Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kojima Law!

Be prepared for more work bashing in the upcoming weeks. Apologies that my posting hasn't been on a daily basis. Yesterday everyone in my department called in sick, aside from myself. And I mean everyone. So, needless to say, I was way too exhausted after work to do anything, let alone write up a blog post. I'll try to make up for the sporadic posting, if the real world would stop being a jackass.

The master of the known universe, Hideo Kojima posted an interesting set of ramblings on his twitter page. I no like the Twitter. But I'll follow Kojima. For what he says is truth.

After watching a documentary regarding foreign exchange students at a Japanese University, he came to conclusion that the new generation of Japanese game designers don't have the motivation and drive to keep up with the West.

"The Game industry is very similar. The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing.

"The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition, and ability to make their dream become true. So it is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing, we are lacking the motivation.

"Lately I have come to conclusion that, with highly motivated foreigners... it doesn't matter where they are from, working with highly motivated individuals is the only way to move forward. I am tired of taking care of people who do not have the passion"

An interesting perspective. And I can't disprove his theory. Not just because it's Kojima, but because I haven't been fully absorbed into the Japanese gaming production environment to give a completely accurate comment. But I can understand his point from a Western perspective and general understanding of the Japanese culture.

On the one hand, we (as in the U.S.) have been brought up with this idea of the "American Dream." The concept of achieving one's goals and putting your passions before all else. At least I can say that my parents have always been encouraging of following my dreams, but I know from friends that it goes along similar lines. With the Japanese, the focus is on having a good, steady job and raising a family. The long-term is to be financially stable and you can find happiness through this way. It's not about picking a career that you like, but what will keep you and your family together. I know this is a generalization and I can't really speak on behalf of the Japanese people. This is based off of 2 years in Japanese class and the handful of friends that I know living in the region. But based on this point alone, Kojima makes a lot of sense. When you work for the sake of working, you are less likely to be motivated. When you work because you want to work and enjoy the work, then you are more likely to be motivated.

But then there's the other side of the coin. There are still a lot of great games being produced in Japan. If Kojima is stating that there is a lack of motivation, we shouldn't be receiving the high quality products that we have been. You could attribute the work due to the technology, the knowledge base, pre-existing copyright (lots and lots and lots of sequels). I think Kojima is looking more towards the future. At present games are still at a high enough quality that motivation wouldn't be a factor. However, the youth starting to come into the workforce may affect that quality. The same applies to kids in the U.S. and Europe. More are seeing gaming as a viable profession that they can enjoy, so it only makes sense that quality will improve over time.

It's a simple, but interesting point that Kojima brings up. And Kojima's word is law. Respect it


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