Handhelds prospering, Xbox floundering in Japan

Only one game sells beyond a million copies during first half of 2005; 14 DS and 14 PSP games are in the top 100.

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With the year already half over, Famitsu has issued a report of Japanese game sales for the six-month period between December 27, 2004, to June 26, 2005.

The top-selling game for the first half of 2005 was Gran Turismo 4 (PlayStation 2), which sold a total of 1,051,961 copies during the period, the only game to sell more than a million copies in Japan so far this year. The second best-selling game was Sangokushi 4 (PS2), which sold 900,689 copies. Dragon Ball Z 3 (PS2) followed in third place, though its sales lagged behind by a margin of nearly a third at 639,950 copies. Nintendogs for the DS ranked at fourth place at 494,330 copies, despite that it was released more than two months ago on April 21. The online-enabled edition of Konami's popular sports game, World Soccer Winning Eleven 8: Liveware Revolution (PS2), ranked fifth at 458,626 copies.

Other popular games included Dragon Quest VII at 13th (PS2, 276,604 copies), Resident Evil 4 at 18th (GC, 220,704 copies), and Metal Gear Solid 3 at 24th place (PS2, 199,713 copies). The top game for the PSP was Minna no Golf Portable (known as Hot Shots Golf in the US) , which landed in 15th place with 231,933 copies sold.

The PlayStation 2 continues to be the dominant console in the country, with 49 PS2 games in the top 100. The DS and PSP had 14 games each that ranked in the top 100 sales charts, while the Game Boy Advance had 16 games ranking in. The GameCube only had seven games in the top 100. The figures were relatively similar in terms of total game sales. The PS2 sold 14,010,000 games, the GBA sold 3,408,000 games, the DS sold 3,1996,000 games, the PSP sold 2,103,000 games, and the GC sold 1,549,000 games during the six-month period.

The Xbox continued its low popularity in Japan, with not a single game for the console ranking in the top 100 sales chart for the first half of 2005--just like 2004. Its best-selling title, Fable, sold only 12,090 copies, far below Rockman Zero 4 for the GBA, which ranked in 100th place on the chart with 65,341 copies. By comparison, the best-selling game for the PSOne was a reissue of Valkyrie Profile, and it still sold double the volume of Fable at 24,437 copies. The Xbox sold 91,000 games during the six-month period, while the PSOne sold only 52,000 games.

Nintendo was the top publisher during the first half of 2005 in Japan, shipping a total of 3,166,103 software units in the country. Nintendo also had the biggest number of games--17--in the top 100. Sony Computer Entertainment came in second with 2,053,165 units, followed by Namco at third place (1,546,469 units), Square Enix at fourth place (1,528,037 units), and Bandai at fifth place (1,462,416 units).

In the hardware sector, the PlayStation 2 continued to be the top-selling machine with 1,286,882 units, complemented by the release of its slimline model. Though it has outsold the PS2 during the last three months, the DS ranked in second place in game hardware sales at 1,236,268 units, followed closely by the PSP with 1,137,597 units. The Game Boy Advance SP ranked in fourth place with 497,931 units, as the GameCube struggled behind with 159,559 units, trailed behind by the original GBA, which had sales that dwindled to 16,040 units due to the popularity of the GBA SP and the appearance of the DS. The Xbox sold a total of 9,045 units in the six-month period. No figures are available for the PSOne.

The DS continues to lead the PSP in terms of overall volume, but the machine-to-software sales ratio is about equal. Since its launch in December, the PSP has sold 1,477,541 million hardware units and 2,654,000 games in Japan up to date, meaning that 1.8 games were sold for each PSP. The DS sold 2,332,198 hardware units and 4,408,000 games since its launch, meaning 1.89 games were sold for each DS.

Detailed statistics on Japanese games sales for the first half of 2005 are as follows:

Hardware sales / Q1 & 2 2005 / Q1 & 2 2004
1 PlayStation 2 / 1,286,882 / 1,365,260
2 Nintendo DS / 1,236,268 / na
3 PSP / 1,137,597 / na
4 Game Boy Advance SP / 497,931 / 1,295,460
5 Game Cube / 159,559 / 340,204
6 Game Boy Advance / 16,040 / 158,516
7 Xbox / 9,045 / 18,239

Software sales by platform, Q1 & 2 2005 / Q1 & 2 2004
1 PlayStation 2, 14,010,000 / 16,634,000
2 Game Boy Advance, 3,408,000 / 8,839,000
3 DS, 3,1996,000 / na
4 PSP, 2,103,000 / na
5 Game Cube, 1,549,000 / 2,574,000
6 Xbox, 91,000 / 169,000
7 PlayStation, 52,000 / 104,000

Top software sales by publisher
01 Nintendo, 3,166,103
02 SCEJ 2,053,165
03 Namco 1,546,469
04 Square Enix 1,528,037
05 Bandai 1,462,416
06 Konami 1,410,558
07 Koei 1,260,669
08 Capcom 1,189,641
09 Banpresto 609,248
10 Pokemon 502,727

Number of top 100 games per publisher
1 Nintendo, 17
2 Namco, 12
3 Konami, 10
3 SCEJ, 10
5 Square Enix, 7
5 Bandai, 7
7 Capcom, 6
8 Koei, 4
8 Banpresto, 4
8 Pokemon, 4

Top 20 game sales
01 PS2 Gran Turismo 4, SCE, 1,051,961
02 PS2 Shin Sangoku Musou 4, Koei, 900,689
03 PS2 Dragonball Z3, Bandai, 639,950
04 NDS Nintendogs, Nintendo, 494,330
05 PS2 Winning Eleven 8 Liveware Evolution, Konami, 458,626
06 PS2 Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song, Square Enix, 443,005
07 NDS Sawaru Made in Wario, Nintendo, 398,380
08 PS2 Mobile Suit Gundam: One Year War, Bandai, 384,762
09 NDS Super Mario 64 DS, Nintendo, 355,013
10 PS2 Tekken 5, Namco, 314,845
11 PS2 Radiata Stories, Square Enix 293,413
12 PS2 Devil May Cry 3, Capcom 278,649
13 PS2 Dragon Quest VIII, Square Enix 276,604
14 PS2 Another Century's Episode, Banpresto 254,527
15 PSP Minna no Golf Portable, SCEJ 231,933
16 PS2 Monster Hunter G, Capcom 229,966
17 GBA Mushiking, Sega 222,199
18 NGC Resident Evil 4, Capcom 220,704
19 GBA Pokemon Emerald, Pokemon 218,574
20 NDS Touch! Kirby, Nintendo 208,405

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