Japanese game market shrinks 24% in 1H '09 - Report

Enterbrain figures reveal hardware, software demand drops by one quarter; DS leads portables, Wii top console through June.

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The Wii has been a market-leading juggernaut from the moment it launched in late 2006, with sales of the console for literally years in multiple regions hampered only by Nintendo's inability to keep up with demand. However, 2009 has been a different story for Nintendo, with PlayStation 3 sales surpassing those of the Wii on a monthly basis for the first time in March and president Satoru Iwata saying his company's console is in an "unhealthy condition."

Mario & Luigi RPG 3!!! isn't lacking in enthusiasm.

Nintendo's struggle is indicative of the greater gaming market in Japan. Citing figures provided by Japanese stat-tracking firm Enterbrain, IT Media reports that industry sales had fallen to ¥218.9 billion ($2.3 billion) in Nintendo and Sony's home nation from December 29, 2008 to June 28, 2009, a year-over-year decline of 24.4 percent. Delineated further, IT Media reports hardware sales were down 27.6 percent during the period, with software slipping 21.8 percent.

As noted by the Japanese technology news site, a primary indicator of the industry's weakness is the lack of million-unit sellers during the first half of 2009. Conversely, the site notes, the first half of 2008 saw the release of four million-unit sellers, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii and Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G for the PSP.

In the first half of 2009, the top performer was Mario & Luigi RPG3!!! for the DS with 650,000 units, according to Enterbrain's figures, followed by Capcom's Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, Sega's Yakuza 3 for the PS3, the PS3 edition of Capcom's Resident Evil 5 (known as Biohazard 5 in Japan), and Nintendo's Wii Fit.

As for hardware, the DSi and DS Lite reportedly combined to sell 1.62 million units during the first half of the year in Japan, followed by 1.18 million units for the PSP. Console sales were significantly weaker, with the Wii selling 640,000 units, the PS3 at 550,000 systems, and the Xbox 360 taking the rear with 210,000 machines.

Discussion

175 comments
anik786
anik786

what the hell is happening to jap games. They made games and now they can't even be bothered to makes games. There is much less jap games than there used to be. fortunately there is still games such as Metal gear solid (but even that is hiring people in North America for some software engineering roles)

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

the wii needs something good which hasn't been over-used, everything a nintendo fan gets excited about, I got bored of years ago. You cant rely on using MARIO MARIO MARIO all the time and the re-releasing gamecube games (like metroid and resident evil)... its just not interesting anymore. I play more PS2 than my wii, and my 360 has such a better libary. I would say Wii needs have more games like the DS but thanks to it being aimed at casual gamers who play it 5 times, unfortunately you wont be seeing anything hardcore. The wii is destroying the market, I hope PS3 over takes it in Japan and 360 wins back home

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

if the wii would drop price i might consider getting one, im consistently shocked at the game prices for a system thats in the lead. im buying games for my ps3 at less than half of that for the wii. mental!

NuKkU
NuKkU

man japan is really losing its influence in the gaming market that sucks means less japanese games such as JRPG's

FinalDuo1886
FinalDuo1886

You know the world coming to a end, when you hear this kinda news :D.

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

I have also mentioned that in Japan gamers want quality. Thier favorite genres arcade ports,puzzle games,dating sims and card games are thier bread and butter. None of the current consoles have a large selection of those. novelty party games will only last a short time before Japanese consumers where thin on them. I think the PS3 sales in Japan spiking that SEGA plays a huge role in that. Yakuza 3 helped fire up console sales there. Though it did exceptional in Japan, that doesn't mean it will do well here. I really think SEGA is counting the chips that they have on a table. Especially since they've trademarked all this new hardware. I think that SEGA will play the casual game approach very subtley. Since thier specialty is arcade gaming, they will likely disguise arcade ports as casual titles rather then allow shovelwhere and party games on Dreamcast 2/Cosmic Ring. That would be very ingenius for them to do especially since they’ve always been known to have an hardcore audience.

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

Zeta. You're point is one that i've been trying to argue since last fall when the U.S. software market collasped. The overall industy had been precieved for a long time as being reccession proof and now everyone knows that is not the case. Japan isn't just being affected the U.S. is too: NPD- MAY 2009 Nintendo DS: 633,500 Wii: 289,500 Xbox 360: 175,000 PlayStation 3: 131,000 PlayStation 2: 117,000 PSP: 100,400 Now this is April's tally. NPD- APRIL 2009 Nintendo DS: 1.04M Wii: 340,000 Xbox 360: 175,000 PlayStation 2: 172,000 PlayStation 3: 127,000 PSP: 116,000 Two months in a row console sales took hits. Notice that Nintendo got hit the most because it's Wii seems to be suffering the most. We don't know if June sales were even better or if E3 helped increase demand for gaming. We shouldn't be surprised if hardware sales were still down in June. As for Nintendo, well they pretty much shot themselves in the foot with Wii. The novelty idea is nice, but it will only last so long. Plus because they built the system underpowered it has stopped cold developers chances to push it's graphics to the limit. Because it wasn't design HD, that causes it's graphics engine to look horribly dated and subpar. And because Nintendo abandoned it's long licensing policies, that gives it shovelwhere. I

scarface_dm
scarface_dm

This is the generation of the 360 since it has the support of a wider market :D

penpusher
penpusher

not too suprising, the current gens have been selling like crazy tis only natural for a slight dip now and then, specially with the bloody price of the games!!!

mike2640
mike2640

Alright, let me say this first: I own a Wii and a 360, and I like them both a lot. I really don't see a problem with having games like Wii Fit; after all, they expand the industry and sell very well. I just would like to see some more hardcore titles in addition to these casual games. The first-party games are great, but the third-party games for Wii are sorely lacking for core gamers (besides COD:WAW, which I love). On another note, I don't think this is reason to bash on the other consoles. The gaming industry is finally being hit by the recession, and hit hard. I for one hope that all consoles start doing better so the industry prospers!

melty3219
melty3219

HAHA this is why the REAL gaming console wins, XBOX 360!!! not some last years tech waggle controller or some "multimedia entertainment centre" of a failstation 3 with its extinct gaming libary srsly the PS3 fails so hard its an insult to gaming.

SirSpoon84
SirSpoon84

i wish nintendo had a portable gaming unit with atleast gamecube graphics, i love DS games but wish it looked a lil better.

Meises
Meises

Awwwwww. Im going to buy a Wii just to help Nintendo out a little:D

mwmars
mwmars

just wait until the end of the year when Bioshock 2, Uncharted 2, Assassin's Creed 2, Dragon age, Demon's Souls, God of War 3 and whatever else I'm leaving out get released... bye bye, Wii... "Zelda, please come save us" - Iwata

ralphikari
ralphikari

You can't expect a boon every year unless you're selling oil.

Paincroller
Paincroller

man lay off Nintendo everything cant be there fault like seriously go blame Microsoft or Sony REALLY the wii isn't the problem its cheap fin the xbox and ps3 expensive sides no wonder Sony has bigger sales THERE SYSTEM IS 500$ you buy one that's the price of 4 wii's maybe if i think if ANYTHING Sony should lower there prices or Nintendo should man up and raise there prices!!!

Madmangamer364
Madmangamer364

@kavadias1981: Common sense ftw! Seriously, people will blame Nintendo for anything these days. "Japanese market in a funk? Blame Nintendo! Half-hearted third party games? Blame Nintendo! Global warming? Blame Nintendo!" That's pretty much the vibe these days. If anything, Nintendo's responsible for trying to keep the Japanese and worldwide gaming market afloat during these difficult financial times, seeing as how their products are the ones that are the most reasonably priced and are selling the best. Yet, chances are that you won't be hearing that from too many people. :P Anyways, I expect the Japanese market to surge again in a positive manner really soon, with big name titles leading the charge in the coming months. I think that's what this topic is really about, as there hasn't really been as many legit "must-have" games this year as there was last year. I believe that's the primary reason why the gaming market itself is suffering a bit a the moment. Of course, we could continue playing the "Blame Nintendo" game... :P

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

This was when PS3 was supposed to show its prowess. If they had their features and exclusive game library built up quicker I would have already had one.

fazedjb
fazedjb

the future of current gem gaming is with the ps3. hehehe

Primus_Elite
Primus_Elite

I think Nintendo will pick back up in the fall with some of their new releases on both the Wii and DS, but you have got to give the fans something to look forward to beyond that. It's nice to see the release of like six new Mario games within the next year or two and the concept of Metroid: other M seems interesting but as a fan I want more. I want more promise for the future in some more big name titles. Where is the next big Zelda game, not just a piece if artwork as a teaser, or the next portable Zelda game that isn't playing off the Wind Waker gimmick, and what ever happened to the Star Fox franchise? this generation won't last forever and Nintendo needs some big names now, or at least the promise of big titles withing the next two years, or people will lose faith in the system for the rest of the generation.

JetMoto6
JetMoto6

Lol! Xbox 360 taking the rear.

evrdayblues
evrdayblues

@ Kweeni Said: "if they stick to stuff like wii fit for wii and braintraining for ds and other crap like that, they will fall, eventually." -- They will fail by outselling all other games consistently for many years? How is that failure? They expanded the market and now the people that bought those games will buy "core" games. I see no problem with expanding the gaming audience. If the "games industry" is to survive it needs to grow, not shrink.

Whitegold101
Whitegold101

I don't like the wii because I am just not into the mario thing anymore and that the ownly games they make for the wii that are semi good.

bluslder
bluslder

I will put my two cents in. I loved my gamecube. It was great. My Xbox had Halo and Jade Empire. My ps2 had FF X. I had all three. This Gen. I bought a Xbox 360 when they were hard to find. I hated the Wii the first time I saw it. Not because it is Nintendo but because I want to play games and not mario 50 times over. I recently bought a PS3. Sold it a month later. Nothing interesting besides MGs4. Nintendo is focused on casual gaming which is fine. Everyone I know that owns one plays it for a few days then it collects dust. WHy? Because once you get over the motion, it is nothing but a simple machine with simple games. PS3 needs more games. They are now getting more games and i might get one once they drop the price. But my 360 is my love and even though it has problems too, it satisfies my gaming needs. Don't be a fanboy. Just have an opinion and be glad that we have choices as gamers and aren't confined to one machine to play games.

zakkess
zakkess

and this is why last gen was perfect..PS2 FTW!! :D

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Sad news, but it seems like the summer is when the gaming market slows down anyways. And like the topic states, there weren't a lot of high profile titles launched for the Wii and DS in the last few months. I mean, I liked GTA Chinatown Wars and The Conduit, but I don't think those games appeal to the Japanese market. I think when the fall gets here we will see another big turnaround.

Takeno456
Takeno456

There is a little something called an economic recession and as most people know Japan has been hit very hard by it. This type of news should not be too surprising. Also maybe the game industry would perform better if they didn't keep making games that act and play so similar. So many shooters and RPGs are just tweaked copies of each other that it starts to get really annoying.

LtReviews
LtReviews

hmm...reminds me of a song... "AMERICA- F*** YEAHHH!"

Dante2710
Dante2710

not surprised, maybe some new IPs to attract the Japanese

SamiRDuran
SamiRDuran

console gaming is slowly dying i guess. if it wasnt for the Wii no console market growth would have occurred in 2008.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

Console sales as a whole is not as high as last gen. Games this gen are all the same as last gen with updated graphics! What is new?? Rez5, game X 3,4... We have played it all last gen. And due to cost to make a great game companies are staying with a name recognition, that has a preinstalled base. - - - Wii is new and different but it has not come out with games that are not gimmicky. There are a few exceptions.

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

psp3002gam3r
psp3002gam3r

looks good but mario and lugi look different its just not right !!

swamptick
swamptick

Nintendo needs to start making games for VIDEO GAMERS again. They also need some new material. Sure, Mario is great and all, but after over 50 games you would think they could come up with some new stuff.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

the best games virtua fighter 5, streetfighter, resident evil are all japanese companies but it would appear western interest in gaming has over took theirs. wii and ps 3 to me that shows that japanese people are only interseted in stuff made my companies of there own country where as all i care about is which system has the best games and at the moment that is 360 i have a wii to. i mean the reason i got saturn and dreamcast in the past was based on the great games that were on it. it takes more a certain brand name or place of origin to sell me a console.

shkar
shkar

recession !!!!!!! Who is responsible for this Tsunami ?!?!?!?!

Excedra
Excedra

I love Japan, In my opinion, the best games come from japan. Namely, mario, tekken, gran turismo....

BladeTrinity114
BladeTrinity114

@kavadias yeh I don't think they should make such a big deal over something so small. Its not like nobody has heard of the recession. People are losing their jobs everyday, major companies are closing down etc.. obviously that is going to have an affect on sales of a console aimed at a more casual audience.

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ddc123
ddc123

Fella's, we all know what the real problem with today's video games is. Global warming.

Wiiownzzz
Wiiownzzz

Maybe now Nintendo will do something about their third party support...

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

This is utter rubbish. A drop in sales and the whole world is like "Oh my God. This is the end of Nintendo!" The recession has hit Japan very hard so of course average people (the people who buy Wii hardware and software) are being a little more cautious about what they spend their money on. Other countries aren't experiencing similar problems, sales in the US and EU still going strong, so what is the big deal? I think this is just the kind of report that many gamers use as an excuse to bring up the tired "Nintendo have forgotten us" whine again. I am a gamer, I have a PS3 and Wii and I have a solid selection of games on my wish list for both consoles. If I don't have a problem then most of you shouldn't either.

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

@yuri19 Wow, what an analogy. In reality though, do nerdy kids get a pool or something? But yeah I agree that it's like that for nintendo. It's like they have already abandoned the core gamers(save some die-hard hardcore Nintendo gamers that play all their 1st-party software). If Natal proved to be the "bigger" pool then Nintendo should have something to bring back his "old nerdy friends". And I still want to play SSBB. Darn, I don't have a Wii. And as much as I love Sony, they are really not winning the console wars in terms of sales. I don't care that much though,as long as the developers keep developing good games for them, either 1st party or 3rd party.

kweeni
kweeni

if they stick to stuff like wii fit for wii and braintraining for ds and other crap like that, they will fall, eventually.

haldirk
haldirk

I was in all the hype about Brawl. After realizing what Nintendo meant by making games more user friendly for the "casual gamers", I ended up tossing my wii under a pile of dirty laundry in my closet. They destroyed my faith in their company when they took out all advanced techniques in Super Smash Bros Melee and made the game a projectile spamming fest called Brawl. It is great that they are attracting more people into gaming. I've never been happier to see my girlfriend want to join in a game with me and my buddies, but in all honesty I don't think it is worth the sacrifice of good gaming. Looking on at the wide variety of garbage they offer, my face of hope eventually disappeared and I found myself preferring the sunlight more than my cozy room illuminated by the television set. The Reality is that casual gamers won't be willing to spend as much on something they don't play as religiously as most of us "hardcore gamers" do. So while they set aside the big steak for just a fraction of their customers, their loyalist fans are tossed a measly bone. At some point shortly after acquiring the Wii, I realized that neither my roommates or myself would actually put in a Wii game in the Wii and that 99% of the time we would rather use it to run GameCube games. That is when I made the choice to put away the Wii and go buy back my GameCube, preferring its now $30 predecessor for its shorter load time on the starting screen.