Cultural Differences Prevented Rock Band from Being Huge in Japan
A while back, Rock Band came out of nowhere and exploded in popularity all over the United States, Europe, Australia, nearly everywhere....except for Japan. There must be a reason for why the Harmonix's biggest introduction to music-themed video games didn't make its way to the land of the rising sun.
According to this article on Kotaku, there are several reasons why.
According to Harmonix Music Systems' boss Alex Rigopulos, there was always an interest to bring their game to Japan, as they were influenced by such games like Guitar Hero and Beatmania. While there were rumors that Harmonix was working on a version for Japan but it was to be a huge challenge for them. For one thing, licensing Japanese music was a difficult task. In addition, most Japanese housing are completely different from Western houses as most of the walls in Japanese homes are thinner (which means sound is easily heard) and space is greatly limited (which means Rock Band's instruments will clutter the room). Additionally, Rigopulos stated that Japanese people tend to be quieter at home and have fewer parties than us in the west.
However,Harmonix's Dance Center was released in Japan a while ago and received a good amount of positive attention in its release. Let me restate that. A XBOX game that uses THE KINECT received GOOD reception in Japan. It's not everyday you hear that in the gaming world, especially with Microsoft's failing rates in Japan.
So what is in the future for Harmonix and Japan? Only time will tell.