Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, your destination for all things mobile RPG. In addition to the other kinds of articles you'll find under this banner, I'll also occasionally be writing not about specific games, but about a topic connected to mobile RPGs. This week is one such installment. We're taking a look at an interesting phenomenon that has started to occur with increasing regularity in the Japanese gaming market. Mobile gaming has long since overtaken the other gaming markets in Japan, and the result is that a lot of the most popular modern gaming IPs have their origins in the mobile market. We're all used to seeing cherished old console franchises trotted out wearing free-to-play skins on mobile, but in Japan, the opposite case is beginning to happen. This article will take a look at some of the most famous examples, with a little extra analysis on the sales performance of those games and the possible motivations behind creating them.
There are no two ways about it: the console market is in a real pinch in Japan. But that's not a new thing. Signs of a market downturn in home consoles were perceptible in the region as early as the PlayStation 2 era, when the console and its software sales cooled down a lot quicker than it did in other regions. The Nintendo Wii rode a wave of goodwill off the back of the Nintendo DS, with a pinch of Nintendo nostalgia helping it along, but that burst proved to be short-lived. Since then, the console market has just sort of limped along. Neither the Wii nor the PlayStation 3 could manage even 70% of the sales of the Super Famicom, let alone the booming sales of Nintendo's 8-bit Famicom or Sony's first two PlayStation consoles. The Wii U couldn't even pass the SEGA Megadrive's total, and the PlayStation 4 only recently nudged ahead of the Gamecube's total. We won't even talk about Microsoft's dismal fortunes with their Xbox consoles. With some luck, the first-place console in Japan this generation might be...