Some say that Japanese gamers hate FPS games. Others say that they can’t stand Western games. Today’s Media Create software charts say that they’re wrong.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 leads the Japanese charts for its launch week with a very solid 180,372 units sold on PS3 and 30,467 on Xbox 360, beating One Piece: Gigant Battle! 2 on Nintendo DS that sold “only” 116,062 units, and, against my own predictions, Ni No Kuni, that starts with only 67,032 units finding a Japanese home.
This last piece of information is the most surprising, considering how strongly marketed Ni No Kuni was and how absolutely stunning it is. Maybe launching in the same day as Modern Warfare 3 damaged it’s performance, or maybe the divide between the fairy tale-like graphics and the relatively adult userbase of the PS3 caused it to sell less than expected. The fact that it came after a DS release of the same game (even if the PS3 version isn’t identical) may also have influenced the result.
It’s also possible that critical response influenced the commercial success of the game. Famitsu gave Modern Warfare 3 an almost perfect 39 (10, 10, 9, 10), while Ni No Kuni received “only” a 37 (8, 9, 10, 9). One Piece: Gigant Battle! 2 was scored less than both, with a 35 (8, 8, 9, 8), but the Japanese love One Piece and everyone in Japan has a DS (or two), so it’s not surprising that it still sold well.
One thing is for sure, western games, even FPS games, can sell definitely well in Japan. Modern Warfare 3 demonstrated as much.