Square Enix recently announced that the recently released Tomb Raider would be receiving some more DLC. That DLC came in the form of a language pack to add Japanese text and voice acting to the game. Weeaboos have long pestered JRPG makers to release similar DLC for other games, but I would assume that their price was not the thirty dollars that will be charged for Tomb Raider‘s language pack. Square Enix has been slammed with an enormous amount of criticism over this price, but this is not the case of a company trying to bleed otakus dry. The real culprit behind this price gouging is the JRT.
The JRT has long been Japan’s dirty secret, only affecting its citizens and people who import Japanese goods. While the secrecy of the JRT makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact beginning, it is believed to have come into existence in the mid 1950’s. Initially, the citizens of Japan welcomed the JRT, as it was intended to be a way to ween Japan off of the USA’s monetary assistance. Fast-forwarding to today, the JRT appears to be have become a bane to Japanese consumers. The JRT’s effect on video games was mild during the early generations of gaming, although it nearly prevented Japan’s dominance in the industry after the crash of 1983.
The dominance of Japan in video games was marked with consumers across the country all but ignoring the JRT. The tendency of Japanese consumers to obsess over whatever was the current fad played a huge role in this willful ignorance to the JRT. When Nintendo released the Nintendo 64, they were banking on the lower overall cost of the console to entice the Japanese who were steadily becoming more opposed to the harsh effects of the JRT. The Japanese, a race that is known to be crafty with numbers, realized the fault in this thinking as Nintendo’s cartridges cost about thirty-three percent more BEFORE factoring in the JRT. This led to Sony selling nearly four times the number of consoles in Japan.
During the next two generations is when the JRT caused the most damage on the home console market in Japan. While both the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 were greatly successful, the Xbox, and to a lesser extent, the GameCube, were ravaged by the JRT. Japan, along with the rest of the world, suffered from the effects of a failing economy. Consumers who were once able to own each console were suddenly faced with the prospect of having to pick which console to side with. Japan’s economic depression began to truly expose the effects of the JRT on the country’s consumers. The Xbox performed pathetically, selling just over half a million consoles in Japan. The Xbox was priced similarly to the PS2, however the Japanese felt it was wrong to have to pay the JRT on a console that was from an American company.
The JRT has been the most devastating on the current generation of home consoles. Both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 were launched at record prices and the cost of games for these consoles jumped up twenty percent. Compounding the issue was a rise in the overall rate of the JRT, causing some games to cost nearly double the price of their American releases. Despite the historical popularity of home consoles in Japan, it seems as if the country has had enough. The JRT has effectively priced most of the country out of being able to afford the console, and the few consumers that can are left trying to save for a single game. Many Japanese have now turned to handheld consoles, like the DS and the PSP. Handheld consoles, which have cheaper games to go along with the cheaper hardware, are not affected as much by the JRT. Naturally, the Japanese government is not happy with this development, as less JRT money means fewer schoolgirl-sake binge nights. For the first time since its beginning there have been some rumblings within the government to make a change to the way the JRT works, however it is not known what changes have been discussed.
The JRT is a good idea that has turned terrible with age. When it was first introduced, it had a singular purpose that it served, to get Japan back on its feet economically. Nearly six decades later, the JRT is still around, but it is having an opposite effect. Japan is in the middle of a depression that saw the Nikkei 225 fall eighty-two percent over two decades. The Japanese economy has begun to improve recently, but that is in spite of the JRT. Currently, the JRT has stifled the console market, the Wii U has yet to break a million consoles sold, and the Vita and 3DS only saw spikes in sales after price drops. The JRT’s destruction of Microsoft’s consoles in Japan have left some to ponder if the company will leave Japan out of the 720 market. It is time for the Japanese government to open their eyes and put an end to the JRT, not just for video games, but to bring Japan out of its economic depression!
Readers, if you know somebody who has been ravaged by the JRT, do the right thing, import them into the USA. When they get here, direct them to Lusipurr.com, have them leave an amusing message (in English), and you could win a free game! What is more American than helping somebody with the goal of benefiting yourself? That is right, nothing is better than that!