Daniel Robson (chief editor, IGN Japan), for JAPAN Forward

Japanese games have a place in gamers’ hearts, both at home and abroad, and 2021 will be another chance to be reminded of that. Here’s what to look for…

Well, 2020 didn’t quite go as expected.

But despite the utter devastation seen in many industries in countries around the world, videogames bucked the trend. Homebound and bored, gamers and non-gamers alike turned to sociable online communities in titles like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, competitive sports games like FIFA 21, and immersive single-player epics such as The Last of Us Part II.

Daniel Robson, holding a PS5. | © JAPAN Forward

In this boom year, the annual value of the game industry rose some 20% on 2019, to an incredible $174.9 billion, according to Newzoo.

And since the pandemic did not suddenly disappear as the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021, business is expected to continue booming.

Gaming from Mario and Pokémon to Animal Crossing

But what of Japan’s role in all of this?

© Square Enix Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

As one of the global epicentres of gaming, Japan produces beloved franchises from Mario to Pokémon to Street Fighter to Final fantasy and beyond. And in 2020, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons defined lockdown entertainment for many, selling 26 million copies since its release in March.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.