Koji Tada (right) with an SCE Japan Asia associate at Casual Connect Asia
There’s an air of gravitas and prestige when talking to a lead person in charge of PlayStation One launch titles like Jumping Flash and PSP fares like the Hot Shots Golf series. If he detects a number of gaming trends, you’d best listen if you want to make it far in the games industry in Asia.
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Japan Asia Director of Developer Relations Koji Tada said to e27 during Casual Connect Asia that the games industry’s wants and needs are leaning towards three things: user-generated content, free-to-play and indie titles. For the first trend, he said that the purpose of creating and sharing will extend a game’s longevity as long as the in-game tools are easy to use for players and customers. “For a regular game, users purchase the games, play it, and that’s it. For any title with user-generated content, users can purchase a game, create and improve the game from there, and even share the experience with others. There is no end in this concept.”
To add on to the aforementioned second and third trend, he noted that while the traditional retail model will still be around, console games will adapt the free-to-play model soon enough. Furthermore, having indie games on the side gives consumers an affordable and possibly more creative choice when expanding their game consumption. “It’s up to the publishers to figure out how to find success through the model,” he remarked.
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Tada said that his switch from developer/producer to developer relations director may have been a smooth transition, but his current job is hard. “In the past I was able to make games and control its budget and design. Now, I have to work with developers and their vision, but I can’t interfere and critique their work.” He added that there aren’t any restrictive criteria for developers to bring their games to Sony. “There are no barriers. Usually, the ratio of developers coming to us and us approaching them is seven to one.”
As far as Asia is concerned, the one thing that he found unique in the region’s games is its art style. “Asia has this mindset of following anime and manga art style trends, but Asian games have a mixture of Western and Japanese aesthetics. Specifically in the animation style, the usage of colors, and the way developers evoke passion through the game’s look and feel: I find that interesting.”