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Japanese Game Market Up 33% In H1 2006

Japanese Game Market Up 33% In H1 2006

July 7, 2006 | By Simon Carless

According to a new survey released by Japanese firm Enterbrain, the overall Japanese video game market surged 33% in the first half of 2006 compared to a year previously, reaching 277 billion yen ($2.40 billion) for combined hardware and software sales.

Enterbrain's survey, which collects information from 35,000 Japanese game stores, revealed particularly good results for Nintendo, with 2.6 million units of the DS Lite and 1.3 million units of the DS sold in 2006's first six months, and excellent software sales.

The news, twinned with Wii expectations, sent Nintendo's shares up 3.9 percent to hit a four-year closing high of 20,390 yen ($179), according to a Reuters report, bucking the Nikkei's downward trend for the day, and reinforcing the company's current domination of the Japanese market.

In comparison, Sony sold slightly less than 1 million units of its PSP in the first 6 months of 2006 - not unreasonable, but effectively a quarter of the sales of DS-related hardware, showing the company's difficulties in tuning its more complex, often 3D software to meet current Japanese demand - hence the launching of PSP titles such as LocoRoco.

Also notable: overall Japanese game software sales, dominated by DS-related games in the Brain Training and Touch Generations series, was up 30.4 percent to 175 billion yen ($1.53 billion), with Brain Training For Adults the overall top-selling title in Japan for the period, and games such as New Super Mario Bros quickly rising to rival it.

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