Yano Research Reports on Japan's 2009-10 Otaku Market

posted on by Egan Loo
Dating simulations, electronic comics, online games among the growing categories

The Yano Research Institute posted its 2010 report on the Japanese "otaku marketplace" on October 8.

The institute reported that seven categories in the marketplace expanded in 2009, with dating simulation games growing the most at 83.0% to 8.6 billion yen (about US$106 million). Other categories with significant estimated growth include electronic comics (29.8% to 42.2 billion yen/US$520 million) and online games (17.2% to 213.1 billion yen/US$2.62 billion). The remaining expanding categories were cosplay outfits (5.5%), dōjinshi (4.7%), figures (2.9%), and idols (1.9%).

While the customer base for dating simulation games has been already growing for the past 2-3 years thanks to female-targeted mobile phone games, 2009 saw rapid expansion fueled by Konami's male-targeted Loveplus game. The print comic marketplace shrank, but the electronic comics continued to grow due to lower prices (compared to print), greater penetration of broadband services, and more features on e-book devices. The rise of social games hosted on social networking sites led to more developers, content, and users entering the online game segment.

Category 2009 2010 (Estimate)
Electronic Comics 42.2 billion yen US$520 million 50.0 billion yen US$616 million
Dōjinshi 64.0 billion yen US$788 million 66.2 billion yen US$815 million
Plastic Models 25.5 billion yen US$314 million 26.2 billion yen US$323 million
Figures 28.3 billion yen US$349 million 29.3 billion yen US$361 million
Dolls 13.5 billion yen US$166 million 13.6 billion yen US$168 million
Railroad Models (Including Dioramas and Related Products) 16.0 billion yen US$197 million 16.0 billion yen US$197 million
Idols 54.2 billion yen US$668 million 55.3 billion yen US$681 million
Cosplay Outfits 40.6 billion yen US$500 million 42.8 billion yen US$527 million
Maid-, Cosplay-Related Services 8.4 billion yen US$103 million 8.3 billion yen US$102 million
Online Games 213.1 billion yen US$2.625 billion 244.8 billion yen US$3.015 billion
Adult Games 29.8 billion yen US$367 million 27.5 billion yen US$339 million
Adult Videos (Including Adult Video Tapes, DVDs, Downloaded Content) 59.0 billion yen US$727 million 57.9 billion yen US$713 million
Dating Simulation Games 8.6 billion yen US$106 million 10.2 billion yen US$126 million
Boys-Love 21.3 billion yen US$262 million 21.3 billion yen US$262 million

Yano Research conducted its study through in-person and telephone interviews as well as through fax and online surveys from July to September. The figures for each category were calculated from the yen value of releases shipped domestically, except for maid- and cosplay-related services and idols. The category of maid- and cosplay-related services is based on domestic revenues, and the idol category is based on how much consumers spent. There is a partial overlap in the categories of dating simulation games and online games. Similarly, some items in the boys-Love Category were also counted towards the electonic comic, dōjinshi, adult game, and adult video categories.

Tadashi Sudo, the maintainer of the and industry news websites, expressed his skepticism for the report due to how it calculates its findings, and indicated that it is best used for background reference only. The Japan External Trade Organization uses data from Yano Research and other organizations for its reports on the state of the anime industry. A different research firm, Media Create, posted a 2008 Otaku Industry White Paper.

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