Bayonetta Creator, Kotaku Scuffle Over PC Gaming Comments

File this under “why is this even a thing.”

So Hideki Kamiya, formerly of Capcom and one of the main creative forces behind games such as Bayonetta and Resident Evil 2, interacted with a person on Twitter and had this to say:

As has been pointed out repeatedly by this point, this viewpoint may well be an illustration of the cultural differences between Japan and other nations of the world. Where PC gaming is entrenched in places like the U.S., Europe and other parts of Asia, in Japan, it’s just not A Thing, apparently.

The trouble arose from a Kotaku story with the original headline, “The Guy Who Made Bayonetta is Clueless About PC Gaming.” The word “clueless” has triggered a sort of mini-controversy, as Kamiya responded on Twitter with some anger. He called Kotaku some names, implied the lack of journalism at the site, and asked writer Luke Plunkett, “Do you eat s–t?” on Twitter when Plunkett asked him if Kamiya had read the story.

The headline on the story has been amended, but Kotaku’s attempt at explaining some of the reasons why PC gaming isn’t really a thing in Japan isn’t useless. It points out the differences between the way Japanese developers and (mostly) Western ones make games, and to whom they sell them. Unfortunately, the whole thing became about the dumb headline and the argument resulting from it.

Now, we here at Game Front and I specifically think that the words people use and the language with which they convey ideas is important. I also think that in the realm of journalism especially, you need to choose words carefully. Forbes’ Erik Kain points out that an unfortunate (though actually pretty run-of-the-mill Kotaku-and-Gawker-style) headline obscures the real facts, and he’s not wrong.

What I don’t agree with is the blow-up surrounding the whole situation. Kotaku made a correction and updated the story with this:

“UPDATE: The original headline for this story—”The Guy Who Made Bayonetta Is Clueless about Valve and PC Gaming”—has been changed. “Clueless” was a poor choice of words and we apologize for the negative connotation. That said, we appreciate Kamiya’s colorful reaction to the story and hope that, now that we’ve changed the headline, those who couldn’t get past that will be able to read the piece. – Stephen Totilo, Editor-in-Chief”

Given that the piece isn’t at all combative and that the headline was dumb, and has been corrected, Totilo’s position is understandable. Time to move on.

And yet there’s this piece from Nick Lalone on Gameranx, claiming that the whole thing smacks of an ethnocentric viewpoint from Americans.

Wait, what? The Gameranx piece talks about how powerful PC gaming is in the states and notes that, if people just took a moment to realize that other cultures are different, this wouldn’t have happened — except that PC gaming is not just an American thing, but a global thing, so it’s hard to call a positive view of PC gaming specific to any culture or ethnicity. And gaming has become a global phenomenon, even as it’s different in various parts of the world, so finding that a developer isn’t all that aware of a space that makes up a huge part of the market in other countries is, in fact, kind of interesting for a number of different kinds of people, not just Americans. Isn’t there some use in understanding the cultural differences between people?

At the end of the day, there are things in the gaming space to discuss, and even to be upset about. I was upset about Far Cry 3 earlier this week. Lots of people have been growing more and more upset about the representations of women in gaming. There are lots and lots and lots of things to which we should be devoting energy, every day, in order to make gaming better for everyone.

This is not one of those things.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Let’s talk about it in the comments. After all, Kamiya’s tweets about the whole thing are pretty funny.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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1 Comment on Bayonetta Creator, Kotaku Scuffle Over PC Gaming Comments


On January 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Uh. They need computers to make there games right?
I wish the console era ends. Japan has been disappointing since the PS2 era. They used to make really good games on the PS1 and SNES.
Now its all about how to rip off there consumers.