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Sony on top as Japanese game market sinks 14%

PSP sells 2.6 million, PS3 sells 1.4 million in island nation during 2010, reports Enterbrain; Pokemon Black and White, Monster Hunter Portable 3 top sellers.


When the NPD Group used to release hardware sales numbers for the US market, the PSP regularly finished dead last in the platform race. However, in Japan, it's a different story, as titles such as Monster Hunter Portable 3rd and Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection have boosted the fortunes of Sony's portable since it was introduced in the territory in 2004.

The PSP was the top system in Japan during the 12 months ended March 31, 2011.
The PSP was the top system in Japan during the 12 months ended March 31, 2011.

Last week, Famitsu publisher Enterbrain released its sales figures for the 12 months ended March 31, 2011, which proved the PSP's popularity in Japan again. According to a translation by gaming blog Andria Sang, the portable sold 2,640,499 units (including the PSP Go) during the period, bringing its life-to-date sales to 16,867,853 units. That was good enough to beat the DS family of systems (not including the 3DS), which sold 2,523,142 units during the year. Life-to-date, the DS, DSi, and DSi LL (known as the DSi XL in the West) have sold 32,598,870 units. The 3DS, which launched in Japan on February 26, sold 801,423 units during just over a month on the market.

Sony could also claim victory on the console front--barely. During the 12-month period, the PlayStation 3 sold 1,407,126 units in Japan, bringing its lifetime total there to 6,341,950 units. That tally was enough to just edge out the Wii's 1,397,498-unit haul, which bring its life-to-date sales to 11,534,590. The Xbox 360 was a distant third with 195,563 units, bringing its Japanese life-to-date total to 1,448,665 units.

On the software side, not even Capcom's Monster Hunter Portable 3rd could beat back the force that is Pokemon. Combined, Pokemon Black and White were the number one game of the year, selling 5,149,022 units compared to Monster Hunter Portable 3rd's 4,372,182 units. Wii Party came in third place with 1,826,857 units, followed by Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 with 1,283,423 units. Super Mario Galaxy 2 just missed the million-seller-mark with 956,853 copies sold.

While on the surface Enterbrain's sales figures seem robust, they actually indicated a decline from the prior 12-month reporting period. Overall, the Japanese game market sank nearly 14 percent to ¥472.6 billion ($5.6 billion). Hardware was the hardest hit, with sales falling 21 percent to ¥170.7 billion yen ($2.0 billion), while software slid 9.3 percent to ¥301.9 billion ($3.6 billion).

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