ANALYSIS: Famitsu reflects on H1 2012 in Japan

EXCLUSIVE: During the first half of 2012, Japan’s overall video game market was valued at 193.40 billion, up 0.7 percent over the same period last year, based on a 9.4 percent rise in software sales, to 122.67 billion, but with a 11.4 percent decline in hardware sales, to 70.73 billion.

The software market’s positive year-over-year growth is largely thanks to the fact that H1’12 was blessed with a total of six 500K-plus-sellinghits, which included the 1.6m-selling "Pocket Monster Black 2 / White2," compared to H1’11’s just one with no million seller.

The hardware market, having been in a generational transition period of platforms, actually grew 3.0 percent year-on-year in volume terms, with the 3DS almost doubling its sales from H1’11’s 1.154 million units to 2.220 million, but ended up in the negative territory in value terms, partly as a result of August 2011’s 3DS and PS3 price drops.

Looking at the semiannual software sales chart, "Pocket Monster Black 2/White 2," 2012’s first and only million seller, comfortably claimed the top spot by selling 1.619 million copies within two days of going on sale. Notably enough, its debut figure represents the third largest on the DS platform’s all-time opening-week sales list. "One Piece: Pirate Warriors" took the second spot with 807K copies sold. The attention-grabbing collaboration between "Dynasty Warriors" and the "One Piece" blockbuster manga series scored the second-quickest start in the history of the PS3 platform.

On the hardware front, the 3DS outsold all other systems by a strong margin, shifting 2.220 million units during the six months alone. Major contributors to its solid H1’12 performance include its substantial lineup of new releases for the half-year, most notably "Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry no Wonderland 3D," in addition to the continued consistent boost from late-2011 releases like "Mario Kart 7."

Incidentally, the handheld stays on the top of the monthly console/handheld sales list for more than a year dating back to June 2011.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2012, we have the scheduled releases of the Nintendo 3DS XL and Wii U, in addition to several triple-A titles like "New Super Mario Bros. 2," "Dragon Quest X," and "Resident Evil 6" lined up to hit retailer shelves. With these factors in mind, Enterbrain is expecting a healthy second half-year for both the hardware and software markets.

MCV has an exclusive media partnership with Famitsu – Japan’s leading video games analyst and news source

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