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Japanese physical games market hit record low in 2015

Traditional games business continues to decline in Japan.


The games industry was worth ¥321 billion in Japan in 2015, according to Famitsu's annual report. That's a 13% year-on-year decline. Console sales fell 8.5% year-on-year while software sales dropped a painful 16%.

The figures are the lowest in 26 years, but without equivalent figures for digital sales it's hard to draw any conclusions; we know smartphone games are incredibly big business in Japan, and online gaming is always growing.

In traditional packaged ales, Monster Hunter X was far and away the biggest seller of the year with 2.4 million sales despite its late launch in November.

Nintendo dominated the software charts, with 3DS titles making up eight of the top ten and two Wii U titles forming the remainder. This performance was clearly echoed in the hardware charts; see both below.

Japanese top 10 bestselling software 2015

  • 1. Monster Hunter X (Capcom) 3DS – 2,441,977
  • 2. Yo-Kai Watch Busters: Akaneko-dan / Shiroinu-tai (Level 5) 3DS – 1,965,202
  • 3. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Nintendo) 3DS – 1,282,880
  • 4. Splatoon (Nintendo) Wii U – 1,064,897
  • 5. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Square Enix) 3DS – 864,865
  • 6. Super Mario Maker (Nintendo) Wii U – 674,194
  • 7. Monster Strike (Mixi) 3DS – 636,709
  • 8. Yokai Watch 2: Shinuchi (Level 5) – 3DS – 625,223
  • 9. Rhythm Heaven: The Best+ (Nintendo) 3DS - 607,343
  • 10. Fire Emblem Fates: White Kingdom/Black Kingdom (Birthright / Conquest) (Nintendo) 3DS – 538,669

Hardware sales Japan 2015

  • 1. Nintendo 3DS (including 3DS, 3DS LL, New 3DS, New 3DS LL) 2,189,900
  • 2. PS4 1,205,163
  • 3. PS Vita (including Vita TV) 959,342
  • 4. PS3 188,207
  • 5. Wii U 82,304
  • 6. Xbox One 18,093

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