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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

So About Those Japanese Sales Last Week...

Posted on Thursday, April 10 @ 06:39:24 Eastern by Heath_Hindman
He thought he didn't have to do this kind of stuff anymore. He was wrong... for the first time.

I already told you to expect Japanese game sales to take a tax-induced dip this week. With the national consumption tax (which affects practically everything) on the rise, consumer spending is on the decline, and these charts show it.  Check out this list of the best-selling software in Japan, for the week ending April 6th.  Not a single game broke 50k.  Natural Doctrine, a well-hyped JRPG for the PS3, PS4, and Vita only had one version squeak into the top 20, selling a mere 6,000 copies.
1. (3DS) Mario Party: Island Tour - 47,106
2. (PS3) Samurai Warriors 4 -  25,572
3. (3DS) Yokai Watch - 23,663
4. (PS3) Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - 20,799
5. (WIU) Just Dance Wii U - 18,403
6. (PSV) Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd - 16,111
7. (PS3) J-Stars Victory Vs - 13,417
8. (PSV) J-Stars Victory Vs - 11,876
9. (PS3) Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd - 10,278
10. (PS3) Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 - 10,081
11. (PS3) Dark Souls II - 9,924
12. (3DS) Kirby Triple Deluxe - 9,914
13. (3DS) Fossil Fighters: Infinite Gear - 9,704
14. (PSV) Samurai Warriors 4 - 9,603
15. (3DS) Pokemon X / Y - 8,328
16. (PS4) Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - 7,859
17. (PSP) Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 - 7,576
18. (3DS) Dragon Quest Monsters 2
19. (3DS) Puzzle & Dragons Z  - 6,787
20. (PSV) Natural Doctrine - 6,046

It should be noted that only Natural Doctrine and Just Dance are new releases here.  Everything else saw its first week (which is almost always the highest, by far) go by already. So there's some damage control fuel.

Below are the hardware charts, which Alex already told you about, but I'll kick it up a notch (Bam!) and show  the decline from last week is shown in parenthesis. Again, keep in mind that last week definitely had a shopping rush. 
3DS  – 32,038 (down from 64,632)
Vita – 26,388 (41,867)
PS4 – 13,401  (23,327)
PS3 – 10,871 (17,154)
Wii U – 7,962 (13,026)
PSP – 2,892 (4,206)
Xbox 360 – 276 (304)
So last week was a little higher because of the looming hike, and this week is lower because of the rush pushing things backward. But even taking the usual numbers of each system, things are trending downward for system sales in Japan, especially TV systems.  With the anemic software lineups of Nintendo's Wii-U and Sony's PlayStation 4, there's no reason to expect these to get any better, at least not within 2014. In fact, this might be another PSP/Vita situation, in which the PSP outsold its newer, technically stronger brother. It's quite likely that at some point this year, PS3 will spend time outselling PS4 in Japan.
Short-sighted internet know-nothing know-it-alls will look at the inevitable spikes in Golden Week (May), the first week of summer vacation (July), and Obon (August) when they happen, then go on to proclaim that everything is alright.  The people that make these comments are the same ones I see crying and WTFing during other weeks when game systems don't move at all.  It's like they have no perspective. You have to look at the big picture.

Zooming out to look at the overall scene, console sales are going down in Japan. They just are. I'm sorry, I don't make the facts, I just report them. Mobile (defined as smartphones, tablets, and other game-capable phones that aren't "smart") gaming makes up 50% of the market now, and it's the only sector that's rising. Even though handhelds are selling more than consoles, that doesn't mean they're "taking over," it means they're living longer. The trend is still down. The Vita is not selling as well as the PSP and the 3DS is not selling as well as the DS. They're just not. 
Anticipated internet fuckhead reply: "There's no reason to cry doom about that!"
Pre-emptive internet fuckhead answer: "Yeah I'm not.  I'm stating factual fucking numbers and leaving it at that.  Fact: the trend is down.  Fact: this generation's systems are selling less than before, in comparable time frames." 
The coming weeks will be interesting to watch for PS4. It doesn't get any new games in April apart from multiplatform Final Fantasy XIV. In May, it only gets inFamous: Second Son, Trials Fusion, and multiplatform Child of Light. In June, it'll get Wolfenstein, Watch_Dogs, Thief, and Muso Orochi 2 Ultimate. Only that last one is exclusive -- not exactly putting on a strong case to spend $400 on an upgrade, in a country whose population is notoriously tight-fisted and cares little about graphics. 

Wii-U isn't sitting any prettier.  Maybe worse.  It's got Famicom Remix 1+2 later this month, Mario Kart 8 in May, and...a bunch of multiplats. Some of said multiplats are going to be absolutely slaughtered on Wii-U, for example, Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, which releases in May going up against, yeah, fucking Mario Kart. Oops. At least it's not releasing the same exact week, but still, wow, too close for comfort there, Sega. The PS3 version might be seen as a nice alternative to Mario Kart for people that don't want to buy a whole new system just for that game, but if you do have a Wii-U? The masses will buy Mario Kart, not Sonic's newer brand of kart racing. When placed head to head in the same month, the market isn't gonna give a shit about better handling or whatever, they want Mario shooting red shells at Wario on Rainbow Road. Why do I even have to type shit like this out?

Man I am tired of realizing shit. I have to stop this right now.
Related Games:   Mario Kart 8

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