Western Markets Vital For Nintendo Hardware Sales as Japan Gains Ground

More 3DS units sold in Japan than North America

With Nintendo no doubt plotting its route to profitability in the coming financial year, one area of consideration is likely to be boosting sales outside of Japan. Worldwide results are important, of course, but the Wii U and 3DS are showing patterns of dropping sales in the West as compared to Nintendo's homeland — this is particularly relevant for the 3DS, as Japan is its highest selling 'region', one country outselling The Americas and Europe / PAL on an individual basis.

Taken from the latest financial updates, below are figures from the last three generations of systems, showing the gradual shift in momentum as Japan becomes increasingly vital to Nintendo's business.


Game Boy Advance Hardware Sales

Japan — 16.96 million units (20.8%)
The Americas — 41.64 million units (51.1%)
Other (Europe / PAL) — 22.91 million units (28.1%)
Overall — 81.51 million units

DS Hardware Sales

Japan — 32.99 million units (21.4%)
The Americas — 59.93 million units (38.9%)
Other (Europe / PAL) — 61.07 million units (39.7%)
Overall — 153.99 million units

3DS Hardware Sales

Japan — 15.89 million units (36.7%)
The Americas — 14.58 million units (33.6%)
Other (Europe / PAL) — 12.85 million units (29.7%)
Overall — 43.33 million units


GameCube Hardware Sales

Japan — 4.04 million units (18.6%)
The Americas — 12.94 million units (59.5%)
Other (Europe / PAL) — 4.77 million units (21.9%)
Overall — 21.74 million units

Wii Hardware Sales

Japan — 12.75 million units (12.6%)
The Americas — 48.46 million units (48%)
Other (Europe / PAL) — 39.85 million units (39.4%)
Overall — 101.06 million units

Wii U Hardware Sales

Japan — 1.81 million units (29.3%)
The Americas — 2.81 million units (45.5%)
Other (Europe / PAL) — 1.56 million units (25.2%)
Overall — 6.17 million units


While North America was dominant in the Game Boy Advance era, the phenomenal success of the DS brought Europe slightly beyond North America, with Japanese sales third for both of those generations. With the 3DS, however, there's been a significant swing so far to establish Japan as the leading market, a sign that despite the handheld's success it's perhaps losing more traction to smart devices — for example — in the West. The home console market has consistently had The Americas as nearly half the share over the past three generations, though in the case of the Wii U Europe and 'other' regions have fallen back from Wii highs and behind Japan. It's still early days for the latest system, but the last time Nintendo's home console sales were higher in its homeland than in Europe / PAL regions was with the Famicom / NES and Super Famicom / Super NES.

Europe and PAL regions are a concern with both 3DS and Wii U, while the percentage of portable sales in The Americas has seen a drastic decline. If Nintendo is to boost its sales and return to expected levels, a greater impact in the West must surely be a priority.

[via nintendo.co.jp]