|VITA / NINTENDO 3DS||Japan|
By Ishaan . April 4, 2014 . 11:02am
Last week’s Japanese videogame sales saw a sudden increase across the board. Both hardware and software sales in Japan were up, and as far as we were aware, there was no special occasion or event—a holiday such as Golden Week, for example—that was responsible for the surge.
I sought the advice of Japanese sales tracker Media Create to ask if they could provide insight into just what had occurred last week. Sales of the Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita and even the Wii U had increased by a notable margin, as had sales of popular games like Yo-kai Watch. Surely, something had to have happened for sales to increase this way?
Media Create analyst Sho Sato informed me that it was actually a bunch of different things that had happened all at once.
For starters, in Japan, a consumption tax (VAT in other countries) was scheduled to increase from 5% to 8% starting April 1st. This had caused a sudden last-minute surge in demand for all sorts of goods before they went up in price, in the days leading up to the tax increase. More information on this tax can be found at Business Report.
Second, most Japanese schools—from elementary school to high school and university—have a Spring vacation that lasts from late March to early April. While the exact timing of this vacation differs from district to district, it too played a role in last week’s sales surge. Adding to its effect is the fact that a new school year begins in April, so demand for a handsel (for graduation, admissions and so on) increases during this period.
Finally, the 25th of each month usually serves as payday at most Japanese companies, and the days following payday see an increase in the sales of videogame hardware, particularly in the case of the PlayStation format. Meanwhile, holidays usually boost the sales of hardware, too—particularly Nintendo hardware. Since both kinds of events coincided last week, it resulted in both Nintendo and Sony consoles seeing increased sales.
Thanks to Media Create for their invaluable insight.