Japanese games market falls to lowest point in 26 years, declines 13 per cent year-on-year

Things continue to look exceptionally bleak for the Japanese console games market, according to data from Famitsu.

In 2015 the sector’s games market generated 321bn, a 13 per cent decline year-on-year. Meanwhile, software sales dropped 16 per cent to 191bn, and console sales dipped to 130bn – a 8.5 per cent drop off.

The 13 per cent drop to the overall sector is the lowest point the market has fallen to in 26 years – dipping below 1989’s 358bn, and just ahead of 1988’s 319bn (thanks NeoGAF). Last year, the market dropped to its lowest point since 1990.

Of course, this data is purely physical and doesn’t take into account the digital data. And while boxed games still account for most of the console market, Japan’s mobile market is booming and the value of that is not represented in these figures.

The best performing title of the year was Capcom’s Monster Hunter X which shifted 2.4m units since its launch in November 2015. It has quite the lead on second place, new entries in Level 5’s blockbuster Yokai Watch series. Those titles sold 2m units between them.

Of the Top Ten bestselling games of the year, eight of them were on 3DS. It should come as no surprise then that the 3DS was the best-performing hardware in Japan for 2015.

2,189,900 3DS units were sold, including the vanilla 3DS, 3DS LL, New 3DS and New 3DS LL. The second best-performing hardware was the PlayStation 4, which shifted 1.2m units, while the PlayStation Vita sold 959,342 units (including the Vita TV). Neither have any games in the Top Ten.

The other two games in the Top Ten were Wii U titles – Splatoon and Super Mario Maker. That hardware sold 820,304 units in 2015.

Below is the software Top Ten for 2015 in Japan:

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

And here is the hardware rankings:

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.Wii U 820,304
5.PS3 188,207
6. Xbox One 18,093

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