The rise of mobile gaming in Japan gave a jolt to the card game genre. In addition to hits like Rage of the Bahamut, practically every popular series from Final Fantasy to Naruto has a card game spinoff. Even though this is a niche genre in the west, card games are big business in Japan. Why? That’s what Siliconera asked Guardian Cross producer Shinichi Tatsuke.
"There are a few reasons card games are so popular in Japan. One is the undeniable compatibility is has with the ‘Gacha’ system, something very intuitive for Japanese players," Tatsuke replied.
"The other reason regards ease of development. From a developer’s perspective, it’s the perfect medium to help players feel the depth and engagement of your world without necessarily using full 3D models, and so on," Tatsuke continued. "The ease of play, while not abandoning the feel of the game world or story, is something Japanese gamers really appreciate. Hopefully more players in the West will begin to take on this mindset as well."
Other regions in Asia have picked up on the card game wave. Square Enix’s Million Arthur series did well when they localized it for Taiwan and Korea. Which made me think of another reason not mentioned by Tatsuke – card games are perfect while commuting to work. Usually battles take just one or two subway stops and most Asian metropolises have excellent public transportation. This allows players to pop into the world of Space Battleship Yamato or One Piece before sitting at their desk. In the States, mobile games tend to be played at home so people gravitate towards stories they can sink themselves in rather than a quick visit to a familiar universe.
What do you think could make the card game genre more popular here?