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Japan game sales slip 6.9% in 2009

Enterbrain reports region's software, hardware revenue sank to $5.91 billion; Nintendo DS, Dragon Quest IX led charts.


Much like the US market, the Japanese gaming industry has been unable to keep up with last year's pace. In July, Japanese stat-tracking firm and Famitsu publisher Enterbrain said that the island nation generated $2.3 billion from December 29, 2008 to June 28, off 24 percent from the same period a year ago. And while full-year sales were still down, the good news is that Japanese gaming industry made up a good bit of ground during the back half of the year.

Dragon Quest IX sold gangbusters in Japan last year.
Dragon Quest IX sold gangbusters in Japan last year.

As reported by Famitsu and translated by GameSpot, Enterbrain said today that Japanese game industry sales amounted to ¥542.6 billion ($5.91 billion) during the December 29, 2008-December 27, 2009 calendar year. That figure represents a 6.9 percent slip from 2008's tally of ¥582.6 billion ($6.35 billion).

Hardware sales contributed most heavily to Japan's sales decline, thanks in part to price cuts to the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Total Japanese hardware sales came in at ¥216.5 billion ($2.36 billion), down 13.6 percent year-over-year. Handhelds led the charts, as the DS (including the DS Lite, DSi, and DSi LL) sold 4,025,313 units during the year, bringing lifetime sales in the region to 29,160,589. The PSP followed with 2,307,971 on the year in Japan and 13,386,455 lifetime sales to date.

The Wii led consoles sales in Japan with 1,975,178 units on the year and 9,501,999 since its release in December 2006. Sony's PS3 came in just behind that with 1,727,041 units sold, though it continues to trail Nintendo's popular console with 4,391,407 total systems sold. The Xbox 360 brought up the rear with just 331,706 systems sold during the year, giving it a lifetime tally in Japan of 1,197,873 units. Enterbrain did not offer sales figures for the PlayStation 2.

Software sales largely held steady during the year, slipping just 1.8 percent to ¥326.2 billion ($3.55 billion). Square Enix's Dragon Quest IX for the DS topped Enterbrain's sales chart, selling 4,100,968 units since its July 2009 release in Japan. A trio of Nintendo titles followed, as Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver sold 3,382,597 units, New Super Mario Bros. Wii shifted 2,485,150 copies, and Tomodachi Collection moved 2,311,948 games. Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIII, which launched exclusively for the PS3 in Japan in late December, rounded out the chart with 1,698,256 units sold.

Hardware: ¥216,490,000,000 ($2.36 billion) / -13.6%
Software: ¥326,160,000,000 ($3.55 billion) / -1.8%
Total Games: ¥542,640,000,000 ($5.91 billion) / -6.9%

Platform / 2009 Sales / LTD Sales
DS / 4,025,313 / 29,160,589
PSP / 2,307,971 / 13,386,455
Wii / 1,975,178 / 9,501,999
PlayStation 3 / 1,727,041 / 4,391,407
Xbox 360 / 331,706 / 1,197,873

Rank / Title / Publisher / Platform / 2009 Unit Sales
1) Dragon Quest IX / Square Enix / DS / 4,100,968
2) Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver / Nintendo / DS / 3,382,597
3) New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Nintendo / Wii / 2,485,150
4) Tomodachi Collection / Nintendo / DS / 2,311,948
5) Final Fantasy XIII / Square Enix / PS3 / 1,698,256

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