While eSports is absolutely massive in many parts of Asia, with South Korea in particular being a behemoth of the industry, it has been somewhat surprising that the people of Japan have not been embracing it as it was previously envisaged.
This is something that has left many commentators and experts stumped as there are a lot of different reasons why it should be something that is very popular in the nation. Esports is a massive business and even for those reasons with Japan being a business heavy nation you would have thought that it would have been embraced as a new opportunity for them to advertise and spread their brands using eSports as a vehicle to do so.
Japan has many players who are supremely talented but they do not get much recognition inside of their homeland. They are not reaching the heights or financial rewards that are being seen elsewhere all around the world.
The Japanese Esports League
The Japanese Esports League has only recently been founded and it has managed to garner some major sponsors such as Twitch and one of the leading newspapers in Japan – Mainichi News. One of the biggest soccer teams in Japan also has an eSports franchise but as a whole the scene in the nation has not been growing as fast as any of the other major nations in the world.
A large reason for this lack of growth could be down to the prize cap on cash prizes. It has been reported that there is a max prize of $895 that can be awarded legally in Japan at an eSports event as they are seen to be promoting a particular product. The reason this law is in place is to ward off any premiums that are unjustifiable or representations that are misleading.
There are some ways that this can be avoided such as if the sponsor are the ones providing the cash prizes instead of the gaming companies themselves. There have been a few instances of this occurring in Japan and it has been encouraging for fans of eSports that this could be a legitimate way of getting the scene to grow in Japan.
Organisers in the world of eSports are looking at all sorts of different way sin which to entice the Japanese people into buying into the world of eSports. One option that is not available is pooling money together for players as this may be construed as gambling in Japan.
Whatever the case may be, Japan is a massive market that eSports will want to infiltrate. It is clear that the players in the country have the passion for the game but if they are not suitably rewarded for their efforts, they will not be able to purse eSports as a career in their home country and as a result they may decide to move away to somewhere else that caters for the scene.
Otherwise they may have to stop playing eSports and go down a professional route in another discipline or mainstream employment. Whatever the case may be, something needs to be done.