News Article

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

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

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]

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User Comments (16)

JSaario

#3

JSaario said:

Oh for god sake is today going to be nothing but pointless depressing sales numbers? Like there have been like 7 articles already of this kind of crap and everywhere else on all other news sites please can this crap stop!? Nintendo will never die out this only fuels the stupid "Nintendo's Doomed" Idiots.

rjejr

#8

rjejr said:

2013 may possibly be an off year though. Japan was waiting for the PS4 but it didn't come out until 2014, so some people may have just been waiting until Feb. I know PS4 isn't doing well now but if the PS4 had released in Nov in Japan - like the west - instead of Feb 2014 obviously 2013 looks better. And the X1 may have even sold a few dozen in 2013 had it released there.

I know "seasons" are a pet peeve of mine TW but sometimes they do matter.

Though there is a sea change, tablets and smartphones are here to stay, people may just have to get used to declining sales in "dedicated" hardware and software.

FarsanBaloo

#9

FarsanBaloo said:

The 16 million 3DS and 3 million PSV software sales generates half of all smartphones software sales? Could surprisingly not find how many smartphones there are in Japan, but I guess +200 millions.
That could not be considered as the smartphones dominate.
It seems the whole gaming market is quite bad.

Yurikun

#10

Yurikun said:

I've had a smart phone since they really came out back with the MotorolaQ but I cant ever say that i use them for games. I never got enjoyment out of simple arcade games. To me these are called timewasters and i never spend anything to download these. This angry bird/flappy bird/ my farm type games can just disappear and I'd never even knew they were gone.

Darknyht

#11

Darknyht said:

Most of us are gamers and prefer to game on a dedicated gaming device. However, there are vastly more people that don't identify as gamers but will play a game of poker, Sudoku, Candy Crush, The Kardashian Game, or some quick distraction on a smartphone when bored. It is no surprise that the market for that is bigger. What will be concerning is if all the developers that will make a gold rush to a platform that only a few will succeed on.

The more troubling news of is that the market for console games is shrinking. That means either people are moving away the hobby, are being satisfied with smartphone gaming, or just cannot invest as much in a hobby that can be expensive.

AyeHaley

#12

AyeHaley said:

I love playing simple games on my iPad mini but I would never want to trade buttons for touch controls. Or playing with a silly iPad control pad....I'd rather use my 3DS.

Windy

#13

Windy said:

Were doomed! I shudder at the thought of the Apple and Android way of gaming. Sure they are starting to get a little better. But bug ridden and half finished games seem to be a way of life in those markets. @AyeHaley Touch controls have come a long way for sure. But your right there is nothing better than good old fashion control pad like on 3ds

Peach64

#14

Peach64 said:

Japan is becoming irrelevant rather quickly, which is unfortunate as they make very different types of games over there. Look at the console sales. A lot of people celebrate Wii U being 'on top' every week, but 10,000 units a week is just nothing. 25,000 a week is a poor figure, and even the handhelds are struggling to scrape this every week. Those numbers just won't add up to the kind of user bases needed for the games we're used to seeing (and I don't mean AAA here, I just mean regular DS/3DS games).

unrandomsam

#16

unrandomsam said:

@Windy Horipad looks just fine for an ipad (And it comes out in less than a month). I can imagine using one for any length of time is more comfortable than a 3DS.

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