Japan’s Golden Week Sales Dropped 30% Compared To Last Year

By Ishaan . May 12, 2014 . 5:31pm

The week of April 28th – May 4th included a portion of Japan’s Golden Week holiday. As a result, there was an increase in hardware sales during the week.


Hardware sales for the week were 112.29% of the week prior, owing to stronger sales of the Nintendo 3DS. Unfortunately, both hardware and software sales were down significantly compared to last year’s Golden Week period, according to Japanese sales tracker Media Create.


Total software sales dropped to 68.57% of 2013’s Golden Week period, largely due to the absence of major games like Tomodachi Collection: New Life (or Tomodachi Life, if you prefer its western title). Last year, Tomodachi Life sold nearly 210,000 copies during Golden Week, and was the highest-selling game for that week. This year, there was no such game to take its place.


Meanwhile, total hardware sales dropped to 68.21% of last year’s Golden Week period. While the PlayStation Vita is showing improved sales over last year, and Sony have introduced the PlayStation 4, the Nintendo 3DS line of consoles has seen sales taper off this year. 3DS sales during Golden Week were 51.82% of last year, and it appears that even the combination of the immensely successful Yo-kai Watch and the “monthly recommended software campaign” is only having a limited effect.


Nintendo recently addressed their Nintendo 3DS business in a financial results briefing conducted last week. While sales of the 3DS have slowed this past year, the system has sold over 43 million units worldwide—15.5 million of those having been sold in Japan.


Going forward, the focus will be on releasing a stream of 3DS games to help maintain profits from the 3DS business. Nintendo’s president pointed to games like Yo-kai Watch 2, Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Persona Q as examples of games that would drive software sales in Japan.

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  • TreizeX

    Mobile gaming is taking over rip

  • Tenabrus

    mobile gaming will never take over console and pc markets, the handheld scene though could potentially die out.

    • ronin4life

      In Japan, it is the opposite actually.

      Though I wouldn’t call the Console Market outside Japan wholly stable either.

    • Brion Valkerion

      Agreed, there will always be standbys as long as content is being made for them… which is in decline over there but thats here nor there. Bigger problem is lumping the people who dig their mobile experience in the same pile as someone who loves their at home gaming. Tons like both, but treating them the same is just silly imo.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      Modern mobile phones/smartphones are portable computers. So mobile gaming is essentially portable PC gaming as opposed to handheld gaming which is portable console gaming.

      In Japan, mobile phones/smartphones are essentially filling the void left by the gaming scene that was present on Japanese-made computers (such as PC-9801, FM Towns and Sharp X68000) but that wasn’t sufficiently replaced by the remaining computer scene and consoles. It makes sense, since the Japanese have a very mobile way of life, so a portable PC suits their needs better. It is for that same reason that handhelds have been displacing home consoles.

      • Haganeren

        I don’t know about the Japanese-made computers as the doujin scene seems to have replaced that market game-wise and they weren’t portable to begin with but i agree with the rest of the post.

        All things live and die i suppose… It’s much more serious that the crise durint the 80″, i actually don’t see how the medium can captivate the mass once again… Future niche market only ? I hope not…

  • Shippoyasha

    It sounds like there is a lull in big hits to me. Plus people are still not inclined to spend much on entertainment goods. That aspect just seems to be a consistent theme in Japan these days.

  • awang0718

    I have no doubt the 3DS will do fine in Japan, despite the drop from last year. The real issues are the Wii U and PS4 sales, which have underwhelmed quite significnatly. It looks like Japan may be a mobiel and handheld market only by the time the next generation hits.

    • If things keep going the way they are, the handheld market will be in danger, too. The reason the handheld market isn’t dead is largely thanks to a handful of publishers that can still make interesting handheld games. The vast majority of them are releasing stuff that’s a little too niche for most people to care.

      • darke

        The problem is lots of the non-niche gamers have migrated to non-niche games on the phone, so there’s less incentive to make non-niche games on the handhelds, and more incentive to make it on mobile.

        And honestly I think both Monster Hunter and Pokemon are ‘niche’ as well at the moment. Sure they sell to a large niche, but they’re mainly selling to people who bought the last Pokemon and last Monster Hunter, rather then deliberately trying to bring more non-Pokemon/MH gamers into the fold.

        Not a bad thing from a business perspective, I do wonder if they’ll inevitably hit the wall as well at some point like things like Guitar Hero in the west. (Or like the prophesied demise of manga when One Piece stops being published. :) )

      • awang0718

        Obviously, 3DS sales are down a lot from last year, but it is following the same sales trend as the DS. 3DS will sell well, though not as much as the DS, and Nintendo’s next handheld will reinvigorate the market in Japan, especially if they can adapt by releasing a competitviely priced ($170) device that is a handheld-console hybrid of some sort.
        The real issue here is the sales of the consoles and PS Vita. PS4,Wii U, and PS Vita look like they may sell half of their predecessors. (5 million, 6 million, and 10 million repectively) That is the primary cause of the decline in Japan gaming, not the 3DS.

      • It’s not only video game I’m worried about, music sales in Japan has also fallen too:


        Meanwhile South Korea’s (thanks to the popularity of K-pop worldwide) music market is now recently became #10:


        So yeah, if I was Japan I would start globalizing J-pop as soon as possible.

    • Kyosuke Yoshino

      Well it’s not really a surprise, even the PSP was a lot more successful in Japan already, than the PS3, and it does have significantly more japanese games.

  • chibidw

    I imagine there’s only so many times that any one person is going to buy a 3DS.

    What they’re going to have to do is find out the reasons that people who haven’t bought one yet still haven’t and address those.

    • CozyAndWarm

      This a thousand times

      • Andar

        Absolutely, but I would say that they are making decent efforts, with things like the 2DS. I think the biggest issue with handhelds, though, is awareness. What makes them different or better.

        I feel like Nintendo is struggling with awareness in general. The Wii U, rather than piggy-backing off of the Wii’s success, seems to be passing by unnoticed. The 3DS is something a surprising number of people simply don’t seem to know about. When I take my 3DS out in public, I’m sometimes asked what it is, and if it’s like the DS. Trying to explain how it is different to people who aren’t ‘into’ gaming can be difficult.

        • PreyMantis

          I just show them the features like the 3D and AR with the sort of the games afterwards.

  • Well you can’t honestly expect sales to stay constant all the time.

    It’s a bummer that the Golden Week sales were less than last year, but that’s what happens in life.
    Especially in the area of business.

    Things change man. :V

    • ronin4life

      I think The problem is things have been changing only for the worse and for awhile now.

      Things are gettin’ Kinda scary.

      • Well no one said that things would be easy sailing in this life.

        And I’ve noticed that in general, the best successes always come after great hardships and failure.
        So hope is what I have in this kind of situation.
        HOPE! ヽ(;▽;)ノ

  • subsamuel01

    The Japanese market has been on a decline for a while now so this is not surprising news, its sad though.

  • Mental

    I’d probably also credit the lower sales as a result of the recent tax hike in Japan as well.

    • darke

      You wouldn’t think a 3% increase would result in a 30% decrease in sales though. :? But yeah, it can’t help.

      • Well the PS4 sales in Japan suffered after the tax hikes so yeah a tax hike can make a huge differences. Don’t forget products in Japan are ridiculously overpriced I mean look at this:



        I mean 30 US dollars for a Large Pizza (when I can buy a large Pepperoni for 5 dollars at my local Caesar’s Pizza). Buying a ticket to the movie will cost you about 20 dollars in Japan and I’m not joking.

        • darke

          They look kinda normal to me, but I live in the 3rd largest city in Australia and from everything I’ve seen it’s cheaper for me to live in Tokyo. :(

          On movie tickets: http://www.smh.com.au/business/20-movie-tickets-the-price-of-australian-wages-says-village-roadshow-20140421-370ex.html

          If you want a real ‘gourmet’ pizza in Australia, like what pizza hut sells in Japan, you’ll be paying $30 as well, it’s probably only around $25 for pizza hut if you don’t have a discount coupon (I don’t know, I only buy pizza deliveries with discounts, just plain too expensive otherwise.)

          Most console games I’ve noticed it’s either cheaper or the same price to get the original Japanese game imported on release rather then buying it locally in stores when it’s localised.

          Given PS4/XB1 sales have been pretty strong in AU anyway, I don’t see what’s so special about Japan in this instance. :)

          • Well I lived in the US and I’m not familiar with Australian dollars. But from your comment, it looks like stuff in Australia is overpriced too. Maybe the US would be a better place for ya.

          • darke

            Yeah, Australia is overpriced, finally gave in and got a US PSN account just because the extra cost of moving my stuff over is going to be recouped within a year of US purchased.

            And nah, the US holds no interest for me; and I’d rather not go through perv-scanners or body-groping just to get into the country as well. :(

            Looking for IT jobs in Japan at the moment since it honestly seems like a nicer, less paranoid place. :) And it’s much more compatible with my thought processes.

          • darke

            Yeah, but I’ve got a Japanese girlfriend so while South Korea was an option at one point, Japan is somewhat higher priority now.

            Besides I know basic Japanese, but no Korean so it’s easier for me to get settled in Japan.

  • Ecchitori-san

    I blame the rise of mobile games.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Sale is still a sale far as the companies are concerned. And it seems a game is still a game for many JP folks.

  • nonscpo

    Yup taxes will do that to ya!

  • Dylan Anantha

    I’m not surprised. PS4 has nothing that would appeal to the Japanese players, and 3DS and Vita haven’t really had many 2014 high profile releases yet for Japan.

  • d19xx

    More like Golden Weak….

  • malek86

    “Hardware sales for the week were 112.29% of the week prior”

    Yeah, that sounds pretty terrible. Almost not a holiday week at all.

    And I wonder if a steady stream of software is the right solution? Of course, it’s necessary, but probably not all there is to it. The 3DS just had a weak sales year despite being also arguably its strongest year for releases, with Pokemon, MH4, P&DZ and others.

    At this point, people know software is there. Perhaps there are other issues to tackle now.

    • Matt

      “The 3DS just had a weak sales year”

      Err, what?

      • CozyAndWarm

        I think that he means it sold less in 2013 than 2012 (iirc) despite the release of cultural phenomenon level hits like Pokemon and MH. It’s worrying for the industry.

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