The Japan Preview: 2/19/2012 Edition (3DS tops 5m units)

by Jacob Mazel, posted on 19 February 2012 / 7,269 Views

Software sales have picked up a bit this week in Japan. Although none of the new games topped 100,000 units in their first week on the market, several new games did top 50,000 units which is a fairly strong result in the absence of one or two very strong sellers. Major 3DS games from late 2011 have also picked up a bit, suggesting a decent hardware lift for the platform this week in Japan as New Love Plus and Thearhythm Final Fantasy both performed adequately for Konami and Square-Enix.

1) Binary Domain (PS3) - 77,000

2) Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) - 64,000

3) New Love Plus (3DS) - 57,000

4) Mario Kart 7 (3DS) - 28,000

5) Super Mario 3DLand (3DS) - 22,000

6) Monster Hunter Portable 3G (3DS) - 21,000

7) Sengoku Musou 3Z Special (PSP) - 18,000

8) Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS) - 14,000

10) Tekken 3D: Prime Edition (3DS) - 12,000

10) Gravity Daze (Vita) - 12,000

12) Just Dance Wii (Wii) - 8,000

12) Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki (PSP) - 8,000

15) Kyoukugen Dasshutsu ADV: Zennin Shiboudesu (3DS) - 7,000

15) Ragnarok Odyssey (Vita) - 7,000

15) Monster Hunter Portable 3 (PSP) - 7,000

In addition to the games above, Inazuma Eleven Go (3DS), Armored Core 3 (PS3), Wii Sports Resort (Wii), Photokano (PSP), and Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure (3DS) should end up in the final top 20 data for the week.

With the new software releases for the week, 3DS software has roughly doubled over last week, which will likely lead to a small hardware push. Even without a hardware push, 3DS will top 5m units in Japan this week after launching late in February 2011. That means the system has topped 5m units in its first year. The only systems to ever top 5m units in a single year in Japan since 1990 are DS and PS1. GBA, PS2, Wii, GB, PSP and SNES all topped out at around 4m units per year before dropping. N64, PS3, Saturn and others all topped out at around 2m or less in a year. 

As a point of comparison, 3DS is only 2.85m units behind PS3, a system on the market for about five years and three months, after launching the week after PS3 had built a 6.35m base in Japan. It is thus entirely possible that 3DS will pass PS3 by the end of the year, which bodes very well for its future. Passing larger platforms, like Wii or PSP is still a bit uncertain, but again, those platforms never topped 5m units in a year, so it is fairly likely that 3DS will be at least as big as Wii in Japan (13m+) and it could be bigger than PSP too (19m+).

Vita, as a point of comparison, looks like it will be at 575,000 units in Japan through 10 weeks on the market. PSP launched in late 2004 (compared to Vita's late 2011 launch), but reached 600,000 units in six weeks. DS sold only 3.9m units in its first year on the market, compared to 5.0m for 3DS, even though DS was 750,000 units ahead of 3DS through ten weeks, so it will be interesting to see if Sony will consider a large price cut to get Vita back to at least PSP numbers. At the moment though, 3DS is tracking to have an 8-10m base in Japan by the end of 2012, while Vita might get to only 2m or so. In comparison, at the end of 2005, due to launching at the same time, DS was only at 5.6m in Japan to 2.7m for PSP.

Working on that data, and recognizing that Nintendo's share of software sales on DS was far greater than Sony's share on PSP, it made sense for publishers to support both platforms well, as the software markets looked to be close theoretically. However, once DS had solid Nintendo support and third party support in 2006-2007, it sold like nothing ever has in Japan - 15.6m in two years (150,000 per week on average for two years), while PSP was blunted to only 5m. If 3DS has a larger lead on Vita a year end 2012 than DS had on PSP at the end of 2005, say 9.2m to 2.2m rather than 5.6m DS systems to 2.7m PSPs, a similar thrashing could happen for a year or two, with 3DS topping Vita by 2:1 to 5:1 (in weeks both have been out, 3DS has topped Vita by a 3:1 margin). Publishers would presumably have an even harder time making Vita a major platform than they did with PSP though, as the Vita should launch slower than PSP in the West, as it has in Japan, even as development costs have gone up, making profitability much harder.

The other point to watch with 3DS is how it sets up the Wii to Wii U transition. Japan definitely became very Nintendo centric from about December 2005 to December 2008 when the DS, and then Wii had steady streams of innovative software. As the innovative software dried up, 2009-2010 moved to roughly parity between Nintendo and Sony for consoles and closer to it for portables, and then in 2011 PSP and PS3 topped DS and Wii for the first time ever (although 2011 was really a great year for Nintendo portables too, they sold 5.0m 3DS and DS systems in Japan vs. 2.5m PSP and Vitas for Sony). The portable market has definitely moved away from parity since the 3DS launched, despite the Vita as PSP + Vita in early 2012 are trending a bit below PSP by itself in early 2011, and PSP only sold 2.0m in 2011 - so it will be interesting to see if the console market corrects backs to parity or to Nintendo with the Wii U.

Contact VGChartz at jmazel@vgchartz.com


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24 Comments

Michael-5 (on 19 February 2012)

This year looks to be all 3DS in Japan. I expect major software announcement for the platform this year as it becomes the most logical choice for Japanese developers with PS3, PSP, Wii, and DS going off the market, and Vita having such a slow start.


NintendoPie (on 19 February 2012)

Nice TheaterRhythm Sales! I thought New Love Plus would of done a better but it's okay.


menx64 (on 20 February 2012)

Hmm... Actually I think love plus will be higher than that. something between 80-100k, quote me on that one!


Galaki (on 20 February 2012)

How do you go about quoting someone?


  • +2
Last_Dream (on 19 February 2012)

From the preview, it looks like SE under shipping Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Also sales doesn't look good for Tekken 3D.


Salnax (on 20 February 2012)

7 of the top 10 games for 3DS titles. And 5 of those are 3rd party... Could the 3DS dominate the 8th generation in Japan, even more so than the DS did the 7th?


Pokemonbrawlvg (on 20 February 2012)

Hell yeah. With sales like these it can go places.


  • +4
MANUELF (on 19 February 2012)

I expected more for New Love Plus but Theatrythm did better than expected


dark_gh0st_b0y (on 20 February 2012)

and Kingdom Hearts, Animal Crossing and much more are still to come, if Nintendo announces a main Pokemon game for 3DS next month, they'll kill competition for good


dark_gh0st_b0y (on 20 February 2012)

3DS rules Japan, with 3 games that stabilised above 20k for good nice launch for new 3DS games, i wouldn't worry for Tekken, it's a well known franchise, it will sell...


binary solo (on 20 February 2012)

Sony could never look to PS Vita to bring it back to profitability as a company. Question is, can they accept PSV adding to their losses for the sake of them remaining relevant in handheld gaming? Drop PSV to $200 for Wifi model within 3 months of WW release if sales are significantly behind expectations? Face something like a $70-$100 loss per unit sold (already selling at a loss right)? Sell 8-10 million units at a loss looking to add $600 million to $1 billion more red ink that Sony needs to recover some other way? It's the wrong economic climate to take big hits on the HW hoping to make it back on SW, esp when nearly every other division of your company is struggling / sinking. PSV may be doomed because Sony just can't afford to do what's needed for it to succeed, rather than it being a system that lacks potential. Shame really.


DemoniOtaku (on 20 March 2012)

I think that even with a price cut the sells wouldn´t significativelly near to 3DS... Rigth now 3DS sell because of the Software lineup.. So until the lineup for Vita is for japaneses tastes Sony should keep the price... When Nintendo Cut the price of the 3Ds, the handheld sold very well arround a month... and then dropped to some normal sells.. But then Peaked again when a great software lineup headed for the console near holiday dates...


  • 0
Panama (on 20 February 2012)

Isn't Binary Domain a TPS? Also I thought love plus was insanely popular.


ljlrj (on 20 February 2012)

mnster hunter mario kart and mario 3d land holding extremly well


DemoniOtaku (on 20 March 2012)

Love Plus launched one month ago.. So is selling good for a title that dissapeareed from the list some weeks ago... The same for PSVita's Gravity Daze and ragnarok odissey.. the mouth to mouth word have make them coma back... after more than ONE MONTH from their releases...


  • 0
happydolphin (on 20 February 2012)

And at long last, 3rd parties strive on Nintendo's platform and fill the japanese top 10 charts once again. Well, let's see in a few days if this is what actually happens.


menx64 (on 22 February 2012)

love plus above 100K... feels good man!


Paul (on 21 February 2012)

regie personaly sent me a swap note to say a major nintendo anoucement would drop tomorrow


happydolphin (on 22 February 2012)

Special man you are. Was your body ready?


  • 0
goldeneye0074eva2222 (on 20 February 2012)

wow . and i laugh in joy at all those nay sayers, wonder what vita pushes this week 14 k ? more then likely lol


Pokemonbrawlvg (on 20 February 2012)

To all the haters who said the 3DS will be failure, where are you?


xxxxmmmm (on 29 February 2012)

Removed - spambot.


xxxxmmmm (on 29 February 2012)


qqwwee (on 27 February 2012)


miqdadi (on 21 February 2012)

Land of handheld, 3DS dominates everything, Vita needs a strong push in Japan, it can still succeed if Sony plays it right, first price drop Is urgently needed after it's world wide release.


z101 (on 20 February 2012)

So the Vita is really dead in Japan and the only competition for the 3DS are iOS and android games?


goldeneye0074eva2222 (on 27 February 2012)

with the new pokemon i now expect ds sales to explode a bit


Declan (on 20 February 2012)

When's Kiki Trick out?


hiska-kun (on 20 February 2012)

Already out 3 weeks ago, and it dind't get in the top 50 chart...


  • 0
{-.-}OfTheAlphaGeek (on 20 February 2012)

Has it not already come out?


  • 0
Boutros (on 19 February 2012)

Seriously all this handheld talk is boring :/ WE WANT ONE PIECE PRE-ORDERS GODAMMIT!!


Boutros (on 19 February 2012)

I know you predicted 300k FW but we (the COMG crew) think it will do better than that!


  • -3
MANUELF (on 19 February 2012)

I expect a first week of over 400k


  • +2
Michael-5 (on 19 February 2012)

What's COMG? I get OMG, but C?


  • +2
Boutros (on 19 February 2012)

>.>


  • +1
  • -2
happydolphin (on 20 February 2012)

It means Come on my glasses.


  • +3
pezus (on 20 February 2012)

What the heck in up with all the random disagrees?


  • -3
happydolphin (on 21 February 2012)

I blame the internetz


  • +1