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Examining Toukiden’s Sales In Japan


Back in May, Koei Tecmo said they had shipped 550,000 copies of Toukiden worldwide as of March 31st, 2014, across both PSP and PlayStation Vita. Recently, Japanese sales tracker Media Create shared another tidbit of information regarding the game’s sales.


While discussing sales of Freedom Wars, Media Create revealed that the Vita version of Toukiden has sold 239,000 copies at retail as of July 6th, 2014 in Japan.


This caught my interest because as of July 28th, 2013, Toukiden on Vita had sold 208,170 copies. Effectively, Media Create were saying that, in the span of an entire year since, Toukiden on PS Vita had only sold an additional 30,000 copies.


That didn’t seem right. Anyone that follows Japanese videogames sales knows that sales numbers for most games tend to drop dramatically after the first couple of weeks, but this was supposed to be one of the more popular games on Vita, and another one of those games in the “hunting” genre that publishers seem so fond of when creating Vita titles. Surely, there had to be some mistake.


However, it turned out there was no mistake when I contacted Media Create to verify the numbers. “Such sales shift is not uncommon in Japanese game market,” Media Create analyst Sho Sato said to Siliconera. “Initial sales of most titles are around 70% of lifetime sales, and weekly sales in the 2nd week are 10% of lifetime sales. After that the sales number usually plunges.”


“Of course,” Sato added, “there are some important exceptions such as Yo-kai Watch and Run For Money.”


Yo-kai Watch, a Nintendo 3DS game by Level 5, started out with 50,000 copies sold in its first week, and aided by word of mouth as well as the popularity of its anime series and merchandise, worked its way up to over 1 million sold. Meanwhile, Run For Money Tousouchuu, another 3DS game by Bandai Namco, started out at 30,000 copies and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. These were games with long legs.


But back to Toukiden. “Even after the initial week, Toukiden sold comparatively well for a while because its digestibility rate in the first week was quite high (more than 80%) and many retailers sold it out,” Sato shared with me. “But by the end of July, most users had already bought it thanks to an additional shipment, and the weekly sales plunged after August.”


There were two major reasons that sales of the game dipped on Vita, Sato said. The first was that the PSP version of Toukiden continued to sell comparatively strongly after launch. This is the advantage of a platform with a large userbase. The PSP has sold over 20 million units in Japan, so that provides a much potential larger audience to sell to, in comparison to the Vita’s 3 million. It’s also why 3DS games like Yo-kai Watch and Run for Money have been able to find success in the long term.


The second reason for the drop in sales of Toukiden on Vita was the used games market, which is something that affects most titles unless publishers take preventive measures.


“A sufficient amount of used software usually begins to appear on the market a few weeks after its release,” Sato said. “When the amount of used software increases in the market, its price becomes cheaper, which forces a decrease in new software sales.”


In light of these facts, it makes complete sense that Toukiden Extreme, an updated version of Toukiden, will be released on both PSP and PlayStation Vita once more.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.