Japanese game sales drop 24% from last year

Hardware and software sales are on the decline – lack of triple-A releases predicted to be the cause

Japanese sales data for the first half of 2009 shows a year-on-year drop in hardware and software sales totalling 24.4 per cent. The figures show hardware sales in the country have fallen 27.6 per cent while software sales have declined by 21.8 per cent.

For the period covering December 29 to June 28, 2009, the Japanese games market accounted for JPY 218 billion of business - or approximately GBP 1.4 billion - according to Enterbrain sales statistics reported by Andriasang.

Part of the blame could lie with the comparative shortage of big selling, triple-A titles to be released in 2009 so far. Last year's numbers included games such as Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, a game which sold over two million units in just four months, and Super Smash Bros Brawl which sold over 1.7 million units throughout the year.

2009 has lacked any major sellers in Japan, with the biggest title of the year so far - Mario & Luigi RPG 3 - shifting a comparatively low 650,000 units. The rest of the top five was made up of Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, Yakuza 3, Resident Evil 5 and Wii Fit, respectively.

With major titles such as Wii Sports Resort, Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter 3 and, possibly, Final Fantasy XIII to be included in 2009's second half sales figures however, this downward trend could reasonably be expected to reverse.

Hardware sales took an even bigger hit than those of software. Nintendo's DS sold in high volumes to make it the biggest-selling console of the year so far, with 1.62 million units sold. PSP hit second place with 1.18 million units.

The Wii was the best-selling home console with 640,000 sold, followed by the PlayStation 3 with 550,000 units and Xbox 360 with 210,000 units.

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