In the week prior to Christmas week (we’ll refer to this as “Week 51”), videogame hardware sales in Japan were down significantly compared to the same period last year, according to Japanese sales tracker Media Create. Overall hardware sales this year were 71.48% of last year’s during the week of December 15th – 21st.
The biggest hit to hardware sales comes from the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo typically sells the most hardware in Japan, but with Wii U sales at only 35.11% compared to last year and the 3DS at 84.42%, overall Nintendo hardware has declined to 68.33% compared to Week 51 in 2013.
On the bright side, software sales are relatively healthy in the case of both platforms when compared to 2013. Wii U software sales were at 97.88% compared to 2013, while Nintendo 3DS software was at 114.12%. Unfortunately, all of this software is being purchased by people that already own both consoles, which is why hardware was down.
Of course, Nintendo platforms aren’t the only ones to blame for the hardware decline in Japan. Sony’s PlayStation 4 has seen slow sales for most of the year, while PlayStation Vita sales have declined slightly from 2013, despite attempts to spur growth through multiplayer games like Freedom Wars, Toukiden and Phantasy Star Nova. The problem is, each of these games caters to more or less the same demographic, so their impact on hardware sales decreases with each successive release.
It should be interesting to what steps, if any, the two companies will take to counteract the decline in hardware in 2015. The New Nintendo 3DS was supposed to offset the decline in 3DS sales in Japan, but even it hasn’t proven capable of this feat thus far (although it has certainly prevented them from falling even further).