We’ve seen comments from Nintendo on the social acceptance of videogames in the U.S. and Japan. But what about Europe? Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, feels that Europe presents a more complex scenario, given regional differences across the continent.
“In Europe, there are huge differences among the countries,” he said to investors. “In the U.K., the size of the gaming population is comparatively high like in the U.S. Meanwhile, the German gaming population is very small. Social acceptance of video games seems to be very low in Germany, which means that there are still many people taking a hostile view towards video games.”
Why the low acceptance in Germany? Iwata believes this may be due, in part, to the large number of war-themed games in the West. He believes German society tends to reject these, partly due to its historical background.
France, on the other hand, lies somewhere in between the U.K. and Germany. A few months ago, Iwata commented that the “product-diffusion rate” — the rate at which people get bored of new products — was high in the U.K. He goes on to point out that it is much lower in Germany.
The key to overcoming this disparity in acceptance across different European territories, Iwata believes, is to develop an understanding of each individual country’s unique characteristics, and that this is what has helped Nintendo expand their business in Europe.
We’ve seen examples of this approach before. While New Super Mario Bros. Wii sold least in Europe, titles like Style Savvy and Professor Layton did better in the territory than in North America. Layton, in fact, traditionally sells best in Europe.