Subs or Dubs? Which Does Japan Prefer For Western Games



In addition to publishing Shiren the Wanderer games, Spike handles a ton of Western developed titles such as BioShock, NBA 2K10, and Sacred 2. They act like an Atlus, NIS America or Xseed for Japan. Finding out what their fans want from overseas titles is important for their business plan.


Many Western games in Japan aren’t dubbed. Even some Japanese developed games made for primarily for the West such as Madworld, Last Rebellion, and No More Heroes are sold with only English voice acting and Japanese text. However, this trend is starting to change with titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 receiving a full localization.


Spike wanted to find out whether gamers in Japan prefer English voiceovers with subtitles or Japanese dubs. From April 2007 to December 2009, Spike has been polling website surfers and people who sent in survey cards to get an answer.


Subtitled games won by a small margin. 49% of respondents are inclined to English voice acting with subtitles compared to 47% that like dubs more. 4% out of the 6,656 responses mind bogglingly picked “other”.


Spike has more detailed results broken down by genre and platform. According to the results, players prefer dubs for first person shooters, like subtitles for RPGs, and PlayStation 3 owners are partial to dubbed games.


Subtitles – 31.9%
Dubbed – 59%
Other – 9.1%

Action Adventure
Subtitles – 37.4%
Dubbed – 46.5%
Other – 16.1%

Subtitles – 54.4%
Dubbed – 45.6%


image PlayStation 3
Subtitles – 45%
Dubbed – 52%
Other – 3%


Xbox 360
Subtitles – 54.4%
Dubbed – 45.6%
Other – 1%

Siliconera Staff
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