After months of anticipation, Tokyo Jungle finally has a U.S. release date and price. Set for September 26th, the post-apocalyptic animal wasteland adventure will be retailing for just $15 on PSN. As much as we love this price point, it’s saddening it’s not more.
The game retailed (literally) for ¥3900 ($49) in Japan — more than double the U.S. asking price. It’s not as if the game was released awhile ago and coming over here at a discount price; it came out in Japan in June. So why the low price? Unfortunately, it’s not much of a mystery. Sony thinks interest doesn’t warrant a retail release or a full price point. In an age where we’ve seen Japanese ports decreasing, they aren’t alone. XSEED has been forced to adopt this strategy a few times, with Way of the Samurai debuting exclusively on PSN this week. Max Anarchy (Anarchy Reigns), released at full price in Japan, will debut at just $29.99 in North America.
Not seven years ago, the market was flooded with Eastern games at retail. From Suikoden to Disgaea, there were enough games to form a strategy guide company dedicated to them. These releases prove a market was there, so unfortunately, the blame lies with the audience. Obviously at some point, publishers felt sales were sluggish enough for import games to only warrant digital releases — if released at all.
What turned off gamers? There have been plenty of stinkers, but enough to turn off an entire segment of gaming? It’s a sad state of affairs when a game as creative and unique as Tokyo Jungle releases a discount digital release. While we love low prices, it sends the message to the industry that not only do Western gamers not care about Japanese games, but that a unique game is a hard sell. In a world where Call of Duty and its respective imitators dominate the market — we need all the offbeat releases we can get.