According to data supplied by Famitsu, the Japanese games market has hit its lowest point since 1989.
In 2015, games in Japan generated ¥321bn - a 13 percent decline on 2014's total of ¥368.55bn. Sales of games dropped 16 percent to ¥191bn, while games hardware was down to to ¥130bn - a 8.5 percent dip compared to the previous year. These figures indicate that the Japanese games sector is at its lowest point in 26 years, falling below 1989's ¥358bn.
It all sounds a bit depressing, but such data doesn't give the entire picture. Crucially, these figures do not include digital sales; boxed games remain incredibly popular in Japan, but smartphone gaming has exploded in recent years, and it's very likely that many consumers have simply taken their cash to that side of the market instead of spending it on physical games, thereby explaining the steep drop-off in these figures.
In terms of software, Capcom's Monster Hunter X (2,441,977) and Yo-Kai Watch Busters (1,965,202) led the pack. Two Wii U titles made the top ten - Splatoon (1,064,897) and Super Mario Maker (674,194).
Hardware-wise, the 3DS was king with 2,189,900 units sold, while the PS4 was second with 1,205,163.
Japanese Software Sales 2015
1. Monster Hunter X (Capcom) 3DS – 2,441,977
2. Yo-Kai Watch Busters: Akaneko-dan / Shiroinu-tai (Level 5) 3DS – 1,965,202
3. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (Nintendo) 3DS – 1,282,880
4. Splatoon (Nintendo) Wii U – 1,064,897
5. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (Square Enix) 3DS – 864,865
6. Super Mario Maker (Nintendo) Wii U – 674,194
7. Monster Strike (Mixi) 3DS – 636,709
8. Yokai Watch 2: Shinuchi (Level 5) – 3DS – 625,223
9. Rhythm Heaven: The Best+ (Nintendo) 3DS - 607,343
10. Fire Emblem Fates: White Kingdom/Black Kingdom (Birthright / Conquest) (Nintendo) 3DS – 538,669
Japanese Hardware Sales 2015
1. Nintendo 3DS (including 3DS, 3DS LL, New 3DS, New 3DS LL) 2,189,900
2. PS4 1,205,163
3. PS Vita (including Vita TV) 959,342
4. Wii U 820,304
5. PS3 188,207
6. Xbox One 18,093