Sony’s PS4 has cracked the 4 million sales barrier in Japan. Not an immediately impressive number, but by far the most successful of the big three (Wii U 3.28, XB1 0.07).
Here’s a list of the best-selling consoles in Japan, from highest to lowest
Game Boy 32.47
Wii U 3.28
PS4 still hasn’t seen a game crack the one million mark. The highest seller is currently Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain at 0.49 and would you believe Knack has the #2 spot with 0.42? (pack-in games have bloated numbers).
The usual suspect GTA V takes third with 0.38 and we see out first Japan-centric games Persona 5 and Dragon Quest Heroes: The World’s Tree Woe and the Wight Below at four and five with 0.37 each.
The current trend has definitely leaned heavily into mobile. The 3DS stumbled out of the gate in North America, but did well enough in Japan that it’s one of the few on the list to sell more in the East than anywhere else. Only the Vita and Saturn match that feat, with the PSP coming very close (JPN 20.01 NA 21.41).
The last standard console to break 10 million was the PS3 at 10.44. This came off the back of the extremely successful PS2 ( World 157 JPN 23.18) and PS1 (World 104 JPN 19).
The 360 is one of the most successful North American consoles ever at nearly 50 million, but could only manage 1.66 in Japan. The original Xbox and XB1 have fared even worse at 0.53 and 0.07 respectively. Microsoft’s first console was bulky, lacked Japanese-centric games and had to compete against the most successful console of all time (PS2: 157 Worldwide sales).
Nintendo is coming
Based on the popularity of portable gaming, Nintendo’s Switch should do very well in Japan. Throw in a mainline Pokemon game and I’d predict the Switch easily taking over as the region’s dominant console. Depending on battery life of course.
Sony’s had a solid run over there but their buyer’s philosophy is too shy on traditional consoles at the moment. It’s strange to think the country that gave us the NES might never come back to fully embrace its living room roots.