Feature | INSiGHT: Nintendo Back to its Best in Japan?

By Adam Riley 28.11.2012 6

Sony's PlayStation Vita may seem like it has passed an important milestone this week in Japan as it has finally cleared the million mark, but the sad matter of fact is that the portable powerhouse is selling at a lower rate than even SEGA's last ever foray into the hardware market, the Dreamcast. With the holiday period about to arrive in Japan, the Nintendo 3DS closing in on the PlayStation 3's lifetime sales, and Nintendo 3DS games dominating the Japanese charts, is Nintendo back to its best in its homeland?

Image for Feature | INSiGHT: Nintendo Back to its Best in Japan?

There was a time a few years back where the Nintendo DS was dominating the Japanese charts, but when the PlayStation Portable finally got various Monster Hunter titles, the tide changed somewhat. Wii also began to considerably slow down in the face of no heavy-hitting releases, thus allowing the PlayStation 3 to pick up steam and make up ground. Basically it all started to look rather glum for Nintendo after the 'glory days,' especially when the Nintendo 3DS failed to gain traction upon release in 2011.
 
Fast-forward to now, though, and after the price-cut, triple-whammy of Monster Hunter 3, Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7 last Christmas, plus a steady supply of hit after hit throughout 2012 (Resident Evil Revelations, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and so on), and everything suddenly looks far brighter. Last week saw the recent release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf cross the million mark after just three weeks on sale, thanks in part to a strong advertising campaign pushing the eShop download edition. On top of this, this week Famitsu shows that the Nintendo 3DS hardware is only ~170,000 units away from overtaking the lifetime sales of the PlayStation 3 with the holiday period not in full flow yet!

Image for Feature | INSiGHT: Nintendo Back to its Best in Japan?


What happened this week, though? The latest Call of Duty stormed into the charts on PS3 and Xbox 360, showing that there is a place for Western-developed games in Japan after all. On the other hand, the Japanese-centric Lost Planet spin-off, E.X. Troopers made a quiet debut on both of its parent systems, starting marginally stronger on 3DS than PS3. As well as this, the first ever 3D Pokémon Mystery Dungeon made its appearance on 3DS. This particular matter is a point of contention with some, come to mention it. After all, around 125,000 units for a game featuring those ever-popular Pocket Monsters might seem rather low. In reality, however, the dungeon-crawling genre has struggled to gain momentum in recent years, with even the once major Shiren the Wanderer line from Spike Chunsoft not hitting its former highs. Since every game in that style is pretty much the same - and this 3DS title being by the same developer -- the Pokémon name alone is driving it as high as this, as is the general strong status of 3DS, and will undoubtedly fare extremely well as children's money starts coming in from relatives and the holidays kick in.

Image for Feature | INSiGHT: Nintendo Back to its Best in Japan?


Japan is a quirky place where random games make odd strides up the charts. Back when the Nintendo DS was at large, all sorts of training titles were cropping up from publishers previously unheard of, or at least those never before having had a breakout hit. Now it is the turn of RPG Bravely Default: Flying Fairy to be the slow burner that does not seem to want to depart the chart. Square Enix's spiritual successor to the impressive Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light on DS received numerous demos on eShop, yet did not get much retail promotion, but has been selling so well that it forced Square Enix to quickly push the game onto eShop so that sales were not lost whilst it desperately tried to send more physical stock to retailers. It has already surpassed sales of the DS RPG, and without Final Fantasy branding nonetheless, and looks set to trundle along to 300,000+ sales with ease in the coming month or so.
 
Another example of a new mainstay in the list is Tousouchuu: Shijou Saikyou no Hunter-Tachi Kara Nigekire! -- or Run for Money in its shorter, English moniker. This game has dropped off the charts, bounced back up, disappeared again, and continued to yo-yo around partly due to Bandai Namco being caught off-guard by its popularity, but also due to the TV game show it is based around only airing every few weeks or so. The idea is based around a cancelled US programme called Cha$e, and involves contestants running around an area, being chased by 'hunters' that want to tag them before set missions can be completed. It all sounds extremely basic, but clearly has captured the imagination of the masses, which has translated well to the video game version!

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Anyway, without further ado, below is the Top 30 software sales list from Famitsu, along with the hardware listings:

Famitsu Software Sales - 19th-25th November, 2012

1.) (1) Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS, Nintendo) - 237,823 | 1,274,926
2.) (NEW) Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Subtitled Edition (PS3, Square Enix) - 223,344 | NEW
3.) (NEW) Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate and the Infinite Dungeon (3DS, The Pokémon Company) - 125,911 | NEW
4.) (NEW) Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (PS3, Sony Computer Entertainment) - 86,912 | NEW
5.) (3) New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS, Nintendo) - 27,125 | 1,411,969
6.) (NEW) Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Subtitled Edition (360, Square Enix) - 21,804 | NEW
7.) (2) Assassin's Creed III (PS3, Ubisoft) - 18,117 | 104,035
8.) (NEW) E.X. Troopers (3DS, Capcom) - 16,084 | NEW
9.) (8) Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Best Price!) (3DS, Capcom) - 13,735 | 39,141
10.) (NEW) E.X. Troopers (PS3, Capcom) - 11,359 | NEW
11.) (13) Tousouchuu: Shijou Saikyou no Hunter-Tachi Kara Nigekire! (3DS, Bandai Namco Games) - 10,975 | 243,154
12.) (NEW) Wand of Fortune 2 FD: Kimi ni Sasageru Epilogue (PSP, Idea Factory) - 10,909 | NEW
13.) (NEW) Dangerous Ji-San to 1000-nin no Otomodachi Yokoshima (3DS, Bandai Namco Games) - 8,825 | NEW
14.) (9) Tales of Xillia 2 (PS3, Bandai Namco Games) - 8,581 | 394,782
15.) (NEW) Kokoro Connect: Yochi Random (PSP, Bandai Namco Games) - 8,144 | NEW

Image for Feature | INSiGHT: Nintendo Back to its Best in Japan?


16.) (7) Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires (PS3, Koei Tecmo) - 7,967 | 91,533
17.) (14) World Soccer Winning Eleven 2013 (PSP, Konami) - 6,722 | 61,120
18.) (NEW) Ouchi Mainichi Tamagotchi (3DS, Bandai Namco Games) - 6,612 | NEW
19.) (5) Medal of Honor: Warfighter (PS3, Electronic Arts) - 6,184 | 29,056
20.) (15) Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (3DS, Square Enix) - 6,145 | 259,663
21.) (4) Summon Night 4 (PSP, Bandai Namco Games) - 5,998 | 37,902
22.) (17) World Soccer Winning Eleven 2013 (PS3, Konami) - 5,792 | 358,928
23.) (19) Nintendo Presents New Style Boutique (3DS, Nintendo) {2012.09.27} (¥4.800) - 5,768 | 171,833
24.) (11) Aikatsu! Cinderella Lesson (3DS, Bandai Namco Games) - 5,579 | 14,598
25.) (18) Pokémon Black 2 / White 2 (NDS, The Pokémon Company) - 5,537 | 2,811,781
26.) (16) Okami HD (PS3, Capcom) - 5,422 | 78,137
27.) (22) Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb (3DS, Bandai Namco Games) - 5,197 | 274,664
28.) (24) Kobito Zukan: Kobito Kansatsu Set (3DS, Nippon Columbia) - 4,678 | 137,919
29.) (6) Assassin's Creed III: Liberation (PSV, Ubisoft) - 4,625 | 26,735
30.) (10) Need for Speed: Most Wanted - A Criterion Game (PS3, Electronic Arts) - 4,418 | 17,909

Image for Feature | INSiGHT: Nintendo Back to its Best in Japan?


Famitsu Hardware Sales - This Week | Last Week | 2012 Total Sales | Lifetime Sales

1.) Nintendo 3DS (all models tracked) - 158,527 | 170,559 | 4,219,019 | 8,354,758
2.) PlayStation 3 - 34,836 | 18,213 | 1,107,605 | 8,524,753
3.) PlayStation Portable (all models tracked) - 16,197 | 11,197 | 789,063 | 19,026,171
4.) PSVita - 9,246 | 12,019 | 603,519 | 1,006,313
5.) Wii - 4,009 | 3,095 | 444,390 | 12,612,133
6.) Xbox 360 - 1,667 | 1,739 | 62,857 | 1,583,595
7.) PlayStation 2 - 434 | 354 | 22,760 | 21,977,051
8.) Nintendo DS (all models tracked) - 227 | 173 | 27,322 | 32,862,824
XX.) Nintendo DSi - 227 | 173 | 27,322 | 8,272,520
XX.) PlayStation Portable - 16,197 | 11,197 | 789,063 | 18,865,596

Anyone wondering what is going on with that hardware layout? Famitsu tracks separate system revisions such as the Nintendo DSi, DSi XL, PSP Go, and so on, but has long since dropped the DSi XL and PSP Go. Therefore, total sales are included for all model revisions, as well as separately for those individual formats still tracked.

With Wii U set to burst into life in Japan and the Nintendo 3DS proving to be almost unstoppable, it certainly looks like Nintendo is almost nearing its best once more in its homeland. The question remains, can Sony somehow break the agonising trend of its new handheld selling disastrous numbers or at least hit back with a new home console quickly. One thing is for sure, this Christmas / holiday period certainly belongs to Nintendo in Japan.

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Comments

..,and just when everything is cooling off after the holiday period, Monster Hunter 4 arrives in Spring and starts the madness all over again. Smilie

I really wish the people that keep saying the iPhone will kill portable gaming would explain these sales Smilie

Anyway great artical!

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Thanks - I was looking at this week's chart and noticed how some sites are claiming Animal Crossing passed a million this week (which it didn't  - it was last week, if you include downloads). I started doing a normal quick write-up, but the Japanese scene is so interesting at the moment that I thought I'd expand it to an article. Glad you enjoyed it Smilie

SirLink's perfectly correct - early next year there is Dragon Quest VII and Monster Hunter 4, whereas the PSV only has Soul Sacrifice, a game most think won't really be able to have much impact at all. It's sad to see Sony fall like this, but the old school Nintendo fan in me loves it Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Rob64 (guest) 30.11.2012#4

Good to see Cubed3 looking at the Japanese scene again and it's amazing to see such a turnaround in fortune for 3DS.

Sony deserved a slap in the face as they were quite arogant about things the last few years, and the custom format memory cards for the vita are a joke.
Nintendo still needs competetion though, and Microsoft is simply incapable of making anything portable thats decent, so I hope next gen things are a lot closer to call.

Then again, I hope next gen all the portables are AR specs!

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Darkflame said:
Sony deserved a slap in the face as they were quite arogant about things the last few years, and the custom format memory cards for the vita are a joke.

I totally agree, and it's sad to see that Sony honestly seemed to think it could sit back and just ride it out off the back of the PlayStation's success. It won over the development crowd due to Nintendo being obstinate back with the N64 and cartridges/high license fees. The PS2 came swooping in and carried on the trend, whilst Nintendo then went on to make its own proprietary mini DVDs for the GameCube.

The PS3 should have been the first sign of concern. Do you remember when it first came out and nearly every developer talked about how hard it was to make games on it? It's only as the years went by and Wii wasn't powerful enough to keep up with graphical enhancements and expansive worlds for newer games that the PS3 really started to pick up.

Sony then thought it could emulate the success with the PSP, but failed to realise that unless there was something special in the handheld space, people would merely buy HD games for on their big HD TVs! As many people I know still state today - why take the PS3 experience to a smaller screen where the battery runs out quickly? It makes no sense. PSP only rose to glory in Japan off the back of Monster Hunter. This time round, however, Nintendo beat Sony to the punch and swiped it away and the rest is history...

Nintendo still needs competetion though, and Microsoft is simply incapable of making anything portable thats decent, so I hope next gen things are a lot closer to call.

I feel there will always been some competitor vying for a piece of the marketplace, and even if Sony does nothing after Vita, there will be enough competition from tablets and Smartphones to keep Nintendo on its toes.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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