While the Holiday shopping season is basically ended in the west, in Japan it’s different, with the biggest sales period of the year extending all the way to the first week of January due to the gifting traditions of the new year, including Otoshidama, that prompts adults to gift money to children in their family.
While last week’s Media Create sales charts showcased an increase in hardware and software moved in Japan week-on-week (127.79% for software and 111.34% for hardware compared to the previous week), the detailed analysis released afterwards by the statistics firm indicated a significant drop in both hardware and software compared to the previous year. Local hardware sales (257,000) were 78.68% of last year’s total, and software sales (1,441,000) were 73.49% compared to the same week in 2016.
Media Create’s analysis blames this on the early demise of the Wii U, which last year sold about 80,000 units in Japan in the week before Christmas, while this year it sold only 5,095 units.
The Wii U didn’t exactly have a stellar run in Japan, having been recently overtaken by PS4 in September, despite having been on the shelves 14 months longer. Despite that, it still had strong holiday performances, due to a few strong games released in the December period, and parents purchasing the family-friendly console for their sons and daughters. That completely evaporated this year.
With support for the console basically discontinued only four years after its launch in December 2012, sales have almost completely died off, as both Nintendo and customers prepare for the big enigma that is the Switch.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new console will be received by the Japanese audience, and if it’ll close the gap left by the Wii U. We’ll have to wait for next December to know, and for January 13th’s reveal to see more of the console’s potential.