The Japan Preview: 1/22/12 Edition (SW Slows Further, 3DS Leads) - News/ 5,502 Views
Holiday seasonality is just about over now in Japan. Software dropped off quite a bit once again in lieu of that reality, and hardware should continue to decline until the next wave of big games or price cuts arrives. Nothing in the immediate future will reverse the continuing fall off from holiday highs though. Even so, 2012 is off to a much better start than 2011 in Japan.
1) Monster Hunter Portable 3G (3DS) - 34,000
2) Mario Kart 7 (3DS) - 32,000
3) Super Mario 3DLand (3DS) - 25,000
4) Rhythm Kaitou R: Koutei Napoleon no Isan (3DS) - 20,000
5) Inazuma Eleven Go Shine / Dark (3DS) - 16,000
6) Onechanbara Z: Kagura (X360...not a typo) - 13,000
9) Labyrinth no Kanata (3DS) - 12,000
9) Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Masou Kishin II - Revelation of Evil God (PSP) - 12,000
9) Heroes of Phantasia (PSP) - 12,000
10) Monster Hunter Portable 3 (PSP) - 10,000
11) Musou Orochi 2 (PS3) - 9,000
13) Go Vacation (Wii) - 7,000
13) Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3) - 7,000
15) Just Dance Wii (Wii) - 5,000
15) Danball Senki (PSP) - 5,000
In addition to the games above, Wii Party (Wii), Wii Sports Resort (Wii), Kirby's Return to Dreamland (Wii), Hot Shots Golf (Vita), and Nintendogs + Cats (3DS) are likely to chart in the final top 20 data for the week.
Software sales this week are notable for how poor console software is selling at a point in the year that is still a relatively strong selling season. This is the first time since the week to May 22, 2011 that Wii & PS3 lacked even one title top 10,000 units for the week in Japan. It certainly doesn't bode well for those markets over the course of 2012, as the lack of a 10,000+ level hit occured only once in all of 2011. The X360 did have a title top 10,000 units this week. Even with the X360 title though, no console games topped 15,000 units for the week in Japan, which is still very rare for the Japanese market. I haven't checked the data all the way back, but this might be only the second time since 2006 that both Wii and PS3 lacked a 10,000+ hit in the same week in Japan. Software releases are definitely slowing for the consoles though, so we're likely to see quite a few of these dead-console software weeks in 2012 even though there are still at least a handfull of major titles (100k+) opening for Wii and PS3 this year (Mario Party, Armored Core, Dragon Quest, Soccer & Baseball games for PS3, etc are all announced for 2012).
The other big trend to watch this week is where hardware stabilizes. Figures this week should more or less reflect the next two to three months in Japan for 3DS and Vita. The Vita figure is particularly important, because with PSP software slowing, Vita software still tiny, and PS3 software slowing, Sony's Japanese business model is in a bit of trouble. If there isn't some kind of big correction relatively soon, they'll face increasing pressure to release PS4 earlier than they desire. The fact that PS3 is doing well for software outside of Japan at the moment doesn't change the reality in Japan - particularly as the foreign offices of Sony get to keep much of their revenue and profit for their respective territories, while Japan has to earn much of its own. Nintendo is actually in the opposite position right now, on the upswing in Japan and declining still in the West, since 3DS figures are excellent in Japan now, while Wii and DS had declined a year earlier in Japan than elsewhere. Sony has actually sold quite a bit more hardware in Japan in 2012 than in 2011 through two weeks, but that is mainly due to PSP supply issues in early 2011 and the fact that the January 2, 2012 gift giving holiday was tracked in 2012, while January 2, 2011 was tracked for 2010. Vita will have to correct in a hurry for hardware and software to be better for Sony in 2012 than in 2011 in Japan, as it isn't out of the question that Vita + PSP hardware sales will come to 10-20% less than PSP hardware sales (alone) in early 2011 over the next few months.
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