Japanese console market sunk to 26 year low in 2015

Physical software sales down 16 per cent, hardware down 8.5 per cent

The market for physical games in Japan continued its decline last year, with software sales dropping by 16 per cent versus 2014.

According to data released as part of Famitsu's annual report - sourced by VG247 - the value of the Japanese console market fell by 13 per cent to 321 billion ($2.7 billion), its lowest point in 26 years. In addition to the 16 per cent drop in software sales, hardware also fell by 8.5 per cent.

However, these figures are more significant of transition than disaster. While the Japanese console market is ailing, it is one of the world's most lucrative territories for mobile games. In June 2015, Famitsu estimated the value of the country's mobile market at $5.8 billion, up 18 per cent year-on-year. Add in online PC games and that number was larger still: $6.4 billion.

In his article analysing Konami's apparent move away from AAA console development, our own Rob Fahey put it like this: "Mobile is the right business to be in if you're a major publisher in Japan right now. It's where the audience has gone, it's where the revenues are coming from, and almost all of the cost of a mobile hit is marketing, not development."

Famitsu's charts for 2015 are below, starting with software:

  • 1. Monster Hunter X (Capcom) 3DS - 2,441,977
  • 2. Yo-Kai Watch Busters: Akaneko-dan / Shiroinu-tai (Level 5) 3DS - 1,965,202
  • 3. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Nintendo) 3DS - 1,282,880
  • 4. Splatoon (Nintendo) Wii U - 1,064,897
  • 5. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Square Enix) 3DS - 864,865
  • 6. Super Mario Maker (Nintendo) Wii U - 674,194
  • 7. Monster Strike (Mixi) 3DS - 636,709
  • 8. Yokai Watch 2: Shinuchi (Level 5) - 3DS - 625,223
  • 9. Rhythm Heaven: The Best+ (Nintendo) 3DS - 607,343
  • 10. Fire Emblem Fates: White Kingdom/Black Kingdom (Birthright / Conquest) (Nintendo) 3DS - 538,669

And hardware:

  • 1. Nintendo 3DS (including 3DS, 3DS LL, New 3DS, New 3DS LL) 2,189,900
  • 2. PS4 1,205,163
  • 3. PS Vita (including Vita TV) 959,342
  • 4. PS3 188,207
  • 5. Wii U 82,304
  • 6. Xbox One 18,093

Latest comments (6)

Matthew Bogen Studying Economics, Tufts University3 years ago
Is the figure for 2015 Wii U sales a typo? I find it hard to believe that the console sold less than 90k units for the year, when by GI's reporting it sold about that much in just the month leading up to christmas ( , , ). Between those three weeks, it sold 82k units.

Granted, those articles are based on Media Create figures, but neither they nor Famitsu would be *that* far off the mark.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Matthew Bogen on 7th January 2016 11:10am

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
Famitsu flubbed the numbers. They left off a digit. It's likely 820,304.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 7th January 2016 2:08pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments3 years ago
Famitsu got the numbers right - looks like vg247 flubbed the translation. (google translate gives 820304)

"万" is apparently 10,000
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (6)
Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
Neil, I thought the same at first but they all have that symbol.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments3 years ago
They do indeed - but the rest have 4 digits after it. It does indeed seem to be "ten thousand" :万#Kanji
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
it's a very formal way of writing it.


Basically "fifty three ten thousands, 8669". The last character is likely "recorded" in this context. (Literally book)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.