Response To Xtreme Beach Volleyball May Be Part Of The Marketing Plan

The Dead Or Alive fighting game series has made women with unrealistic dimensions a cornerstone of their franchise. For this reason, it was hardly surprising when the first Xtreme Beach Volleyball game was released for the original Xbox. If the presumed straight male gamer wanted to look at these animated characters looking sexy, why not cut out any pretense of game and instead just show off the girls.

Now developer Koei Tecmo is on the verge of releasing the third game in the series, however, the news that the game will not be brought to the US brought the expected response from a vocal contingent of the video game community. Abject outrage.

The thing this appears to be an issue in search of a controversy. While the developer claims they made this decision based on problems regarding the depiction of women in games, this was taken by many as an assumption that there was some sort of widespread outrage regarding the game’s release. This outrage must have been fairly quiet as I can find no evidence of it.

The DOAX games are dumb, and they have no particularly completing reason to exist, but I have not seen anybody asking that the game not be published. There has been no call to boycott. This game was so far off anybody’s radar that most people were probably not away it was coming out until they heard it wasn’t. Now a game that nobody was talking about is the one everybody is talking about.

So what are the odds that this was the plan? The DOAX games have never sold particularly well all things considered. I fully expect to hear that “due to popular demand” Loei Tecmo has now decided to release DOAX3 in the US. It still won’t sell too many copies, but it will likely sell several more than it otherwise would have.

On the one hand, this would be a fairly brilliant marketing scheme. On the other, it’s a depressing one. If Tecmo Koei did plan this, knowing what the reaction would be, it doesn’t say much for the perception of your average western gamer by the companies that make these games.

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One Comment

  1. It’s also not one guided purely by fears of a moral backlash. There is a historic awareness that western markets aren’t as exposed to the mass of anime and manga that heavily inform gaming content in Japan, and which comfortably embrace many seijin – or adult – subgenres that often seem weird beyond the domestic market. Indeed, when we appraise games like Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball in the west, we tend to do so beyond the context of Japan’s wider otaku culture. “The women in DoA belong in a particular niche – it’s the characters themselves that are popular,” argues sociologist Casey Brienza, who has written extensively on manga and anime. “There’s a huge culture around what are called ‘character goods’ – things like Hello Kitty – which become multiplied across different media, from comics to action figures.

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