Hunting Action Game Players Share Their Playing Habits From Japan

By Sato . May 16, 2014 . 1:01pm


As we all know, hunting games have been a big deal in Japan since the introduction of Monster Hunter, ten years ago. Now that the genre has been around for a while, Famitsu magazine recently asked a bunch of Hunters a few questions on their thoughts and habits on the games they play.


Note that Famitsu only polled a fairly small sample of people, so the results you see below likely do not reflect the habits of the hunting-action games market at large.


Q1: How many people do you usually play multiplayer action games with? (of 250 people)


  • I usually play by myself. (55%)


  • I usually play with two people. (19%)


  • I usually play with four people. (18%)


  • I usually play with three people. (8%)


This ended up being pretty surprising—to see that more than half the poll came from those who hunt solo more than with other players, which is the main attraction of these hunting-action games.


Q2: How do you connect with others to play multiplayer? (of 258 people)


  • Infrastructure or Internet connectivity. (49%)


  • Ad-Hoc or local connectivity. (32%)


  • I don’t play multiplayer. (9%)


  • Ad-Hoc only. (8%)


  • Other. (2%)


It looks like playing with other people via the Internet is starting to catch on, even though most hunting-action games are primarily geared toward local co-op. Of course, given that these sample sizes are so small, they aren’t necessarily representative of the hunting games market as a whole.


Q3: How much do you play a multiplayer game? (of 258 people)


  • Until I beat the story. (28%)


  • Until those who I play with get tired of it. (26%)


  • Until I beat it all the way through. (21%)


  • Until I jump to a new game. (11%)


  • Until I get the item I’ve been wanting. (9%)


  • Others. (5%)


The top three percentages shows that the polled players actually get quite far in multiplayer action games. Those who chose “Until I beat the story,” added a lot of additional info, such as “I often beat the game first and play until I get bored” and “Once DLC is released, I’ll play that, too”.


Q4: What is the biggest factor that goes into consideration when purchasing a multiplayer action game? (of 1,368 people)


  • World and story. (177 people)


  • The attractiveness of the characters and enemies. (157 people)


  • The game’s hardware. (157 people)


  • The depth of character customization. (150 people)


  • The game’s tempo. (148 people)


  • The variety of weapons and armor. (141 people)


  • The amount of content. (117 people)


  • The people around me who’ll also be playing. (87 people)


  • The music. (72 people)


  • Original systems. (66 people)


  • Whether there are NPCs who’ll support in combat. (64 people)


  • Downloadable content. (32 people)


The “world and story” result is surprising, as most games in the genre don’t exactly put as much emphasis on their stories, as they do on the action. This is perhaps the biggest indicator that the Famitsu poll isn’t necessarily indicative of the larger market at all, considering that Monster Hunter is the most popular of these games and places the least emphasis on story. (However, it does place emphasis on its world, which could be a factor.)


Q5: How difficult do you like your games? (of 256 people)


  • Normal (47%)


  • Hard (36%)


  • Very hard (8%)


  • Easy (6%)


  • Very easy (3%)


As expected from fans of hunting games, they lean more towards the difficult side, with the minority who’d rather have an easier time. According to the survey, most people like the challenge of taking on monsters that give them a bit of a tough time.


Finally, the sixth question was meant for some of the players to share some of their own thoughts.


Q6: Any requests for future multiplayer action games?


  • A next-generation,  open-world multiplayer action game with seamless areas, please!! (30s/male)


  • Make something that can be a little more simple! (20s/male)


  • An improvement in action, and more solid stories. (30s/male)


  • Stay true to balance and concepts. (30s/male)


  • Something that can create new friendship through cooperation (20s/female)


  • Something out of left-field, but in a good way! (20s/male)


Again, something to note is that we posted these results for fun, not because we necessarily believe they lend any sort of actual insight into the habits of the hunting-action games market. That market is as large as its most popular product—close to 4 million people, given Monster Hunter’s sales—and the number of people polled here is an insignificant amount in comparison.

  • JonathanisPrimus

    The problem is that these answers are from Famitsu, which is a gamer’s magazine. You’d probably get a different result if you polled the general public.

    • Toybatsu

      The general public doesn’t play Monster Hunter

    • Taedirk

      How *is* the exposure of hunting games outside of the core gaming community though? It’s a sub-genre that always struck me as mostly hardcore.

      • JonathanisPrimus

        In North America? Yeah, it’s a niche genre. But that’s not really the case in Japan.

      • Ni ~Algidus~

        hunting games on japan are as mainstream as FPS are mainstream on America.
        MH being the COD of the Hunting games, God Eater being the Battlefield, and Phantasy Star the Medal of Honor

        • AndyLC

          and Secret of Mana the DOOM

  • Virevolte

    “This ended up being pretty surprising—to see that more than half the poll came from those who hunt solo more than with other players, which is the main attraction of these hunting-action games.”

    Well, crafting your stuff is tough. Usually, I don’t bother my friends with it and play by myself to upgrade my gear, then play whatever mission we feel with my friends.

    Mostly playing solo… in order to “show of” in multiplayer. ^^”

  • fairysun

    I am surprised there is no answer for “We want more boobs and less clothes for female characters” from male gamers. So, what’s with the trend of bewbs and revealing skins for female characters in video game? Something gamers want?

    • Dora Wang

      Japanese games tend to be pretty equitable when it comes to showing off skin in their games. If an armor set shows off skin, it tends to do so for both male and female configurations.

      FFXIV is a shining example:

      It’s also important to remember that a huge portion of the people playing these games are female and these outfits are also meant to appeal to their tastes.

      Of course some games like say, Senran Kagura are unabashedly geared towards dudes (though I know women who earnestly enjoy them too). But then other games like FFXIII-2 have costumes very much aimed at the largely female audience, but in the west, this is sometimes interpreted as pandering towards men. For example here:

      This is unfortunate because it spreads the idea that conventional female beauty only exists to appease men.

      • Tarkovsky

        This. When I was living in Japan, so many characters that are considered “sexualized” by the West, are beloved by many females as well. For example, many female friends I had found Onechanbara’s costumes to be cute and etc and some don’t mind cosplaying in those outfits. Females are also not shy to express their love and admiration for “boobs” and the female body. Of course, not everybody is like that but there are many many of them out there.

        You are also absolutely right that there are many games that cater to both genders. You can obviously tell that the many of the “ikemen” and bishounen characters are aimed towards female gamers. Leon S Kennedy is especially popular among females and I’m sure many of the characters in FFXV are going to be well received by them as well.

        That’s why I’m extremely irritated by Western journalists and their so called “feminist” agenda. Not only do they not understand the Japanese, they’re not even for feminism at all and just want to jump on what seems like a huge topic right now.

  • nonscpo

    Surprising, did not see some of those percentages at all.

  • Dora Wang

    I did a poll at China Joy (One of China’s biggest game conferences) a few years ago and got hundreds of results from all sorts of attendees, men and women a like. There were 2 surprises. In spite of attending a hardcore game show, over 90% of the people polled did not self identify as gamers. They considered it one of their many hobbies. The other surprise was that about 80% of the people I polled considered story and setting to be the most important element of any game they play (even if they primarily liked action or RTS games).

    I think it’s very plausible that the first thing that draws someone to a Hunting type game is the setting. It’s what distinguishes them the most. For instance, someone who doesn’t like sci-fi at all probably won’t pick up Phantasy Star. And someone who doesn’t like dragons and armor won’t be drawn to Monster Hunter.

    • Guest

      I did a poll at Chinajoy about 8 or so years ago and got similar results. The cosplay girls and guys always picked story first. You have a website or twitter or something too?

  • popyea

    I would have assumed a higher percentage for multiplayer, but I don’t think it’s the main draw of the games. Most of the time, 4 players will just negate the threat level of the monster, and so diligently dodging/blocking and learning the monsters attacks isn’t at play anymore. I usually only go online if I have to grind for gear. It’s more relaxed, but not really as engaging as solo.

  • Earthjolly

    I think Toukiden and MH are the only Hunting games,

    SSD, GE2, RO, and Freedom Wars are more Battle Arena than hunting.

  • The Watcher

    Q5 sparks my interest. I’ve played a lot of hunting games and I noticed there are not really any hunting games that is the welcome mat for casuals. Maybe this particular genre doesn’t need it necessarily? but could also be nice for some to get their feet wet before they dive into hardcore games like MH.

  • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

    “A next-generation,  open-world multiplayer action game with seamless areas, please!! ”
    Monolith Soft’s X got you covered.

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