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The growth of esports in Japan - are domestic regulations holding back the industry?

Thursday, 27 June 2019 By Masakatsu Nagashima

Japan is the well-known home of many popular gaming companies, such as Sony and Nintendo. Revenue from the Japanese gaming industry exceeded $19.2 billion in 2018, and the number of players exceeds 67.6 million, ranking it third in the world1. However, revenue from the Japanese esports market in 2018 was only $44.2 million,2 which is less than 0.3% of the revenue of the Japanese gaming industry as a whole. Considering this grew from a mere $3 million3 in 2017, it is still true to say that esports is experiencing a boom in Japan; yet compared to the $905.6 million global revenue of the esports market in 2018,4 it is relatively small.

This article looks at why this may be the case and suggests that one important factor deterring growth is Japan’s domestic regulatory regime.

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Written by

Masakatsu Nagashima

Masakatsu Nagashima

Senior Associate, TMI Associates

Masakatsu is a Japanese attorney who joined TMI Associates in 2012. Since then, he has represented various entertainment and sports clients in Japan (including esports related clients). He graduated from UCLA School of Law LL.M. in 2018. He was a speaker at the EBA (Esports Bar Association) Conference held in June 2019 in Los Angeles.

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