Big in Japan Mar. 15-21: Yakuza 4

Next chapter in Sega's organized crime epic posts big numbers during first week of release, pushes PlayStation 3 to top of the hardware charts.

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As Yakuza 3 was making its long-awaited international debut earlier this month, its sequel was already tearing up the Japanese sales charts. Media Create released its retail sales figures for the week of March 15-21, and Sega's PlayStation 3-exclusive Yakuza 4 was well ahead of the pack, selling 383,972 copies in its debut week.

Yakuza 4 ended the two-week reign of Pokemon Ranger in flashy mobster style.
Yakuza 4 ended the two-week reign of Pokemon Ranger in flashy mobster style.

For the fourth installment in the action series about Japanese criminal syndicates, Sega expanded the game's focus beyond former Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu and let players take control of three additional characters, all with intertwining storylines. Keeping the theme of "four" going, Yakuza 4 more than quadrupled the sales of the week's next best-selling game.

That title, Bandai Namco's PSP 3D action game Gundam Assault Survive, debuted in Japanese stores alongside Yakuza 4 and managed to sell 90,994 copies. The only other new release of the week to hit the top 10, Gundam Assault Survive features more than 300 of the titular giant robots pulled from multiple Gundam animated series.

Pokemon Ranger saw its streak atop the charts stopped after just two weeks, though it didn’t fall terribly far. Nintendo's latest monster catching DS game came in third with 49,548 copies sold, followed by long-term chart residents New Super Mario Bros. Wii (36,613 sold) and Tomodachi Collection (34,798 copies sold). Nintendo's fourth and final game on the top 10 chart was Wii Fit Plus, which finished seventh, selling 19,356 copies.

On the hardware front, Sony fared particularly well. No doubt aided by the launch of Yakuza 4, the PlayStation 3 topped the charts, adding another 50,164 to its Japanese installed base for the week. The console's portable counterpart was the next best-selling system, with consumers picking up 38,017 units for the week.

Nintendo continued adding to its own user base, with the Wii landing in third with 31,101 systems sold, and its trifecta of DS offerings taking the next three spots. The DSi LL (called the DSi XL internationally) sold 20,765 units, followed by the DSi (14,256 sold) and the DS Lite (3,953 sold)

While Sony laid claim to the top two spots on the hardware charts, it also owned the bottom two. The PlayStation 2 continued to wind down its life span with sales of just 1,711 new systems. Meager as that total might be, it was still sufficient to relegate the PSP Go to last place, as Sony's digital distribution-exclusive system sold just 1,491 new units for the week.

JAPAN GAME SALES WEEK OF MARCH 15-21, 2010
Software:
Rank / Title / Publisher / Platform / Unit sales
1) Yakuza 4: Densetsu o Tsugumono / Sega / PS3 / 383,972
2) Gundam Assault Survive / Bandai Namco / PSP / 90,994
3) Pokemon Ranger: Hikari no Kiseki / Nintendo / DS / 49,548
4) New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Nintendo / Wii / 36,613
5) Tomodachi Collection / Nintendo / DS / 34,798
6) Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce 2 / Sony / PS3 / 19,545
7) Wii Fit Plus / Nintendo / Wii / 19,356
8) What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? 3D / SCE / PSP / 18,466
9) Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (Ultimate Hits) / Square Enix / DS / 15,228
10) God Eater / Bandai Namco / PSP / 15,162

Hardware:
PS3 - 50,164
PSP - 38,017
Wii - 31,101
DSi LL - 20,765
DSi - 14,256
DS Lite - 3,953
Xbox 360 - 2,419
PS2 - 1,711
PSP Go - 1,491

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