Hans in Qing for 300 yrs, and the then-Manchuria was a Japanese puppet state during WW2, etc.

        • Aoshi00

          Don’t want to get political and all. The island (Diaoyutai) was China’s, but after WWII the US “gave it” to Japan, and now Jpn is claiming it as theirs ignoring the past w/ US backing, just like a lot of stuffs they said “didn’t happen”. The maps from both China and Jpn dated centuries ago alrdy proved it, of course US wouldn’t say anything because they are the reason that caused this mess and US and Jpn are allies, more importantly it is in the US’s interest to turn countries around China against it, otherwise why are we giving nukes to Vietnam now, it’s all a game of chess. It’s like Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan were at one time colonized by Jpn, doesn’t mean they belong to Japan. The territorial dispute of this island has gone on for decades, you had this politician from Hong Kong defending it and ended up dead (reckless of him) a while back, so yes it causes a lot of nationalism in the respective nations. China’s mistrust of Japan dated back to WWII of course, the whole Manchukuo puppet state, Nanjing Massacre, the whole shebang. Unlike Germany which had officially apologized, compensated, and denounced the horrific act of Holocaust, Jpn denied it and is still trying to revise history continually (and they want the US to apologize for the bombs), so yes, I don’t think the Chinese or Koreans like that very much.Every nation/people are prideful, in order to understand the situation better, study history but not just listen to the subjective media that tends to make people feel one way or another. The US is pretty much like Jpn in 1990′s now economically (except we have less savings), so we aren’t doing so well economically w/ so many wars going on, we’re flexing our military might by sending carriers all over Asia instead to settle these so called disputes, to show who is still “boss”.

          • malek86

            Yes, yes, I know the history. Although really, China is not an angel either, what with the whole information control and behavior against political dissidents. Before they speak of wanting apologies, maybe they should think about their own morality. Eh, every country has some skeletons in the closet.Anyway, I think that people would be a lot better off if they could just, you know, forget? It happened decades ago. Sure Japan is being assy for not apologizing, but if it were me, I would be just like “look, forget about it, I don’t even care anymore. Now let’s do some business and try to increase both our productivities, so our populations can be a little better off”.

          • Aoshi00

            Yes, every country has their own problems, certainly no country is perfect.Not apologizing for the atrocity committed is one thing, but denying it and trying to rewrite history is not acceptable, if Japan could get away with it, they would say Pearl Harbor didn’t happen either, but they’re probably too proud to say it didn’t. And even US and Jpn are buddies right now, during the Hiroshima memorial Jpn also dared demand the US to apologize as well, for what, stopping the war, that they stared?Actually that’s what China has done, normal business relations did resume with Japan in the interest of mutual benefits since the 70′s rather than holding grudges, but it’s a little hard for some people to forget because it only happened about 60 yrs ago, some people’s family died in the hands of Japanese, and you have rape survivors today not seeing justice done before they pass away soon, so it’s a little hard to tell them to forget it, it’s like telling Holocaust victims it was no big deal and they should move on. The big difference though, Germany admitted it happened and denounced Hitler, Japan claims that it’s fabrication (like the Iranian president saying Holocaust is made up) and continued to pay respect to their war criminals. The first step to forget is apologize first. Otherwise tension resurface when chances arise.It’s like we are blaming Islamic terrorists now, not saying terrorism is right, but w/ US invading Iraq and Afghanistan, tell that to the kids who lost their parents, of course the lives over there aren’t as valuable as the lives of US soldiers. The incident of Diaoyutai island too of course, the US gave it to Jpn, but most people don’t know the facts and say China is the bad guy (the US also wants to paint China as the bad guy), what do you really expect them to do, hand it over to Jpn and say thank you? Since China is more powerful now, they are not going to bend over and take it from Japan. At the end, the matter was temporarily settled in the interest of business, the Jpn politicians caved because business is more important than silly pride, it’s hard to argue w/ money.

      • malek86

        There was some kind of boat incident this summer, and China started asking Japan for compensation and for some islands, and many people in Japan started revolting because they thought the government handled the situation too cowardly. Or something like that.Anyway, it looks like China recently is getting a bit more aggressive, probably because they are growing more and more powerful.

        • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

          Ah I see. Just looked up the incident. I hope both sides resolve this, but it’s hard to blame China. I think other countries just feel threatened from China’s mounting aggression because they’re use to China being everybody’s pushover since the mid-19th century.

          • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

            In this kind of situations is really hard to know who is wrong or who is right, also, it seems this capitan japan took custody off was part of a terrorist group, and he ended up saying that the group asked him to crash the boat to get more TV time…

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

            o.O? Where’d you hear that?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senkaku_Islands_dispute#2010

        This is what WildArms and malek86 are talking about. You can search the web for more information, but anyway you look at though, it’s a really ugly situation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      It really shouldn’t as the PRC isn’t one of the countries that Capcom is selling the game to. Even if online was open outside of Japan, I don’t think the potential players there are desperate enough to go to Taiwan to buy the game. I guess it’s better to be proactive than reactive for the situation though.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    Does it have to do with heavy piracy in China and Chinese game companies ripping them off with Monster Hunter clones?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      He mentions piracy, too. Rather, he says piracy is the very reason they’re looking to Asia for online game expansion, since subscription-based games that run on servers help offset the piracy problem.

      • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

        The subscription-based counter-piracy is fine and good with MMOs, but I hope they won’t extend to my single player games anytime soon. It’d be a pain and intrusive to have to be hooked up online all the time just to play anything.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    In conclusion, we are screwed

  • ikiryou

    Why can’t we all just get along…and hunt giant beasties together…*sniffle*?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

    Pretty sure most people that really care about playing MHF anyways are proxying right around it.

  • Exand

    The topic of why MHF isn’t out in the West was covered in a blog post by Christian Svensson (VP of strategic planning and business development) two years ago:http://blog.capcom.com/archives/751

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      Although it could apply to this, that addresses a different situation than the one in this article.

      Edit: Although I guess the interview in the link does… Whoops.

  • xhunter

    As long as we get Portable 3rd…As long as we get that.

  • thebanditking

    I see this from both sides, yes this sounds like an insult from a xenophobic nation(and that may be true) but some of that we rightfully deserve. I have played a lot of Japanese gamers online and a good majority of them don’t even use headsets, and the ones that do are always quiet. Meanwhile within that same game some of the other “Western” players are shouting obscenities left and right. I will never forget playing the Lost Planet 2 demo there was a guy from the UK screaming through his head set “Take that you Jap wanker!” meanwhile some guy from Canada shot him and said “got ya n***er” and two American teens were pondering how to tea bag each other….. its really sad. Its like the total IQ of XBL = ham.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Ham is delicious.

    • Code

      Although to be fair, ham would be one of the smarter meats xpx;

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

      Once again, I can’t really agree with the self-condemnation. It isn’t like we are the worst people in the world when it comes to stuff like this. It’s as bad online as it is offline because you deal with the same people. It’s as bad there as it is here as it is anywhere on the face of the Earth. People are people. We’re one in the same. No matter how you slice it, it’s a BS argument from any standpoint.

      But, just for kicks, let’s work with this argument that Ono’s come up with, since there are MMOs us stateside folks have that we have to deal with ‘annoying foreign folk’, let’s say. Worst case scenario, if they really wanted to divy up that sort of interaction, they could just as easily make servers to put these guys over here and those goes over there. Split the difference by IP. East Asia is on this server. Everyone else is over here. There are actual MMOs in existence that have done exactly that. If Ono is really worried about that interaction, why couldn’t he do something exactly like that, especially with the amount of money they could make off of this?

      The truth of the matter is that the work does not want to be done for a port and that the time does not want to be wasted for outside East Asia because of what someone thinks about the area outside of it. If it is not, then there almost certainly needs to be a clarification in terms here, because there are ways around his issue that he brings up that he could easily implement to where neither side knew the other. It’s poor for foreign public relations for Capcom because of the way you can interpret this argument and the way you can easily go about fixing it. There are almost certainly problems with the East Asia folks that are on that server anyways amongst themselves. The States and Europe being in there as well can hardly make it that much worse, even after the ‘culture shock’. A point there is that some people actually LIKE talking to people that are from another place BECAUSE they aren’t from the same place they are and they want to LEARN about them. It’s crazy but it actually happens, and I’ve met a lot of interesting people around the world over it as well.

      There really should be a lot more positive than negative in this. That’s really all I’m saying. We shouldn’t be taking this as a chide. It is an insult. Whether or not he really wanted it to come off that way is up to him.

    • Kamion

      This is why I don’t use voice communication of any kind in games if I’m not playing with people I know.

      Which is never because I know no one who plays games and I don’t play online a lot anyway.

      But yeah… ever tried to play a COD or Steam Game with voice enabled? Ugh.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/jodecideion?feature=mhum TheWon and Only

    Totally agree average US gamer is a @$$ hole or want to be a @$$ hole. A gamer about team work, trust, and understanding. Is not going to work with a user base that would rather troll you than work with you.

  • Guest

    Basically the people who play online in the West are homophobic racists, who curse, yell, get angry, and show no respect to anyone online. Fair enough.

    Thing is the Monster Hunter community in the West isn’t XBL. The series is still fairly niche and I’ve never come across a disrespectful player. So while I get they don’t want the shitty XBL experience to drip over it sucks they don’t know their western audience because MH community isn’t XBL. At least not from my experience.

  • maxchain

    Shoooot, this doesn’t bode well for Rockman Online.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      They wouldn’t have announced it at the San Diego Comic-Con if it wasn’t going to be released here.

  • Aoshi00

    I guess I kind of see where Ono’s getting at, but how do people play MonHun, do they really chat up or just play the game? It’s probably stereotype to think all Asian players are reserved and demure and all western players are obnoxious punks. If you look at message boards on Jpn websites, I think a lot of them are pretty vocal and aren’t afraid to speak their mind. How was FFXI, was it separated by regions too? Well, I’m not that comfortable playing MMO, it’s too time consuming and takes too much coordination, as if there aren’t enough single player games alrdy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

      FFXI wasn’t separated. In fact, it has a built-in translator for chat.

    • Draparde

      yeah like tommy said, servers where not sperated, and all the Japanese party’s i where in treated me neutral (probably because they could not freely talk with me lol) or where very happy to interact with me attempting, or correctly typing in English. granted there are different types of people and maybe i just ran into the outgoing ones lol.

      • Aoshi00

        Right, I do remember partying up w/ some Jpn players once, I’ve only played XI on PS2 for a short while like 2 months, just didn’t have time to get my monthly fee’s worth. They were pretty friendly and surprised a gaijin knows some Jpn, I think they thought I was too chatty and they just wanted to do hunts lol.

  • RAVENKam

    I don’t understand, if cultural differences are such a big deal (and to a degree he has a point) then give us separate servers to lessen this ‘friction between individuals from different countries’.To be honest coming from Ono his statements kind of stung which ever way I’ve tried to rationalise.

    • Aoshi00

      How about Street Fighter IV where we see the flags of different countries from all over the world? People don’t talk smack there :)? I guess those who play fighters could take it better than MonHun players, and the matches are shorter… I like to see different countries compete for the leaderboard, kind of like the Olympics. Well, I guess they do restrict the actual fighting tournament w/in Asia.

      • RAVENKam

        Flags? You know…that could work.

        • Aoshi00

          Yea, players’ PSN/Live IDs showing different regions, it’s an international fighter played by international players you know.. I guess for a fighter mic chat is not that important.

  • http://twitter.com/Ale598 Ale598

    Lame excuse…. Come on Capcom, I would quit FFXIV for this game!

  • LORDMATRIX2004

    So much for the possibility of this coming to the west.

  • Kamion

    I don’t know… it worked pretty well in FF11 back when I played… It might have been different for me because I could read (some) of the stuff the Japanese players said in party-chat and sometimes communicated in Romaji (until I found Windower so I could really write Japanese), but as far as I saw it, even without unterstanding each other, people played together and had fun.

    That’s what I loved about FF11.

    And that’s why I look forward to 14 (on the PS3, I only have a Mac). Because this time my Japanese is even better and it’ll be fun.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R334RMHVOLB3KCEBCUPO2AUKEY edward

    come on this game is so Prime i get so bored of all the other Xbox games and the best ones i play the psp and ps2 monster hunter not tri on the wii i will some day and soon or later the psp vershion of tri will come up here hopefully and sad face my psp screen is f*@!# good thing ill get it fix soon

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