A report from Japanese Famitsu publisher and research firm Enterbrain found Japan's retail video game market declined 9 percent
in 2010 to ¥493.66 billion ($5.94 billion), down from ¥542.64 billion ($6.53 billion) in 2009, according to a translation on Andriasang.com.
The drop marks the third year in a row of Japanese video game retail decline. Falling hardware revenues drove the 2010 decline, as the category fell 18.9 percent year-on-year to ¥175.59 billion ($2.11 billion), according to the report. Software sales dropped 2.5 percent to ¥318.08 billion ($3.83 billion).
Nintendo's DS line of handhelds led game-specific hardware sales with nearly 3 million units sold, followed closely by Sony's PSP line with 2.9 million units.
The Nintendo Wii led home console unit sales with 11.2 million units, followed by PlayStation 3 (1.6 million) and Xbox 360 (209,000).
Portable games topped the software charts, as Pokemon Co's September 2010 release Pokemon Black & White
for DS sold 4.9 million units during the year, and Capcom's PSP game, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd
, selling 3.5 million units after just being released on December 1.
While Japanese video game retail revenues continue to shrink, Japanese consumers seem to be spending more money in emerging game markets such as mobile and social gaming, and using devices such as PCs, phones and smartphones for gaming, much as in the West.
In November last year, Japanese mobile social network operator and game creator DeNA reported a 216 percent
year-over-year jump in its second quarter sales to $336.4 million.
The sales marked rapid growth for the firm, which acquired U.S.-based mobile game company Ngmoco for up to $403 million last year. DeNA's mobile social network, Mobage-town (MobaMingle in the West), reportedly has over 20.5 million registered users.