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.