Report: Japanese Game Market Drops 24% In 6 Months
Due to a distinct lack of "million-sellers," Japan's video game industry has slipped during the first half of 2009, and Nintendo continues to fall at a rapid rate.
According to the latest results by IT Media and Enterbrain, as summarized by GameSpot, industry sales in Japan fell to 218.9 billion yen ($2.3 billion) between December 29, 2008 and June 28, 2009, which is a marked decline of 24.4%. Hardware sales were down 27.6%, software sales were down 21.8%, and there were no "million-unit sellers" in the first half of 2009. On the flip side, there were four back in the first six months of 2008, so the decline is logical. However, the PlayStation 3 has continually surpassed the Wii on a monthly basis this year and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said the system is currently in an "unhealthy condition." Of course, our suggestion has always been the same ("how's about making some software?!"), but when Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! for the DS is your top seller at 650,000 units, you may want to consider paying more attention to the slumping Wii. Still, the Wii has managed to sell more overall in this span of time (640,000 units) compared to the PS3 (550,000), so some semblance of the fad is still in existence. The Xbox 360, once again, takes a distant third place at 210,000 consoles sold.
As for handhelds, it's no surprise to see the DSi and DS Lite continue to top the charts; they managed to shift 1.62 million units in the first half of the year, and the PSP had a respectable showing at 1.18 million units. But all these statistics only prove once again that without top software, it's tough to sell hardware.
7/6/2009 Ben Dutka