Switch fuels Japan’s physical game market with first YOY growth since H1 2014

Japan’s physical video game market was up 14.8 per cent during the first half of 2017 after being valued at 153.2bn, according to the latest figures from Famitsu. This makes H1 2017 the biggest era of growth year-on-year in Japan for the first time since H1 2014.

Unsurprisingly, the launch of the Nintendo Switch played a huge role in this record-breaking period, with hardware revenue up 44 per cent year-on-year to 76.51bn. Software revenue, meanwhile, fell by 4.6 per cent year-on-year to76.69bn, but was still buoyed by strong sales from Nintendo’s new console.

Naturally, the Switch was the best-selling piece of hardware during the first six months of 2017, selling over a million units within four months of going on sale. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sold 502,000 and 460,000 copies respectively, which means that nearly half of all Switch owners have bought either one or both of these titles.

Sony’s PS4 family were the second best-selling bits of hardware, selling a combined total of 878,000 units between January and June. This is up 18 per cent year-on-year compared to H1 2016. Nintendo’s 3DS wasn’t far behind, though, coming in third after selling another 873,000 units.

Despite the Switch’s great success, however, it was Capcom’s Monster Hunter XX which claimed the top spot in Famitsu’s software charts, selling 1.64m copies. Pokemon Sun and Moon came in second, continuing their strong performance from 2016 with another 528,000 copies sold.

Meanwhile, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe placed third with 501,000 units sold, and Breath of the Wild came in at No.4 after shifting 460,000 copies. Fifth place, however, went to Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, which released back in January last year, after the game sold another 397,000 units, taking its total cumulative sales in Japan to date past the one million mark.

As a result, Nintendo topped the publisher charts for H1 2017, with a market share of 24 per cent and physical game revenue of18.44bn – that’s an increase of 145.6 per cent year-on-year. Of that figure,7.92bn was generated by Nintendo Switch titles, representing 40 per cent of Nintendo’s overall physical game revenue for the six months.

Capcom came second in the publisher charts off the back of Monster Hunter XX and Resident Evil VII, generating12.39bn in game revenue. That’s an increase of 160 per cent from H1 2016. Square Enix, meanwhile, who topped Famitsu’s H1 2016 charts, came in third with8.27bn, but Famitsu notes that the company’s unlikely to stay in that position come the end of the year thanks to the imminient release of Dragon Quest XI on July 29th.

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