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Tough times ahead for Japanese publishers?

Hirokazu Hamamura, CEO of Famitsu publishers Enterbrain, has offered and appraisal of the hardware and software market in 2005, and given some indication of the shape of the market in 2006, as the next generation console transition completes.

Hirokazu Hamamura, CEO of Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, has declared that while 2005 was a good year for hardware sales in the Japanese market, there are likely to be tough times ahead.

Using the sales data Enterbrain collects for the Japanese market, the 2005 financial year, which runs from April 2004 to March 2005, was a very positive year for hardware unit sales, with a 23 per cent increase on the previous year that was pushed significantly by Nintendo DS and PSP sales.

Hamamura stated that the overall growth of the market had increased, with software sales reaching 660 million and increasing 8 per cent on the previous year. However, a generally lower price point for handheld titles, which have been the primary drivers for the market boost - the Nintendo DS accounting for seven of the ten best sellers for the year - has left the software market value relatively static at YEN 309 billion (EURO 2.1 billion).

The positive reflection on 2005 was soured a little by Hamamura's prediction for 2006, the CEO declaring that numerous publishers have rushed next-gen titles to market in an effort to beat what, until recently, was believed to be a May launch for the PS3. The Japanese market is, apparently, flooded with a surplus of rushed games that are stifling sales growth, which publishers are unlikely to recover from until autumn.

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