Contrasting with continued strong growth in the West, the Japanese games market has been confirmed to have shrunk in 2008 – by as much as 15.3 percent.
According to an AFP report using translated Enterbrain data
, 2008 was the first time the market has contracted in four years. It fell to a value of ¥582.6 billion ($6.26bn), with software sales alone falling by 7.9 percent over the last 12 months.
The decline was blamed on the lack of new console launches, with the PSP-3000 and DSi failing to match the impact of the PlayStation 3 and Wii in 2007. (Technically, the PlayStation 3 launched in November 2006 and the Wii a month later.)
The Nintendo DS was once again the best-selling handheld in Japan over the course of the year, although its success came via a much narrower margin than usual against the PSP - at 4.03 million units to 3.54 million.
The Wii was the best selling home console, with 2.91 million units sold, well ahead of the PlayStation 3 on 991,000 units.
Although a comparatively good year for the Xbox 360, especially compared to the performance of the original Xbox in Japan, the console sold only 318,000 units overall in 2008.