I read this article over at the New York Times website, thought it warranted sharing.
Among other issues, the article concerns the Nintendo DS and how it is significantly more popular among the older crowd in Japan than in the United States. That is, the author mentions hardly ever spotting anyone older than “about 20” playing a DS in public, which he contrasts with the abundance of 20-30 something year old people playing the handheld device in Japan.
The article also discusses Dragon Quest IX, a game recently released in the US that has been out in Japan for awhile. The Dragon Quest series has done very well in Japan for years, but here in the USA it’s more of a fringe title for anime enthusiasts.
The article does explain partly why this and other Japanese games don’t fare as well here, noting that
this is still a thoroughly Japanese game, as reflected perhaps most obviously in its anime-inspired art style. Understandably, it will always be tough for gruff Western gamers to accept that their powerful, sword-swinging warrior looks like a 12-year-old boy playing dress-up. And it can be just a little weird to Western tastes to see a character who looks like a little girl wearing fishnet stockings, a short skirt and high heels. In a similar vein, the music (which can be turned off) can be cloyingly cutesy to Western ears.
In the end, this article is pretty well-written and helps explain the difference between Japanese gaming and American gaming when considering the Nintendo DS.