The Japanese Console Market Fell in 2013, With Revenues Behind the Mobile Gaming Sector

A 16% fall from 2012 to 2013

It's been a day of financial figures and reflections on Nintendo's latest results, yet a report emerging from Japan demonstrates that conventional gaming systems as a whole are under a heavy strain in the country. This should be no surprise to those that regularly follow the Media Create chart results, with sale numbers in general being relatively low; the Wii U holds the status of number one console in Japan at present, despite weekly sales that are consistently below 10,000 units.

The recently published 2014 CESA Games White Paper — via Dr. Serkan Toto — reinforces that perspective. It's an annual report from Japan’s Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association that shows a decline in video game console sales for 2013 in comparison to 2012, a headline fall of 16% in overall revenue. Below is an excerpt from the summary:

  • The market for console gaming (hardware and software combined) in Japan in 2013 reached US$4 billion (2012: US$4.8 billion)
  • Console hardware sales in 2013: US$1.5 billion (2012: US$1.9 billion)
  • Console software sales in 2013: US$2.5 billion (2012: US$2.9 billion)

The 3DS was unsurprisingly dominant in 2013 with 46.7% of overall sales — the source article refers to the 'DS', but for this period it will have been the current hardware. The key figure, though, is that Japan's mobile gaming market generated $5.1 billion, comfortably surpassing the total of $4 billion (hardware and software) for the console market. These trends aren't necessarily surprising and look set to continue, though show the challenge that Nintendo and Sony both face in the Japan and, of course, around the world. A minor positive is that, for the first half of the year at least, the console market in Japan looks to be close to matching 2013 levels.

Statistics like this naturally raise questions about the ongoing challenge of sustaining the conventional game console market against the growth of smart device gaming. Let us know what you think of these figures in the comments below.

[via serkantoto.com, gamesindustry.biz]