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Japanese players spent $2.9 billion on boxed games and consoles in 2022

Japan Annual Report: Switch was the best-selling hardware of the year, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were the biggest games

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Just shut of $3 billion was spent on physical games products in Japan last year.

That's according to Famitsu's annual report, which revealed that total sales on boxed games and hardware amounted to ¥374.8 billion ($2.9 billion) from December 27, 2021 to December 25, 2022.

It marks a 4% increase on the ¥361.4 billion ($2.8 billion) spent at Japanese retail in 2021.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were the best-selling games of the year. Counted as a single title, the pair shifted a combined four million between their November 18 launch and December 25.

Splatoon 3 came in second place with 3.7 million boxed copies shifted since it debuted in September.

Pokémon benefitted from a surge of sales in December. When we reported Japan's best-selling games of the year up to December 4 in our annual Year In Numbers infographic, Splatoon was ahead of Violet and Scarlet.

This morning we reported Pokémon Violet was the 14th biggest selling game in Europe last year, with Scarlet at No.16. Coincidentally, Violet also took No.14 in the UK 2022 charts, with Scarlet at No.17.

Had either chart combined the pair, as Famitsu does, they would have appeared higher.

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware of the year in Japan, shifting 4.8 million units. So far, it has sold 27.7 million units in its home market since launching in March 2017.

Even less surprisingly, nine out of the top ten games of the year were for Switch – with seven published by Nintendo (Pokémon Scarlet & Violet and Pokémon Legends: Arceus are published by The Pokémon Company in Japan).

The only exception was Elden Ring, with the PS4 version coming in tenth place.

PlayStation 5 was the second biggest selling console with 1.2 million units sold, pushing lifetime sales to 2.4 million.

Xbox Series X|S had a solid year, shifting 269,737 units in 2022. Given that its lifetime sales are now 398,395, this means Microsoft's console sold more than double the number it managed in its first year.

Below are the top ten best-selling boxed games along with their sales totals for December 27, 2021 to December 25, 2022, courtesy of Famitsu:

  • Pokémon Scarlet & Violet (Switch, The Pokémon Company) - 4.3 million
  • Splatoon 3 (Switch, Nintendo) - 3.7 million
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch, The Pokémon Company) - 2.3 million
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch, Nintendo) - 966,047
  • Nintendo Switch Sports (Switch, Nintendo) - 887,772
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch, Nintendo) - 742,018
  • Minecraft (Switch, Nintendo) - 548,415
  • Mario Party Superstars (Switch, Nintendo) - 485,594
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate (Switch, Nintendo) - 441,053
  • Elden Ring (PS4, Bandai Namco) - 356,711

For more 2022 sales data, be sure to read our annual reports on game sales in Europe and the UK, as well as our Year In Numbers infographic.

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