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Japanese industry needs new blood, says Wada

Square Enix president keen to further international and cross-media exchanges

The Japanese videogames industry has become a victim of its own success, and needs to find ways to bring new blood and new ideas into the business in order to get out of the current slump it finds itself in.

That's according to Square Enix president and CEO Yoichi Wada, who told GamesIndustry.biz that as the chairman of Japan's trade body, CESA, he intends to promote a greater exchange of ideas with games companies internationally, as well as with other media industries.

"From the developer side, the Japanese games industry became so successful that we didn't recruit new people," he said. "So today, if you look at the main creators of games, they're already in their late thirties.

"When you look at the industry in the US, the industry has attracted some very talented people from, say, computer science and the film industries - so people from different sectors came into the industry and that kept the market vital, succeeding in creating new products.

"But in Japan the old people are doing the same old job - and even the so-called new people... there are some people that you'd call 'game geeks' but it was a very closed world.

"I'm the chairman of the industry association in Japan, CESA, and in that role I intend to do two things. One is to promote more international exchange, and then to promote exchange with different industries - such as TV and film."

And he added that he saw a key benefit to Square Enix Holdings, because with the acquisition of Eidos he would be able to further both ambitions with the company as well.

2009 has been a quiet year so far for the sale of software particularly in Japan, with last week's Media Create numbers showing very low sales outside of the new Pokemon number one - the second-placed game sold just 28,000 units, while both ninth- and tenth-placed games sold just 9000 copies apiece over the sales week.

The second part of the interview with Wada-san, and Eidos CEO Phil Rogers, is available now.

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