The Japanese gaming market may be diminutive compared to the US and Europe, but the last month has seen Sony establish a leg up in the region over its current-generation console rivals. Citing figures from industry research firm and Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, the Financial Times reports that the PlayStation 3 sold 146,948 in Japan for the five-week period ended March 29. That figure easily trumps the PS3's closest competitor, the Nintendo Wii, which sold 99,335 units during the same period.
The FT notes that Sony's win in the region for the period is marked as much by the uptick in PS3 sales as a weakening in Wii sales. Wii sales for the period were off nearly 63 percent from the year-ago period, the financial trade reports, due in large part to its lack of compelling releases in March. On the other hand, the PS3 saw the release of anticipated games such as Sega's Yakuza 3 and Capcom's Resident Evil 5, both of which topped Media Create's weekly software charts.
However, Nintendo seems unfazed by the Wii's lagging sales in Japan. "It is still the first few months of the year when sales are slow for the industry, so we are not particularly concerned," a representative told the FT. "We hope to line up strong software to support hardware sales in the second half of the year."
Despite its recent downturn in Japan, the Wii remains the most popular console in the US. Reporting on February sales last month, the NPD Group revealed that the Wii easily outsold the PlayStation 3, 753,000 units to 276,000.