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Opinion Business Analysis PlayStation brand ‘is in decisive decline in Japan’, research firm claims

Tschumi

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All the guys who were die hard PlayStation fans in the 00s are buying their kids switches now... Well i mean really a pocket sized console is far more attractive than a small refrigerator (no judge) if you've got kids and only one tv
 

dvdvideo

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It must be kind of odd in a way to sell a product to a primary audience that isn't from your own country / culture - you probably have to do a really good job listening to your western division and partners to make this work. I think back to sega in the early days and how they had no clue, but made some good choices / connections / advertising and made it work. Good on them.
Its something for sure ms never did do the other direction successfully, though they likely don't care as much now. A handheld might change things......
 

noshten

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Playstation Ecosystem Famitsu Top 100(2014-)
  1. PS4/PSV/PS3 2016 - 11.932.290
  2. PS4/PSV/PS3 2014 - 11.199.346
  3. PS4/PSV/PS3 2015 - 10.382.176
  4. PS4/PSV 2017 - 9.462.066
  5. PS4/PSV 2018 - 9.228.298
  6. PS4 2019 - 7.181.200

Playstation Ecosystem 2020 Famitsu Top 50:
PS4/PS5 2020 - 3.672.148

Even with a best case scenario we are looking at sub 5 million result for Playstation ecosystem this year

There is a few things to consider
  • Majority of software sales on the PlayStation ecosystem are third party
  • 2018 was the peak year for the PS4 with MHW but because of the decline of Vita it was actually the second worse year for the PlayStation ecosystem in Japan
  • Vita managed around 24 million physical software sales in Japan,
Overall when Sony tried to transition their partners from PS3/PSV to PS4, we notice that the PSV audience actually didn't migrate, that's mainly because Nintendo occupied this space. It's also one of the reasons why in January Nintendo's sales have actually gone up in the past few years - January used to be a stronger month for Playstation ecosystem in the past but now the audience is on Switch, it has become an important month for Nintendo.

Overall 3rd Parties will have key decisions to make, and it's not only about Japan - East Asia is trending the same way. Nintendo have already caught up to the PS4 in China despite only launching officially in December 2019, they currently have around 80% of the hardware and software market in South Korea and Taiwan, they will enter Thailand officially next year. 3rd Parties could have ignored the Switch if it was only popular in Japan, but PS retained leadership in East Asia, but with the current trends - they have two major markets for their games to consider.

From their last financial: Asia is Nintendo’s fastest-growing market, with sales outside of Japan growing 152% this fiscal year

The majority of Japanese games actually make more than 50% of their sales in Asia. With Monster Hunter Rise, Bowser's Fury, Olive Town, Rune Factory 5, Stories 2, Bravely Default 2 etc lined-up for 2021 this trend is likely to continue, meaning that PS5 is likely to face a similar competitive situation in countries geographically and culturally close to Japan, something which the PS4 didn't face when it launched.
 
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Celine

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Frankly it's not terribly informative article, it's just an analyst lamenting that Sony isn't more successful with their recent consoles in Japan.
It fails to give any insight on what is the state of the japanese console market and how the power struggle between Nintendo and PlayStation have played in recent years.

First off a very basic concept which is very important to keep in mind:
The battle between Nintendo and PlayStation isn't just about two similar brand of consoles, it's a struggle between two totally different way to manage a console platform.
Nintendo's a first-party driven console manufacturer, meaning it's the platform holder output the main responsible to generate the momentum that make on of its console an enduring success.
Sony's a third-party driven console manufacturer, meaning it's the mass of third-party output the main responsible to generate the momentum that make a PlayStation console an enduring success.

A very brief history of the japanese console market.
Nintendo's founded the mainstream console market in Japan with the release of the Famicom in 1983.
From 1983 to 1995 the annual biggest amount of software was sold on Nintendo platforms.
The biggest publisher of which was Nintendo.
In 1996 the market shifted toward PlayStation consoles thanks to the decisive support of the japanese third-party publishers to Sony ecosystem (one name above all: Squaresoft).
Overall Nintendo remained among the strongest publishers (often it had the highest yearly software sales among the japanese publishers) but its influence was constrained.
From 2006 the majority of the annual software sales returned back on Nintendo platforms and since then it happened each year with the sole exception of 2011.
How Nintendo regained the crown was by outgrowing the competitors, everyone of them.
In 2006 in fact Nintendo's First-Party software sales represented a staggering 46% of the total software sold in the year.

What I believe is one of the more interesting parameter to evaluate how the power struggle between Nintendo and PlayStation is proceeding is to compare the annual Nintendo's First-Party software sales (include games published by Nintendo and Pokemon Co.) to the annual software sales by the every third-party games on PlayStation platforms.
Here a graph that show what happened in the last 4 years, well there are only the years from 2017 to 2019 cause the data for 2020 isn't yet available however 2020 is even more lopsided in favor of Nintendo.
2021 will likely shape out to be a reaffirmation of the trend which is emerging.
The data pertain software sales at retail and cover around 99% of the physical software market (source: Media Create)

Nintendo's first-party software outsold the total third-party software sales combined on PlayStation platforms for the last 4 years.

Keep in mind that this comparison is obviously between a very different number of games.
The entirety of PlayStation's third-party support can in fact output a far higher number of games than what Nintendo alone can ever produce (the ratio often range between 4:1 to 8:1 depending on the years).
However the average sales per game is far better for Nintendo's software which also highlight a key element in Nintendo's favor that is that most of the mainstream big hits in Japan in the recent years were Nintendo published titles.

 
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Celine

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  • Vita managed around 50 million physical software sales in Japan, which is a similar result to what we are anticipating for PS4
50M units as PSV total physical software sales in Japan is way way too high.
PSV total physical software sales in Japan is 24M units per Media Create.

EDIT:
Though 50M and something is indeed what PS4 will end up selling in term of physical software.
 
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noshten

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50M units as PSV total physical software sales in Japan is way way too high.
PSV total physical software sales in Japan is 24M units per Media Create.

EDIT:
Though 50M and something is indeed what PS4 will end up selling in term of physical software.
Thanks for the informative post and for the clarification I had the wrong information for the PSV physical sales
 
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Overall 3rd Parties will have key decisions to make, and it's not only about Japan - East Asia is trending the same way. Nintendo have already caught up to the PS4 in China despite only launching officially in December 2019, they currently have around 80% of the hardware and software market in South Korea and Taiwan, they will enter Thailand officially next year. 3rd Parties could have ignored the Switch if it was only popular in Japan, but PS retained leadership in East Asia, but with the current trends - they have two major markets for their games to consider.
Do you know where to find the 80% figure in South Korea and Taiwan? I read through the MCVUK article assuming that's where you got the number from and it's not there.
 

noshten

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Do you know where to find the 80% figure in South Korea and Taiwan? I read through the MCVUK article assuming that's where you got the number from and it's not there.

Media-create Whitebook provides this data, we don't have anything official for this year but these markets are up 150% YoY for Nintendo this year and last year they had 51% in Taiwan and 63% in South Korea. They are basically mirroring the pattern of Japan where Switch had 65% of the market last year and saw an uptick to 90% this year.

There is also a weekly Top 5 released for the two countries and it's dominated by by Switch titles 90% of the time since New Horizon launched and Ring Fit started to get it's supply problems resolved.
 
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Media-create Whitebook provides this data, we don't have anything official for this year but these markets are up 150% YoY for Nintendo this year and last year they had 51% in Taiwan and 63% in South Korea. They are basically mirroring the pattern of Japan where Switch had 65% of the market last year and saw an uptick to 90% this year.

There is also a weekly Top 5 released for the two countries and it's dominated by by Switch titles 90% of the time since New Horizon launched and Ring Fit started to get it's supply problems resolved.
Thanks for the info. I'm not surprised that Taiwan is following similar trends to Japan. I have relatives in Taiwan and their impression is that Nintendo and PC are the go-to platforms. Ghost of Tsushima made some noise, which Media Create Taiwan also showed. But other than that, it has been all Nintendo.
 

assurdum

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This 'japan is moving away from home consoles myth' is so stupid it makes my head hurt

Prior generation consoles sales don't support that at all and as for the current situation

Nintendo doesn't have a tradtional home console on the market

XBOX has never been a factor in Japan

and Sony moved HQ to US and has been pushing anti-Japan everything since 2016

Japan isn't moving away from playstation, playstation is moving away from japan

also they never should have killed the vita while it was still popluar there and started censoring for no real reason

From a Japanese gamer or US fan of Japanese games persepective Playstation sucks now and it moving away from what made them great in the first place

The PS5 is basically this dude

Stupid? Even Nintendo give up and released a Trojan horse to "trick" the home console market :/ I don't know if some of you live just in their bubble or simply not want to accept that reality
 
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Goro Majima

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How hard would it be to create a portable PS4? Always wondered why the Big 3 three have avoided the concept (edit: on further thought, the Switch is sorta a portable Wii U now but the licenses didn't exactly transfer) and that the concept as a whole hasn't been touched since the 90s.

It would be kinda awesome to be like "Oh you know the PS4? Yeah that's fully portable now and all of your digitally bought games work on that day 1"
 
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Jethalal

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How hard would it be to create a portable PS4? Always wondered why the Big 3 three have avoided the concept and that the concept as a whole hasn't been touched since the 90s.

It would be kinda awesome to be like "Oh you know the PS4? Yeah that's fully portable now and all of your digitally bought games work on that day 1"
Playstation and XBOX don't really appeal to casuals as much as Nintendo so they can't get away with making an underpowered system which they will have to if they want to have a reasonable price point. Power consumption is another issue too. It would end up being more like a laptop than switch if they want to pack that much stuff into it.
 

Woopah

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Stupid? Even Nintendo give up and released a Trojan horse to "trick" the home console market :/ I don't know if some of you live just in their bubble or simply not want to accept that reality
What would you say is the cause of Japan moving away from the console market?
 

Woopah

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Do you think Nintendo Switch would have sold well if it was a traditional home console?
As well as it has done? No I don't think so, but Ialso don't think that it would have sold as well if it was just a portable.

I do think a traditional home console Switch with the exact same lineup (and one that wasn't as badly marketed as the Wii U) would have done fairly well and sold better than the PS4 or PS3 in Japan. Nintendo's relative strength in software is much higher in Japan than it is in the West.
 

JLB

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As well as it has done? No I don't think so, but Ialso don't think that it would have sold as well if it was just a portable.

I do think a traditional home console Switch with the exact same lineup (and one that wasn't as badly marketed as the Wii U) would have done fairly well and sold better than the PS4 or PS3 in Japan. Nintendo's relative strength in software is much higher in Japan than it is in the West.

nah, switch being only portable would have sold as good as its selling now.
 

assurdum

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As well as it has done? No I don't think so, but Ialso don't think that it would have sold as well if it was just a portable.

I do think a traditional home console Switch with the exact same lineup (and one that wasn't as badly marketed as the Wii U) would have done fairly well and sold better than the PS4 or PS3 in Japan. Nintendo's relative strength in software is much higher in Japan than it is in the West.
Did you missed the WiiU? Would be a disaster another home console for Nintendo. Even if they handle a better overall sales (but I doubt and in a minimal way) no way in the hell a traditional home console would sell decently in Japan by anyone.
 
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Woopah

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nah, switch being only portable would have sold as good as its selling now.
Then why is the Switch you can play on a TV selling much much better than the cheaper, portable only one?
It's not that point. Did you missed the WiiU? Would be a disaster another home console for Nintendo. Well maybe could handle a better overall sales (but I doubt and in a minimal way) but no way in the hell a traditional home console would sell decently in Japan
Launch aligned the Wii U sold fairly similarly if not better than the PS4 in Japan (at the start). It was only when the PS4 line up began increasing that it started to beat the Wii U. A Nintendo platform with the publisher's combined output, even one that is home console only, would do very well in Japan.
 

JLB

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Then why is the Switch you can play on a TV selling much much better than the cheaper, portable only one?

Launch aligned the Wii U sold fairly similarly if not better than the PS4 in Japan (at the start). It was only when the PS4 line up began increasing that it started to beat the Wii U. A Nintendo platform with the publisher's combined output, even one that is home console only, would do very well in Japan.

One thing does not invalidate the other. Most people will bite if given the chance for a few bucks to have that extra feature. But Having it ot not wont make a sell -or not- IMO.
 

Woopah

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One thing does not invalidate the other. Most people will bite if given the chance for a few bucks to have that extra feature. But Having it ot not wont make a sell -or not- IMO.
It's not just a few bucks more, it's 10,000 yen more (a 50 per cent higher price). The fact that the vast majority of Switch buyers are willing to pay so much more to play games on a TV shows that they value that feature.

To look at things from another angle, one of the biggest games in Japan this year (Ring Fit) can not be played portably. A portable only Switch would not have had this key peice of software.
 
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JLB

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It's not just a few bucks more, it's 10,000 yen more (a 50 per cent higher price). The fact that the vast majority of Switch buyers are willing to pay so much more to play games on a TV shows that they value that feature.

To look at things from another angle, one of the biggest games in Japan this year (Ring Fit) can not be played portably. A portable only Switch would not have had this key peice of software.

Ok, fair enough. Of course anything we can suggest is counterfactual, so we dont know for sure, but your argument is logical.
 
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Woopah

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Ok, fair enough. Of course anything we can suggest is counterfactual, so we dont know for sure, but your argument is logical.
Yes we're all dealing in hypotheticals here but it's fun to speculate :)

In the end Nintendo went for a hybrid approach and I think that was the right approach.
 

yurinka

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It isn't PlayStation, it's the Japanese console market the one that is dying because players are migrating to mobile and F2P. There are games in the weekly top 10 sales with less than 10K units sold. The western gaming markets instead continued growing these years.

This made several Japanese publishers and devs (not only Sony) to stop making games focused on the Japanese market only and move their focus into games with a global appeal. As an example, Kadowaka (who owns From Software, Spike Chunsoft, ASCII Media Works, Enterbrain, Chara-Ani, Kadokawa Shoten, Kadokawa Games, Media Factory...) recently gave 2% of its company to both Sony and CyGames (the GranBlue and Project Awakening guys) in order to help them to shift the focus of their games from a local market to a global market in a 3 ways deal.

What would you say is the cause of Japan moving away from the console market?
Japan always prefered handhelds over home consoles, and they are shifting from console/handhelds to mobile and from paid games to F2P, both in number of players and in revenue generated.

Like in the west, in Japan the mobile market generates more money (and has more players) than the console market, and the F2P makes more money (and has more players) than paid games. But in the west the console market always continued to grow (even if slower than mobile), but in Japan instead these recent years it has been declining.

Compared to European or North American countries, on average Japanese have very little free time, spend longer periods of time commuting, they use way more public transport vs private vehicles, and live in smaller houses, have higher end phones and are more used to gatcha mecanics outside gaming so don't see them as intrusive as we do. This is why they always prefered portables vs home consoles, and why they prefer phones over home consoles. Regarding prefering phones over handhelds, I assume that they already have a phone so they may see more appealing to have a device instead of two and free games over paid games.
 
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Woopah

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It isn't PlayStation, it's the Japanese console market the one that is dying because players are migrating to mobile and F2P. There are games in the weekly top 10 sales with less than 10K units sold. The western gaming markets instead continued growing these years.

This made several Japanese publishers and devs (not only Sony) to stop making games focused on the Japanese market only and move their focus into games with a global appeal. As an example, Kadowaka (who owns From Software, Spike Chunsoft, ASCII Media Works, Enterbrain, Chara-Ani, Kadokawa Shoten, Kadokawa Games, Media Factory...) recently gave 2% of its company to both Sony and CyGames (the GranBlue and Project Awakening guys) in order to help them to shift the focus of their games from a local market to a global market in a 3 ways deal.
Weekly software sales are pretty strong in Japan right now and every market except the US will have games selling less than 10k in its weekly top 10. The Japanese market is also growing and is likely to do so again this year.

Yes Japan has a strong mobile and F2P market, just like every other country. But also like in every other country, that hasn't prevented the market for dedicated video game devices being strong as well. They can co-exist.
 

yurinka

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Weekly software sales are pretty strong in Japan right now and every market except the US will have games selling less than 10k in its weekly top 10. The Japanese market is also growing and is likely to do so again this year.

Yes Japan has a strong mobile and F2P market, just like every other country. But also like in every other country, that hasn't prevented the market for dedicated video game devices being strong as well. They can co-exist.
Lies.

Weekly software sales aren't pretty strong, they are dying outside the few top sellers.

If this week we saw in the top 10 a game selling 7521 units and the top 30 game sold 1370 units, imagine the thousands of games who aren't even in the top 100:

The yearly revenue of the console Japanese market (the whole, not the weekly top 10 or 30 game) declined year after year, while in Europe or North America has been growing. Worldwide, the console market grows thanks to the western markets, and the Asian portion of the consoles market is shrinking, because the Japanese market -by far the biggest Asian console market- is dying because it's moving to mobile and F2P.






Mobile grows everywhere, but faster in Asia thanks to countries like China or Japan where it grows way faster than in the west.

In the west mobile coexist with consoles, in Japan mobile is replacing consoles. And if instead of revenue you look at number of users, it's the same story.

P.D.: Many of these graphs and info are relatively old, but they are illustrative of the trend (in 2017 there was a rare peak because it was the PS4 peak years + Switch launch, but then continues decreasing). There are more updated ones behind paywalls, I just posted a few ones found with a quick search.
 
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Woopah

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It isn't PlayStation, it's the Japanese console market the one that is dying because players are migrating to mobile and F2P. There are games in the weekly top 10 sales with less than 10K units sold. The western gaming markets instead continued growing these years.

This made several Japanese publishers and devs (not only Sony) to stop making games focused on the Japanese market only and move their focus into games with a global appeal. As an example, Kadowaka (who owns From Software, Spike Chunsoft, ASCII Media Works, Enterbrain, Chara-Ani, Kadokawa Shoten, Kadokawa Games, Media Factory...) recently gave 2% of its company to both Sony and CyGames (the GranBlue and Project Awakening guys) in order to help them to shift the focus of their games from a local market to a global market in a 3 ways deal.


Japan always prefered handhelds over home consoles, and they are shifting from console/handhelds to mobile and from paid games to F2P, both in number of players and in revenue generated.

Like in the west, in Japan the mobile market generates more money (and has more players) than the console market, and the F2P makes more money (and has more players) than paid games. But in the west the console market always continued to grow (even if slower than mobile), but in Japan instead these recent years it has been declining.

Compared to European or North American countries, on average Japanese have very little free time, spend longer periods of time commuting, they use way more public transport vs private vehicles, and live in smaller houses, have higher end phones and are more used to gatcha mecanics outside gaming so don't see them as intrusive as we do. This is why they always prefered portables vs home consoles, and why they prefer phones over home consoles. Regarding prefering phones over handhelds, I assume that they already have a phone so they may see more appealing to have a device instead of two and free games over paid games.
Japan only starting preferring handhelds to consoles after a lot of the software started shifting there during the late 00s, following the struggles of Japanese developers to transition to HD. Before that we saw the PS2 outselling the GBA sometimes and the Wii was doing better than the PSP until Monster Hunter came along.

If people were moving away from dedicated video game devices to mobile, we wouldn't be seeing the Switch continuing to grow and we wouldn't see franchises breaking records.
Lies.

Weekly software sales aren't pretty strong, they are dying outside the few top sellers.

If this week we saw in the top 10 a game selling 7521 units and the top 30 game sold 1370 units, imagine the thousands of games who aren't even in the top 100:

The yearly revenue of the console Japanese market (the whole, not the weekly top 10 or 30 game) declined year after year, while in Europe or North America has been growing. Worldwide, the console market grows thanks to the western markets, and the Asian portion of the consoles market is shrinking, because the Japanese market -by far the biggest Asian console market- is dying because it's moving to mobile and F2P.

Mobile grows everywhere, but faster in Asia thanks to countries like China or Japan where it grows way faster than in the west.

In the west mobile coexist with consoles, in Japan mobile is replacing consoles. And if instead of revenue you look at number of users, it's the same story.

This simply isn't true.

Last year the Japanese market rose 12.5% YoY in revenue, 16.4% for hardware and 8.9% for software (we don't have any data for digital unfortunately). It is likely that this year will see further growth too. Switch is going to be the 1st or 2nd best selling hardware in Japan's history (with the vast majority of this being the hybrid model) and Animal Crossing: New Horizon's is already Japan's best selling software in history. Even if we don't count Animal Crossing, we're seeing very strong software sales for other titles too. Mobile is absolutely not replacing the dedicated video game device market and I don't know where this misinformation comes from.

Yes this week we saw a game selling 7,521 units in the top 10, just like we would in pretty much every other country except the US. How high do you think weekly retail sales of video games are elsewhere?

Edit: Ah sorry your graphs weren't loading for me before. Yes when we went from DS/PSP/Wii to 3DS/PSV/Wii U the market did decline since all three of those platforms did worse than their predecessors ( especially the PS Vita and Wii U). The Switch however is doing better than it's predecessor and so that is leading to growth again. So Japan was in decline after Nintendo/Sony massively fucked up one platform each, but thankfully those days are behind us.

Also to add to our software discussion, I went back to double check some weekly unit numbers for other countries, and the only places I could find them for were Spain and the UK. Spain is far too small to even bother comparing with, but to give some insight on the UK market (the 2nd or 3rd biggest gaming market depending on how you calculate it):

  • In Week 28 2019 the best selling game was Mario Maker 2 with around 12,000 units and less than 2,500 units were required to get into the top 10
  • In Week 13 2018, we know Sea of Thieves had a 52% drop in its 2nd week so it was third place with only 11,000 units
I did however manage to find yearly unit sales for France in 2017:





As you can see, not a single SKU crossed 1 million units at retail in France. In comparison, Japan had 7 SKUs that did so.
 
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Jubenhimer

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While the claim might be exaggerated given the PS5's stock issues, there is some truth there. The PS5 will probably do okay in Japan once stock gets sorted out, but nowhere near as successful as the first 2 PlayStations were. Not only has the brand become more western focused (SIE is even based in California now, instead of Tokyo), but Japan is generally more interested in mobile play instead of console gaming. It's why the Switch is so successful there.
 

yurinka

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Japan only starting preferring handhelds to consoles after a lot of the software started shifting there during the late 00s, following the struggles of Japanese developers to transition to HD. Before that we saw the PS2 outselling the GBA sometimes and the Wii was doing better than the PSP until Monster Hunter came along.
As can be seen above, what happened is during the 00s is that mobile appeared and started to be big at the end of the decade. As can be seen there, Japanese market continued to grow but basically mobile started to replace consoles. On a worldwide scale (thanks to the west) is different, because console revenue continued growing (if we count digital, because spent went from retail games to digital games).

PS2 and Wii were rare exceptions, I'm talking about the whole market.

If people were moving away from dedicated video game devices to mobile, we wouldn't be seeing the Switch continuing to grow and we wouldn't see franchises breaking records.
I'm talking about the whole market, not about a single console or publisher.

This simply isn't true.
It is true, or at least what the gaming companies and leading market analyst firms like Newzoo, Nielsen etc. say.

Last year the Japanese market rose 12.5% YoY in revenue, 16.4% for hardware and 8.9% for software (we don't have any data for digital unfortunately).
The complete console market data includes digital, same goes with the mobile gaming revenue. It's available both for worldwide and for Japan, but behind a paywall.

2020 is a unusual year because Switch was on the peak year of its lifetime, covid caused a peak on videogames sales and specially on digital (mainly mobile), there were the releases of the other consoles (great launch worldwide but Sony shipped a few units to Japan because it's becoming a smaller market for them and launched at the same time in more countries, then supply constrained since launch) and the older ones logically are dying at this point of their lifetime.

It is likely that this year will see further growth too. Switch is going to be the 1st or 2nd best selling hardware in Japan's history (with the vast majority of this being the hybrid model) and Animal Crossing: New Horizon's is already Japan's best selling software in history. Even if we don't count Animal Crossing, we're seeing very strong software sales for other titles too. Mobile is absolutely not replacing the dedicated video game device market and I don't know where this misinformation comes from.

Yes this week we saw a game selling 7,521 units in the top 10, just like we would in pretty much every other country except the US. How high do you think weekly retail sales of video games are elsewhere?
Again, I talk about the whole market, including all games and all consoles & portables instead of looking at the exception of the single best selling one or a few best selling games.

Regarding countries, USA, Germany, UK, France, Canada and Spain are becoming stronger in consoles, I don't remember the position of Japan there for consoles. I remember that for PlayStation (not Nintendo or the global console market) the biggest market is Europe followed by USA and Japan is the 3rd.

If we also include mobile and F2P PC then China, Japan and South Korea join the party as top countries in revenue. In my case I live in Spain, 4th European market and 9th worldwide market, and generates only around 2% of the worldwidegaming market (China and USA get the lion share). Nothing really big (specially in mobile where Japan is super bigger than Spain).

But here you have a random example of weekly retail console game sales in Spain, outside the handful top sellers in Japan isn't that different while years ago it was way smaller than Japan: https://vandal.elespanol.com/notici...ra-semana-del-ano-en-espana-fueron-de-switch/
 
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It isn't PlayStation, it's the Japanese console market the one that is dying because players are migrating to mobile and F2P. There are games in the weekly top 10 sales with less than 10K units sold. The western gaming markets instead continued growing these years.

This made several Japanese publishers and devs (not only Sony) to stop making games focused on the Japanese market only and move their focus into games with a global appeal. As an example, Kadowaka (who owns From Software, Spike Chunsoft, ASCII Media Works, Enterbrain, Chara-Ani, Kadokawa Shoten, Kadokawa Games, Media Factory...) recently gave 2% of its company to both Sony and CyGames (the GranBlue and Project Awakening guys) in order to help them to shift the focus of their games from a local market to a global market in a 3 ways deal.


Japan always prefered handhelds over home consoles, and they are shifting from console/handhelds to mobile and from paid games to F2P, both in number of players and in revenue generated.

Like in the west, in Japan the mobile market generates more money (and has more players) than the console market, and the F2P makes more money (and has more players) than paid games. But in the west the console market always continued to grow (even if slower than mobile), but in Japan instead these recent years it has been declining.

Compared to European or North American countries, on average Japanese have very little free time, spend longer periods of time commuting, they use way more public transport vs private vehicles, and live in smaller houses, have higher end phones and are more used to gatcha mecanics outside gaming so don't see them as intrusive as we do. This is why they always prefered portables vs home consoles, and why they prefer phones over home consoles. Regarding prefering phones over handhelds, I assume that they already have a phone so they may see more appealing to have a device instead of two and free games over paid games.
😂
UK gaming market all platform combined in January = ~150K

Japan gaming market in January on the other hand = ~1M
 

Woopah

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Apologies for the late reply, here are my thoughts:

As can be seen above, what happened is during the 00s is that mobile appeared and started to be big at the end of the decade. As can be seen there, Japanese market continued to grow but basically mobile started to replace consoles. On a worldwide scale (thanks to the west) is different, because console revenue continued growing (if we count digital, because spent went from retail games to digital games). PS2 and Wii were rare exceptions, I'm talking about the whole market.

Given that we don't have any complete digital data from Japan, isn't it also likely that some of the decline in Japan was the move to digital and not the move to mobile? Yes when we went from DS/PSP/PS3/Wii to 3DS/Vita/PS4/Wii U, there was a decline as that's reflected on your Famitsu graph. Since we went from 3DS/PS4 to Switch/PS4 we have seen growth. So mobile probably was replacing dedicated devices 2007 - 2016, but the launch of Switch has reversed that decline.

In 2016 the dedicated video game market as a whole was worth 299.480 million Yen. In 2020 it was worth 367.38 billion (it was worth 326.45 billion Yen in 2019 so this growth can't just be put down to the pandemic). This is all retail game sales and all consoles & portable sales

It is true, or at least what the gaming companies and leading market analyst firms like Newzoo, Nielsen etc. say.

NewZoo and Nielsen are saying retail software sales in Japan are dying? Because again retail software sales increased last year, even with the move towards digital (which is definitely less in Japan than it is in the West so far). As you said yourself that's because of the growth of the Switch (I disagree that last year was the software peak for Switch though, I think it will be this year or 2022). I do wish we has free access to reliable digital software data as that's getting more important.

Regarding countries, USA, Germany, UK, France, Canada and Spain are becoming stronger in consoles, I don't remember the position of Japan there for consoles. I remember that for PlayStation (not Nintendo or the global console market) the biggest market is Europe followed by USA and Japan is the 3rd.

For PlayStation 4, Japan is the 2nd largest country (obviously its not as big as all the different European markets combined)

But here you have a random example of weekly retail console game sales in Spain, outside the handful top sellers in Japan isn't that different while years ago it was way smaller than Japan: https://vandal.elespanol.com/notici...ra-semana-del-ano-en-espana-fueron-de-switch/
Given that Three Kings' Day is 6 January, wouldn't this be one of biggest weeks of the year for Spain? And even so Spain continues to be way smaller than Japan.

If we look at the latest week for both countries:
  • Spain: Mario 3D World tops the chart with 14,000. TLOU2 is 2nd with 3,000 and Fallout 76 is third with 2,800 following a big price drop
  • Japan: Mario 3D World tops the chart with 97,000. Momotaro is 2nd with 41,000 and Ring Fit is third with 23,000
Of course I'd love to compare total sales, but the data we have doesn't show that Japan software sales are falling behind other countries, it shows that Japan is still way ahead. In Japan Mario alone sold more than twice as much as Spain's top 10 combined

TLDR:

Japan still has strong hardware and software sales for dedicated video games devices, even with the growth in mobile. The future also looks bright, given that the PS5 is now out and third party support for Switch is increasing.

Depending on the release of certain software and the Switch revision, I'd expect growth for software in hardware in 2021 and then further growth for software in 2022. The market will then shrink in 2023 and 2024 as the rise of the PS5 is offset by the decline of the Switch and the move from retail to digital for software.
 
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AmuroChan

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Most of PlayStation's current flagship franchises simply aren't that attractive to Japanese gamers. Even their Japanese-centric IPs have sold poorly there last gen (ie. The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush, Everybody's Golf, etc). Sony's strategy in Japan is clearly mobile and that's why they're downsizing PlayStation's presence there. When it comes to mobile, there's no R&D costs there. Development budgets are also way cheaper when compared to AAA console gaming. A game like Fate Grand/Order has made over $4 Billion USD for Sony in the past few years. That's probably more money than every Vita game combined have made. Sony is further reinforcing that strategy with the recent moves they've made in the anime space. Anime IPs + gatcha games are a perfect fit combination in Japan. That's going to net them way more revenue than whatever dedicated hardware strategy they can come up with for Japan.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Most of PlayStation's current flagship franchises simply aren't that attractive to Japanese gamers
It's just that they would rather play games instead of glorified cinematic 4k walking sims.
No wonder Nintendo sells, they are true to what the japanese like.
 
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Burythelight

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It's just that they would rather play games instead of glorified cinematic 4k walking sims.
No wonder Nintendo sells, they are true to what the japanese like.
Japanese like shit as momotaro, visual novel, and hatsume miku. They just have particular tastes and they are less predictable than in other markets.
 

zedinen

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It isn't PlayStation, it's the Japanese console market the one that is dying because players are migrating to mobile and F2P.
Gamer Drift Phenomena
Straight from the horse's mouth.


Most of PlayStation's current flagship franchises simply aren't that attractive to Japanese gamers.
FFVII sold 3.7 m in JP, RE2 2.2 m, GT2 2.2 m, Tekken 3 1.2 m, Saga Frontier 1.2 m, Parasite Eve 1m ...

Japanese consumers are no longer interested in playing shopisticated and complex games, devs are two generations behind their western counterparts. Everyone migrated to the mobile market.

Nintendo had to adapt to being niche player and PS is a global brand with better things to do.




Sony's strategy in Japan is clearly mobile and that's why they're downsizing PlayStation's presence there. When it comes to mobile, there's no R&D costs there. Development budgets are also way cheaper when compared to AAA console gaming. A game like Fate Grand/Order has made over $4 Billion USD for Sony in the past few years. That's probably more money than every Vita game combined have made. Sony is further reinforcing that strategy with the recent moves they've made in the anime space. Anime IPs + gatcha games are a perfect fit combination in Japan. That's going to net them way more revenue than whatever dedicated hardware strategy they can come up with for Japan.
Aniplex is more important to Sony than Playstation.
 

yurinka

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Given that we don't have any complete digital data from Japan, isn't it also likely that some of the decline in Japan was the move to digital and not the move to mobile? Yes when we went from DS/PSP/PS3/Wii to 3DS/Vita/PS4/Wii U, there was a decline as that's reflected on your Famitsu graph. Since we went from 3DS/PS4 to Switch/PS4 we have seen growth. So mobile probably was replacing dedicated devices 2007 - 2016, but the launch of Switch has reversed that decline.

In 2016 the dedicated video game market as a whole was worth 299.480 million Yen. In 2020 it was worth 367.38 billion (it was worth 326.45 billion Yen in 2019 so this growth can't just be put down to the pandemic). This is all retail game sales and all consoles & portable sales
The total Japanese games console market in 2016 was 315B instead of 299B, I always assumed that includes digital. Maybe the difference between both numbers is the digital sales market: https://i.ibb.co/HpBgWgF/image.png

It's clear that the long term decrease of the Japanese console market it's because it has being replaced by mobile:

2020 has been a very rare and special year worldwide, and not only in videogames (also in mostly all digital/home entertainment markets) because covid skyrocketed revenue. In videogames -particularly in consoles- there has been a perfect storm because covid this happened with Switch at its sales peak year and the release of AC while in PS and Xbox also had several console releases like FFVIIR, TLOU2, GoT etc that sold 5M+ before the end of the year.

NewZoo and Nielsen are saying retail software sales in Japan are dying? Because again retail software sales increased last year, even with the move towards digital (which is definitely less in Japan than it is in the West so far). As you said yourself that's because of the growth of the Switch (I disagree that last year was the software peak for Switch though, I think it will be this year or 2022). I do wish we has free access to reliable digital software data as that's getting more important.
They mention that the console videogame market revenue (consoles+accesories+games in retail+digital revenue etc) has been declining since 2007 with some exceptions (like 2017 being PS4 peak year+Switch launch or 2020 being covid+Switch peak year+PS5 launch).

Switch got the monopoly of the handheld market, which was a preference of the Japanese market, which is also benefiting it. Outside covid, looking at the yearly worldwide sales (per FY) excluding the extra start PS4 had Switch was repeating the yearly sales curve of PS4. That meant that in the current FY Switch was expected to sell 19M as Nintendo originally predicted (exactly what PS4 sold that FY if launch aligning FYs), leaving the previous FY as Switch's peak year. But covid+AC happened (+ maybe some extra sales due to its competition being supply constrained) and Switch will outsell this year the previous one by far.

So it's fair to expect that the current FY which ends this March will be Switch's peak year and from here will decrease its sales until being discontinued around its 8th FY as happened with the previous Nintendo handhelds and Wii. This would be if vaccines and other stuff keep the pandemic in very low levels and we more or less go back to normal (early vaccination results lead to think it will be the case) if we don't have heavy lockdowns as happened last year.

Given that Three Kings' Day is 6 January, wouldn't this be one of biggest weeks of the year for Spain? And even so Spain continues to be way smaller than Japan.

If we look at the latest week for both countries:
  • Spain: Mario 3D World tops the chart with 14,000. TLOU2 is 2nd with 3,000 and Fallout 76 is third with 2,800 following a big price drop
  • Japan: Mario 3D World tops the chart with 97,000. Momotaro is 2nd with 41,000 and Ring Fit is third with 23,000
Of course I'd love to compare total sales, but the data we have doesn't show that Japan software sales are falling behind other countries, it shows that Japan is still way ahead. In Japan Mario alone sold more than twice as much as Spain's top 10 combined
I'd say the biggest sales in Spain should be made in the first half of December because some families give the presents on Christmas days and other ones in the Three Kings Day, and kids have vacations from a couple of days before Christmas until the day after Three Kings Day so maybe people buy the presents before.

This has been a rare year with retail shops shut down and people having to buy the games (or the new consoles) digitally. So maybe many Spanish Christmas sales this year traditionally made on retail stores this time were made via Amazon or other online stores not covered by retail sales rankings (just a theory, I have no idea but Amazon reported an insane peak and here in Spain and delivery companies like DHL and so on got saturated and shipments experienced delays).

Japan still has strong hardware and software sales for dedicated video games devices, even with the growth in mobile. The future also looks bright, given that the PS5 is now out and third party support for Switch is increasing.

Depending on the release of certain software and the Switch revision, I'd expect growth for software in hardware in 2021 and then further growth for software in 2022. The market will then shrink in 2023 and 2024 as the rise of the PS5 is offset by the decline of the Switch and the move from retail to digital for software.
I think the Japanese market will continue the trend it had for the last many years: as the entire gaming market will continue to grow, but mobile revenue will continue increasing its % of the gaming market at the expense of console revenue which will continue decreasing (outside rare years that combine a console sales peak with other one releasing, and this 2020 with the big plus of covid).

On top of that, as we have been seeing in the recent few years we'll see more Japanese publishers and devs will stop making Japanese market focused (or exclusive) games and will their focus instead to games with a more global appeal, and at the same time, regarding their console vs mobile focus, they will moving a bit more to mobile than before.
 

yurinka

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Gamer Drift Phenomena
Straight from the horse's mouth.
Nintendo can say whatever they want:

In the worldwide scale there wasn't a shrinking demand for games in the early 00s, the console market has been growing since way before then until now (but way slower than mobile).

Mobile didn't stop growing since the start of the 00s until now and during that period it absorved the casual browser game market since Big Fish, King, Wooga, Zynga and all that companies moved their F2P stuff to mobile.

In the mid 00s Nintendo was just butthurted because of the insane success of PS1 and PS2, who ate Nintendo's market share for breakfast. Nintendo saw that casual mobile and browser market growing so did (successfully) try to approach it with DS and Wii (and well, they also ripped off the Xavix console) that casual market to find some way to grow while not competing directly with PlayStation.

As we saw with the later half of PS3 generation, the entire PS4 generation and the start of PS5, the fail of the first half of PS3 generation was due to Sony's own mistakes as they were back to be super succesful once they fixed them and didn't repeat them.


Nintendo had to adapt to being niche player and PS is a global brand with better things to do.
Yes. Sony is a global company with EMEA as their biggest market and NA as the 2nd biggest one. They don't care if Japan shrinks because the worldwide global console market grows more, so it gets compensated.

Aniplex is more important to Sony than Playstation.
Yes, for Japan Aniplex is more important.

In any case, regarding PlayStation in Japan, we also have to consider Sony doesn't only has their own games like Japan Studio or Polyphony: in Japan they also have a ton of 3rd party Japanese exclusive games every generation, and not only the ones published by Sony: basically almost every 3rd party Japanese publisher had PS4 exclusive games. And well, they also have the western 1st and 3rd party games.

To reduce the internal development in the Japan Studio won't affect their strategy for Japan at all, because in any case they didn't have great sales.
 
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VAVA Mk2

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This is the same analyst that predicted the Wii U would be incredibly successful. 😂

Also, he predicted doom for the PS5 in Japan in his analysis documents for multiple quarters because... it's white. You can't make that up. 😂
So he is the Japanese version of Michael Pachter?
 

Woopah

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The total Japanese games console market in 2016 was 315B instead of 299B, I always assumed that includes digital. Maybe the difference between both numbers is the digital sales market: https://i.ibb.co/HpBgWgF/image.png

Yes 299B was based on the Famtisu report of only retail sales. As far as I'm aware, publishers don't share their digital data with any Japanese trackers (unlike say the US, where NPD gets digital data from most publishers). Does statisa say where it gets its data from and does it have anything from beyond 2017?

It's clear that the long term decrease of the Japanese console market it's because it has being replaced by mobile:
https://i0.wp.com/controllercrusade.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/graph1.png
Mobile definitely played a part but I don't think it tells the full story. From the decline from 3DS to DS yes mobile played a part. But Vita selling less than the PSP and Wii U doing much less than the Wii were declines seen worldwide and I don't think the primary reason was being replaced by mobile. But platforms had major hardware and software issues that prevented them from being replaced.

If we look worldwide, we can see that overall software sales were falling in value from 2011 to 2016, so this decline was not a Japan-specific thing. Did this happen because the worldwide dedicated video game device market was being replaced by mobile, or was it a variety of factors? Likewise to Japan, we saw a worldwide increase in software sales when Switch launched in 2017 and provided an extra healthy platform, in addition to the software growth of PS4 (and Xbox One in some territories).

So it's fair to expect that the current FY which ends this March will be Switch's peak year and from here will decrease its sales until being discontinued around its 8th FY as happened with the previous Nintendo handhelds and Wii. This would be if vaccines and other stuff keep the pandemic in very low levels and we more or less go back to normal (early vaccination results lead to think it will be the case) if we don't have heavy lockdowns as happened last year.
FY-wise worldwide yes I expect this to be the peak for Switch for hardware. For software I expect next fiscal year to be the peak (though a lot of that will depend on the line up).

I'd say the biggest sales in Spain should be made in the first half of December because some families give the presents on Christmas days and other ones in the Three Kings Day, and kids have vacations from a couple of days before Christmas until the day after Three Kings Day so maybe people buy the presents before.
This has been a rare year with retail shops shut down and people having to buy the games (or the new consoles) digitally. So maybe many Spanish Christmas sales this year traditionally made on retail stores this time were made via Amazon or other online stores not covered by retail sales rankings (just a theory, I have no idea but Amazon reported an insane peak and here in Spain and delivery companies like DHL and so on got saturated and shipments experienced delays).
Agreed, COVID has definitely accelerated the trend towards digital in Europe and North America. However, even if we look pre-pandemic to 2018-2019 we can see that Spain still had much lower software sales than Japan has.

Also, thanks for the detailed response. Appreciate the in-depth discussion


I think the Japanese market will continue the trend it had for the last many years: as the entire gaming market will continue to grow, but mobile revenue will continue increasing its % of the gaming market at the expense of console revenue which will continue decreasing (outside rare years that combine a console sales peak with other one releasing, and this 2020 with the big plus of covid).

On top of that, as we have been seeing in the recent few years we'll see more Japanese publishers and devs will stop making Japanese market focused (or exclusive) games and will their focus instead to games with a more global appeal, and at the same time, regarding their console vs mobile focus, they will moving a bit more to mobile than before.

I agree the market will grow and I agree that mobile will grow faster than dedicated game devices. I also agree that devs will continue to want to get worldwide success, but I also think devs will want to start regrowing their Japan sales by giving more support to the Switch (as we are seeing with Capcom, Konami and Koei Techmo. Square is the next publisher I see announcing more major titles for Switch).

I do think I've found a key area of disagreement that we could use to test our theories. Given that you think 2020 was a rare year, am I right in guessing you expect software sales in Japan to be down this year compared with 2020? From my side I expect software to see further growth in 2021 (and hardware too if the Switch Pro makes it this year).

Perhaps the result's this year could show which theory is correct?

And thank you for the thoughtful and detailed responses by the way. I enjoy this kind of sensible, in-depth discussion.
 

Bodomism

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Gamer Drift Phenomena
Straight from the horse's mouth.



FFVII sold 3.7 m in JP, RE2 2.2 m, GT2 2.2 m, Tekken 3 1.2 m, Saga Frontier 1.2 m, Parasite Eve 1m ...

Japanese consumers are no longer interested in playing shopisticated and complex games, devs are two generations behind their western counterparts. Everyone migrated to the mobile market.

Nintendo had to adapt to being niche player and PS is a global brand with better things to do.





Aniplex is more important to Sony than Playstation.
This is probably to most stupid take in this thread.

Nintendo has generated more profits with Nintendo Switch in 3.5 years than Sony with PS4 in 7 years lol. Japan is also flourishing and played a bigger role than before that helped Nintendo to overcome Playstation division profits so quickly.

Somehow Nintendo is currently a niche player when they are the most profitable video game company

 
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This is probably to most stupid take in this thread.

Nintendo has generated more profits with Nintendo Switch in 3.5 years than Sony with PS4 in 7 years lol. Japan is also flourishing and played a bigger role than before that helped Nintendo to overcome Playstation division profits so quickly.

Somehow Nintendo is currently a niche player when they are the most profitable video game company


Investing in $60 ports and not new games certainly does help with profitablility!
 
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