Nintendo Switch Has Stopped a Ten Year Decline in the Japanese Video Game Market

The video game market in Japan has been in decline for a decade now. Following on from the mega-successes of the PS2, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS, things haven’t been quite the same over there. Nintendo has halted this decline, however, thanks to its hugely popular Switch. The Nintendo Switch sales in Japan have been so good, that the market increased for the first time in ten years. Has the Nintendo Switch saved Japan’s video game market?

For the first time in ten years, 2017 saw the video game console market increase. Indeed, data from the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA) has revealed interesting information regarding the Japanese market. The 2017 video game console market, which includes the likes of game sales (digital and physical) and hardware, expanded by 22.7% compared to 2016. 386,700,000,000 Yen’s worth of hardware and software was sold. That’s $3.5 billion to you and me. CESA has placed this success on the Switch. Thanks to NintendoSoup for the translation of the original piece.

The last time the console market in Japan saw an increase was back in 2007. The DS Lite was huge. Everyone and their mum owned Nintendo’s bright handheld. Since then, the smartphone market has eaten into video game sales. Compared with 2007’s sales figures, video games in Japan are just above half as popular as they were a decade ago. Indeed, 2007 saw a whopping total of 711,800,000,000 Yen spent on games and consoles. $6.4 billion. Wow. What’s more staggering is that the smartphone games market reached 1,319,200,000,000 Yen in sales ($11 billion) this year.

Despite the relatively small numbers compared to those of before, the uptick in video game sales in Japan is undoubtedly good news. We don’t like seeing anybody struggle. It’ll be interesting to the numbers of 2018. While it has been a slower start to the year for the Switch, sales look set to pick up. Pokemon Let’s Go! and Super Smash Bros Ultimate round out the year on Nintendo’s hybrid machine. Octopath Traveler has been so popular in Japan that Square Enix had to apologize for a lack of stock. Twice.

Nintendo Switch Sales could be on the rise yet again before 2018’s end. We don’t know if it’s possible for the games console market to match the smartphone market again, though.