The Biggest Video Game Companies in Japan

Japan is one of the world leaders when it comes to technological developments, and it has built up a reputation for having some of the best companies in the world in this space. Japanese companies are at the forefront of creating new innovations that are used in electronics and other related industries, and this is the case for video games as well. Gaming is extremely popular in the country, with several bookmakers operating in Japan that offer gaming and betting odds to players for popular games. At the same time, gaming remains one of the areas where Japanese countries lead the world, with many of the best gaming providers in the world being based in the country. Thus, here, we will take a look at some of the biggest and best gaming providers in Japan.


Nintendo is arguably the most famous Japanese gaming company, and it is of course one of the biggest in the world. It is also one of the oldest in the industry, having been founded in 1889 in the city of Kyoto to produce handmade hanafuda cards – a Japanese playing card game. It became a video game developer after several unsuccessful ventures, including a love hotel and a taxi company. Of course, the company is known globally today as the creator of the Game Boy, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, GameCube and Nintendo Wii game consoles, as well as iconic game titles such as Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, and Pokemon. Nintendo have published more than 250 games, having developed at least 180 of those, and game sales have crossed 2 billion copies globally. The company took a major gamble on a whole new game concept with the launch of its Wii console, as a successor to the GameCube, in 2006. Aimed at a wider demographic than earlier and rival consoles, it’s hand-held remote unit was used as a tennis racket, boxing glove and a range of other game implements that got players much more physically involved in games. Initial customer complaints included straps breaking and units smashing into TV screens, but the Wii quickly became a major commercial success, selling more units in the U.S. than the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 combined in the first half of 2007. In Japan it outsold rivals by 3:1 or more. Its successor, the Wii U, was not as successful but that was at least in part due to a shift away from home consoles to handheld devices. And again, Nintendo is a major player with its DS and 3DS among the most popular devices of all time.

Square Enix

Square Enix was formed in 2003 as the result of a merger between rivals Square Co. and the Enix Corporation. Square’s Final Fantasy, first released in 1987, is the most widely distributed game series of all time, including both standard console games and portable games, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, games for mobile phones, three anime series, and two full length CGI films. But the films, while technically very ambitious, were major disappointments commercially and this played a part in the merger with the larger Enix. And if Final Fantasy can be described as the best RPG series of all time, the second-best is probably Dragon Quest, developed by Enix and known as Dragon Warrior in North America from 1989 until 2005. Other popular Square Enix titles include Kingdom Hearts and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.


 Sega provided many of the hits for arcade games, such as Frogger and Zaxxon, and enjoyed huge success in the home console market with its Mega Drive, Saturn and Dreamcast. But after losing to Nintendo and Sony in the fierce competition of the 1990s, they pulled out and began concentrating on software development for multiple platforms. Sega has its origins in a company called Standard Games set up by three Americans in Hawaii in 1940, which in 1951 moved to its present base in Tokyo. The current name comes from the phrase “SErvice GAmes of Japan,” and was adopted after a merger in 1965.


Konami is a leading developer and publisher of numerous popular and strong-selling computer and video games. As of 2005, it is the 4th largest game developer in Japan. The company was founded in 1969 as a jukebox rental and repair business in Osaka by Kagemasa Kozuki, the still-current chairman and CEO. The name “Konami” is a conjunction of the names Kagemasa Kozuki, Yoshinobu Nakama, Hiro Matsuda, and Shokichi Ishihara, who were partners acquired by Kozuki and the original founders of Konami Industry Co., Ltd in 1973. Konami also means “Small waves.” Konami is currently headquartered in Tokyo and additionally operates health and fitness clubs in Japan.

Major titles include Dance Dance Revolution, Winning Eleven (known internationally as Pro Evolution Soccer), Tokimeki Memorial, Metal Gear, Silent Hill and Yu-Gi-Oh!. In 2015 Kojima Hideo, one of the world’s best-known game directors and the man behind the hugely successful Metal Gear series, jumped ship and announced that he was forming his own studio and working on a PlayStation 4-exclusive project with Sony Computer Entertainment.

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