Once upon a time, the Japanese market was one of the largest gaming markets in the world, second only to the United States, driven in part by its hegemony over game development. Japan still remains a large market, with a lot of the world’s best games coming from there, but other western markets have overtaken it by now.
The last decade has seen a sharp decline in the Japanese market- the failure of the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii, and Wii U to catch on, coupled with 3DS and PSP being low cost and low end hardware, and the rise of mobile gaming, have led to steep declines in the dedicated games market in Japan.
But now, that is changing. CESA, also known as Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association, has revealed (via Nintendo Soup) that in 2017, for the first time in ten years, the Japanese dedicated games market saw year on year growth, earning ¥386 billion (roughly $3.5 billion USD)- a 22.7 per cent YoY increase. This growth was attributed in very large part to Nintendo’s Switch.
See, Switch has a unique portable-console hybrid nature that makes it compelling for the Japanese market. It also sells hardware and software at console like prices, meaning, even if it is selling 3DS levels, it is generating far more money than the 3DS, as a handheld, ever could. This is why the Switch has been so instrumental in reviving the Japanese market, as our weekly sojourns into Media Create’s reports have shown us.
Now all we can hope for is that the Japanese market continues to grow- and maybe Japanese third parties can wake up, and decide to join in on the Switch train too while they are at it, right?