Percentage of Japanese language users at record high on Steam, surpassing even German and French
Valve has released the June 2023 edition of its monthly Steam Hardware & Software Survey. The survey shows that Japanese is currently the sixth most used language on the platform, behind Portuguese-Brazil. This has drawn the notice of Japanese users on Reddit and other platforms.
The Steam Hardware & Software Survey is conducted by Valve each month using data collected from users of the Steam client, provided that they have opted in. User data is compiled across a variety of different categories, such as OS version and Video Card, and the statistics are released to the public.
The June 2023 survey also covers a range of categories, and looking at the Language section, we can see that the usage rate of Japanese has risen significantly to 2.82%. This marks a 0.71% increase over the previous month and puts Japanese above both German and French.
The percentage of Japanese-language users on the platform has continued to grow in recent years. We previously reported on the topic last year, when the March 2022 survey showed that Japanese-language users had reached 2.34%, the highest value ever at that time (Related article). Since then it has hovered around the 2% mark, often appearing like it could surpass two major languages in German and French but not being able to get over the hump. You can see this transition in action by looking at the previous survey data via the Wayback Machine. Then, as we entered June this year, the number of Japanese-language users rose sharply.
The reason behind this surge is unclear. For starters, data collected for the Steam Hardware & Software Survey is strongly influenced by the trends of not just Japanese-language users, but also the users of other languages. For example, if you take a look at the data from March 2023, you can see that usage of Simplified Chinese grew by a staggering 25%, which caused all other languages to drop and brought the percentage of Japanese-language users down to 1.13%. This is great example of how a change in one language—Simplified Chinese in this case—can have a big effect on how other languages show up in statistics.
That having been said, the other languages did not see any particularly large changes in the June survey, which would suggest that the number of Japanese-language users on the platform is increasing. This rise would coincide with the growing number of games being released on PC in Japan. Recently, even CyberConnect2 president Hiroshi Matsuyama pointed out the high percentage of Steam users among Japanese students.
As the number of users of a certain language increases, games start to prioritize adding support for that language. In that sense, the rising number of Japanese-language users is a great thing for PC gamers in Japan.
Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-07-04 14:53 JST)