Need more evidence that Japan is totally going digital and mobile? Over here, smartphone games are taking off in a big way while traditional hardware and software has sunk to a 24 year low. Not since 1991, when the Super Famicom was finding its footing and Mega Man 3 was released, has the country’s gaming industry seen such low numbers! Mega Man 3!
A chart complied by NeoGAF user Road using data from Media Create shows the millions of physical hardware and software sales over the years and how they’ve progressed over time. At 369 million total sales, 2014 holds the lowest figure in a downward trend of physical gaming media. Console sales are down, losing out to the growing influence of smartphones, and physical sales are also taking a major hit.
It’s worth noting that Media Create does not report on digital media, similar to the NPD reports. As mentioned before, many of those figures have been lost to smartphone games, PC games, and digital downloads through PSN and the Nintendo eShop.
Notice the peaks of the chart as well in 1997, thanks to Pokemon and the PlayStation, and 2006-07, thanks to the booming Nintendo DS. Great eras of Japanese games.
As for software sales, the Nintendo 3DS is clearly still the top dog of the traditional gaming scene. 8 of the 10 best selling games appeared on the Nintendo 3DS with Yokai Watch absolutely dominating the competition this year and edging out Pokemon by over half a million units.
Yo-kai Watch 2: Ganso and Honke – 3,050,178 (3DS)
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire 2,464,850 (3DS)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – 2,381,177 (3DS)
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS- 2,066,022 (3DS)
Yo-kai Watch 2: Shin Uchi – 2,007,327 (3DS)
Yo-kai Watch – 994,346 (3DS)
Mario Kart 8 – 842,053 (Wii U)
Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru to Ruka no Fushigi na Fushigi na Kagi – 748,139 (3DS)
Kirby Triple Deluxe – 687,957 (3DS)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – 478,366 (Wii U)
It’s a Nintendo world in Japan. We’re just living in it.
At any rate, the PlayStation 4 is struggling to catch on in its home country as well, but 2015 is looking to be a banner year for the console with traditional heavyweights just over the horizon. Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, and Dragon Quest are all breaking onto the system for the first time, meaning maybe this will be the year Japan can turn it around.