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How and why does UO have large Japanese base?

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Potgut, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. Potgut

    Potgut Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran

    Jul 22, 2007
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    I have been wondering, how did UO get a strong Japanese base/subscription? I mean, was UO marketed heavily in Japan? Was it because the Ultima series was popular in Japan? Was Japan maybe one of the few countries where internet and decent computers was widely avaliable at the time of UO release... so it caught on? was it by chance/luck? or etc?..

    Anyone know why or have any reasonable theories?..
  2. Altpersona

    Altpersona Guest

    I guess you haven't played many Eastern MMOs huh?
  3. Crysta

    Crysta Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

    May 12, 2008
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    Ultima was popular enough in Japan to get an SNES port of Savage Empire and a PSX port of Ultima Underworld: Stygian Abyss that the rest of the world didn't get.
  4. PASmountaindew

    PASmountaindew Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

    Nov 12, 2001
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    And EA Mythic likes to cater to the Japanese population by allowing them to have Seers still and far better unique items and better world deco and they also tend to get new content first a lot of times.
  5. Kiminality

    Kiminality Guest

    Japan don't get EMs, and such.
    Seriously, don't turn this thread into a whine about how they get things we don't. That's not the intenteded topic, and there's been enough (and will be many more) that this one isn't needed to be one, too.

    I think, in part, it's the openness and customisability that appeals.
  6. Warsong of LS

    Warsong of LS Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran

    May 24, 2008
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    Because the Japanese market likes complex involved games, and it does not hurt to have a branch: EAJapan that actually markets and promotes the game there. There have been several box sets and limited time offers (not counting the 11th year codes you can get here) over there since the ninth anniversary set was released to the rest of the world.
  7. I would think one of the biggest draws is the fact that they still have the volunteer system alive and well to help train, tutor, entertain, decorate, and help the local shards communities.

    And Kimi, a Seer is essentially the same thing as an EM, only a Seer has GM powers of being able to spawn decorative items and place them down. Their technical ranking I believe was 'IGM'.

    To any who are mad about the volunteer program being shut down, it was actually due to some of the volunteers here in the states suing EA about either wages or conditions of contract, and since the lawsuit does not cross national borders, and they had no problems in Japan, Japan still has a volunteer program, and we do not.
  8. Where in there did they say EM? They have seers, big difference, more power, more control, more interactive, more fun.
  9. Vyal

    Vyal Guest

    It doesn't and the only reason you see people on those far eastern shards is gold sites using scripts to farm them out xfer back to regular shards and sell items since 90% of them allow scripting.

    Happy now?
  10. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
    Professional Premium Stratics Veteran Supporter Alumni Dread Lord

    May 12, 2008
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    Because the game is enjoyed and appreciated?
  11. Astrel

    Astrel Guest

    Japanese retailers have a different concept of customer service (not intended to be a general criticism of EA) thus when they first set up they were very accommodating. I remember buying a Japanese copy of an upgrade years ago and It didn't work on my English system. I contacted the Tokyo office and one of the people sent me a file to get it to work (same day). Now, it is probably on a par with EA in the US, and they no longer cater to English users, although they do have such neat things as being able to buy codes, print out the invoice, and pay it at your local convenience store, with the codes arriving within 10 minutes. As for items, a few odd cultural items, plus a saki plant, a hot spring and other decorations, but nothing significant.

    While there are, or have been, scripters galore, the community is generally polite and helpful, although you occasionally meet someone who is not. I think that the sheer expanse of UO, with housing and choice of what to do when you are logged on, appeals to many Japanese.
  12. The Japanese think retro is cool. They were having sock hops in the 80's if that tells you anything...
  13. BartofCats

    BartofCats Guest

    They also know the value of putting a damn box on the shelf in all of the local computer software retailers. Seriously... when was the last box for UO on the shelf?? 3 years ago?? go find one today?? I would bet you that you could in Japan, north america?? yeah right... if your lucky you will find UO gold or 9th anniversary... Which was almost 4 years ago now.
  14. Slayvite

    Slayvite Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Jul 13, 2005
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    Its not got a 'strong' player base if you compare it to the population, just looks that way.
  15. Tomas_Bryce

    Tomas_Bryce Rares Collector Extraordinaire | Rares Fest Host
    Stratics Veteran

    Aug 14, 2006
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    First of all, you really have no idea what you are talking about.

    Secondly, most people don't play this game for pixel candies, like you might. This is especially true on Japanese shards. They play for the community and the fact that no other MMORPG allows you the creative freedom that UO does.

    For example, on Japanese shards, you will still find majority of the shops in middle of nowhere because their owners take pride in maintaining a good independent shop. Instead of becoming just another North American Luna strip mall. Players also tend to be extremely polite and respectful of each other.
  16. SDragor

    SDragor Guest

    Because Japanese like Tamagotchis?
  17. Manticore

    Manticore Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

    May 12, 2008
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    Tomas is right on the community. This is the only game that I know where men and women can play doing many different things and interacting. The housing customization part of this game is truely unique. In Asian countries, look at their cartoons and you'll notice so much is emphasized on community (team) involvement, e.g. Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Yugioh, etc... A lot of people over there get on simply because they know their friends are on to just chat and not really do anything. Sure on occassion they go pk or pvm or do quests but its the overall since of "commadre" that brings them back.

    I've been to a couple of their Seer ran events and I realized that its the enviornment rather the actual event that attracts players. Whereas here it's hack-and-slash or try to solve a riddle, over there many times you just show up at a well decorated place and just chill. Sometimes they'll add a few carnival games or win some prizes but people for the most part just chill and have a cup of sake or two. But that's their culture and it takes time to cultivate that. Here in the US we are a fast moving group of people who want to see results in the shortest amount of time.

    Great Lakes sort of combines the two ideas and it seems to work very well. The EM have weekly spy missions always set on Tuesday nights 8 pm central and afterwards creates a log book where you can sign in to show you've attended. Then he shows up in the EM char and speaks to the audience and asks them what they liked and didn't liked about the event etc... Really getting the community involved. This sort of QA/QC check will only improve the events as time goes on. I met a few people that have attended since week 1 of this season because it's easy when you know when each week to plan for. This is one of the ways you can get continuous commitments from players.

    Now that I know that on every Tuesday nights on GL there will be an event, I can reschedule my normal schedule for that night and attend. Why other shards don't do that is beyond me. In fact, not to knock any other shards down but on one shard last week the EM just decided to have a last minute event hardly anyone knew about it. Things of that nature players tends to not remember in the long run.

    Baja has a pretty good EM system too. And typically these will go to shards who has had the original EMs since the beginning of this season. They are more dedicated to the "cause" and puts in more time. For example, during the last arc on Baja, the EMs locked a book down showing what towns will be attacked in a sequential manner. So people can find out about the terrain ahead of time etc.. and they gave plenty of warning on their websites. Unlike some EMs had their websites updated back in August, Sheesh!!
  18. Harlequin

    Harlequin Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran

    Jun 11, 2008
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    My theory, it boils down to extremely good timing. And luck.

    Judging from the large numbers of RPGs on SNES/Sega platforms back in the 80s and 90s, I am guessing that RPGs are huge in Japan.

    And UO was the pioneer of an advanced (at that time) MMORPG. A persistent online world capable of letting thousands of folks playing online at the same time.

    Diablo has been out for a while and was hugely popular. However, only 4 people can play in the same game at any one time. The infrastructure for internet connections was coming of age in many eastern countries like Japan and Korea.

    At the same time, Diablo was getting old and was starting to lose its appeal. But it paved the way for the next stage - The world, including the east, was ready for UO.

    If folks remember, there was a huge population of Japanese and Korean players even back in 97 on the first 3 US shards. The MMORPG industry was still brand new, there were hardly any competitors. No Japanese/Korean MMOs at that time either. So there was a huge market of wired-up gamers in the east (see notes*), with not many places to go to except UO.

    The asian financial crisis probably helped things a bit, with people staying home and turning to cheaper means of entertainment. (see notes**).

    There, the seeds of a loyal player base have been firmly planted. I can't pin down why UO stayed as popular through the years there though, amongst the thousands of local/regional MMOs released.

    A part of it can be attributed to marketing. I remember they even had a contest where the winner got a date with a popular porn actress (they are held in different regards in Japan). Now, that's marketing!

    *I can't find the stats back in 1997, but as of 2008, Japan has the second highest internet penetration next to US. Japan has 97 mil, US has 200+ mil. 3rd place is Germany (55m), 4th is France (40m).

    Data from http://www.internetworldstats.com/list4.htm#high

    **Interestingly, the Koreans went over to Starcraft instead.