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While next gen consoles are setting records here in the states, overseas in Japan, a new form of gaming is dominating the market. For the first time in over 24 years, handheld games and home consoles have reached their lowest selling point in Japan.
The decline in sales is partly due to Japan shifting over to a more mobile dominated market. Consumers of the region opted for a more efficient and economic approach for their gaming needs. One of the top selling game consoles was the Nintendo 3DS with more than 3.1 million units sold followed by the PlayStation Vita with 1.1 million sold units. Several of the top selling games in Japan were 3DS games such as Yokai Watch 2: Ganso/Honke, Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Also eight out of the ten to games in Japan are published for 3DS, further supporting the idea that the market has shifted away from home consoles.
Physical sales for 2014 handheld and home consoles added up to be 369 billion yen. Though that number does not sound alarming, back in 2007 gaming sales in Japan had peaked at 689 billion yen, nearly doubling current sales. Next gen consoles didn’t even sell over a million units individually with PlayStation 4 selling roughly 925,000 consoles, Nintendo Wii U at 604,000, and Xbox One barely floating above water with 45,900 units.
As stated before, the market shifting towards a more mobile dominating market is not surprising given the consumers demographic. Most Japanese consumers are frequently on the move from place to place and home consoles can be bulky and inconvenient for someone with a fast paced lifestyle. Another possible contributing factor could be the quality of games released for home systems. Several of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s popular games are first person shooter centered, while successful abroad they are not as widely popular in Japan.
While the shift in market takes away from home systems and handheld systems, the gaming industry is still thriving. Perhaps the New Year will bring better sales to all platforms with new releases for all next gen consoles. Sourcing for the stats in this article can be found on neogaf.