Girls Addicted to Dating Games in Japan

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Female-oriented video games are growing in Japan. The market is predicted to reach 20 billion yen ($261 million) in the next five years, a large leap from last year's 6 million yen. The reason is that young girls are getting addicted to "otome" games, electronic versions of romance novels.   

"When I wake up in the morning, I play these games for a while before I really get up," says Takako Suzuki, 28, an office worker. "I need to play otome games because I’m so stressed out by my nagging boss at work."

Suzuki was once playing 10 different romance games at the same time, courting a cute millionaire in one while flirting with a samurai warrior in another.

Plus, she plays on a variety of devices, not just Nintendo or Playstation consoles. Online social network games are becoming more popular, played on computers, phones and tablets. While most are free, companies profit by selling virtual items or chapters of an interactive comic.

Japanese girls like Suzuki just can't stay away from the romantic action. "I have to play them for 10 to 15 minutes before going to bed," she says. Seeing how successful this romance game genre has become, the trend may spread to other countries.

"Developers must target women to expand their market instead of only focusing on men," said Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc. in Tokyo. "Dating games became a blockbuster category among women because characters in those games give them what they want from men in the real world."

Source, Photo: Bloomberg

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