Yosuke Kurokami
Medial Strategy Specialist, Adways

In Japan we see many Chinese and Korean mobile games being played by Japanese people these days. Especially for mobile games it feels a bit freshy however for PC games we already had hundreds of the games made in those countries from olden days.

In Taiwan, we see far greater number of international games in the country.
Japanese games are the ones which have a big presence.

Before Japanese mobile games entered to Taiwanese market, its app ranking was mostly taken by Chinese mobile games. Even today Chinese apps still have a big presence in top 10 ranking; however, some of the Japanese games such as LINE games and Monster Strike have come to show up in the ranking nowadays.

So Chinese and Japanese games.
How different? What part of Japanese games do Taiwanese people like?

Let’s take a look from creative point of view.

Here are icons of Japanese apps.

Japanese games would rather use non-human characters in icons that are likely to be found in animations for kids and are good at showing its light world-view. When they use human characters, we see more boy characters than girls that probably come from an established image of RPG is adventure and adventure is boys. In terms of color-wise, Japanese icons prefer relatively bright colors such as red, yellow, blue and so on.

Here, Chinese ones.
Chinese App

On the other hand, I have a good word that describes a touch of Chinese graphics- “THE GAME”. Their characters (like something we see in PS3) are mostly in 3D and drawn in life size. That characteristic would make users think it may be hard to play and hesitate to go even for tutorials. The colors used in Chinese icons are almost opposite to Japanese ones. No bright but more deep colors such as brown, dark blue and black.

To summarize, Japanese game designs are lighter and its touch is more for kids that everyone would feel easy to play at the first glance while Chinese games have the world-view loved by users who like to play games in the first place.
I assume this difference is also reflected in the colors they chose for icons.

So now, what do Taiwanese gamers like about Japanese games?

Basically it is said that Taiwanese people would prefer pretty or even surreal and weird graphics than cool ones.

I can feel this Taiwanese preference even when I walk around the city in Taiwan.
This is a photo taken at a famous shaved ice store “Ice Monster”. You see the one in the yellow box on the left?

Coffee Sensation at Ice Monster

A famous Taiwanese illustrator, Dr. H.H.

LAIMO and Song Song Meow are even brought back to Japan.

In addition, as you may have already heard, made-in-Japan characters such as Hello Kitty and Funassy are very popular in Taiwan and naturally that popularity made Taiwanese people develop a formula of Japanese characters is pretty.
Thanks to this Taiwanese preference toward something pretty, it is assumed that the graphics is one of the points that would attract Taiwanese people. Japanese developers should get the most out of their touch of graphics.
I’ve seen a Japanese game app that followed this tip in icon and went up to the top ranking. I think it is not always necessary to have a localization of graphics for Japanese game companies.
Also among Chinese games, Dota Legend is a good example that followed the preference of Taiwanese gamers.

Next time, I will talk about why there is difference between Chinese creative and Japanese creative from history point of view.