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Japan Charts: Gundam tops chart as Giga Pack drives PSP sales surge

Much like the US and European markets, the Japanese games market is showing a major seasonal upturn, with several key titles rolling out last week and three 100,000 plus selling new releases competing for the top spot.

Bandai's latest Gundam title on PS2, Federation Vs. Zaft, took the top of the chart, but was followed closely by Nintendo's new Pokemon titles, Pokemon Mysterious Dungeon: Blue Rescue Force and Red Rescue Force.

Both Pokemon titles sold strongly, with the DS (Blue) version marginally outpacing the GBA (Red) version. Interestingly, the new games are actually a crossover with developer Chunsoft's Mysterious Dungeon series - readers with long memories may recall the last well known crossover with this series, Final Fantasy licensed title Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon on the PSone.

Looking beyond the top three, only one other new release makes it into the top ten - the latest version of Konami's Winning Eleven series, J-League Winning Eleven 9: Asia Championship, which is in at number four on PS2.

Three more DS games populate the top ten, all from Nintendo, with the now six month old DS Training for Adults and not much younger Gentle Brain Exercises still in the chart (at seven and eight respectively), along with recent release Daredemo Asobi Taizen.

The presence of Cube title Mario Party 7 (at number six) ahead of the remaining two PS2 releases, Shiobido Imashime and Daito Giken's latest Pachinko simulator, Osu! Bancho, which are at nine and ten respectively, confirms the start of a strong Christmas season for Nintendo in Japan.

However, in hardware terms the PSP gets a much-needed shot in the arm from the launch of the competitively priced Giga Pack, which like its overseas counterparts, bundles the handheld console with a 1Gb memory stick and a pack of other accessories for 29,800 yen (about 212 Euro).

The launch of this pack sends the PSP up to over 35 per cent market share, although it still can't displace the wildly popular DS at the head of the table, with Nintendo's innovative portable outselling it once again this week with over 39 per cent share.

Game Boy Advance and Micro fail to clock up 10 per cent between them, while the PS2 languishes on just 12.6 per cent market share - the kind of share figure which the GameCube was seeing this time last year, although the bottom line numbers are undoubtedly higher thanks to the arrival of the new handhelds.

Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.