Japan: PS3 Top In May

You may have heard by now that the PSPgo has not been a sales success. If it had been, do you think Sony would be trying to rescue it by giving away ten free games if you buy one in the UK and creating the €10 PSP Essentials range? In the US, Sony are bundling three games with the handheld and have created the $10 PSP Favourites range.  The fact that the US bundle deal is dated to run until the end of next March should be the final nail in the coffin of the “new PSP at E3 2010” rumours.  Personally, I would put money on a PSP2 appearing next year though.

It is not just the US and UK either, as a few weeks ago we learnt that the PSPgo had only sold 20-25,000 units since its launch in Australia.  SCE Australia head Michael Ephraim said, “The handheld space is very crowded, and we have to keep in mind that [the PSPgo] was the first device of its kind to launch without packaged goods.”  No mention of its high launch price though.


By now you are probably wondering why the first few paragraphs of this month’s Japanese hardware sales post are not about Japanese hardware sales.  The reason is that with the PSPgo propping up the Japanese sales chart most months, someone will ask in the comments how well it is doing in the rest of the world.  This month, as I had some answers, I thought I would answer that question before it gets asked.

Time to talk about the last month of console sales in Japan then.  I will start with the two consoles that fight it out for the lowest score each week, the PS2 and PSPgo.  Why?  Well, it is normally a close-run thing, but the PSPgo had two shockingly bad weeks at retail in the middle of May selling fewer than 900 units each of those two weeks.  Also as these are the two devices that sell the fewest units, their lines on the graphs always look fairly flat, so by giving them a graph of their own you can see that their sales do fluctuate from week to week just like the consoles that sell tens of thousands of units each week.

PS2 vs. PSPgo

At the very end of April, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker released for the PSP, and by the 2nd of May had sold 434,366 units.  While that was only enough to propel the MGS title to second in the software chart, behind Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 on the DS which sold 624,000 units, it gave a very healthy kick to PSP sales with the UMD-toting PSP-3000 selling almost 60,000 units and the PSPgo falling just short of 1,900 units.

The PS3 and 360 also benefited from a software release this week as Super Street Fighter IV hit the stores.  The PS3 version reached third place in the software chart with 80,882 sales while the 360 version hit fifth spot having sold 28,454 units.  After the quiet end to April, the weeks software releases saw software sales almost treble compared to the previous week.

The week ending 9th May was the Japanese holiday week known as Golden Week during which there were no new software releases to shake up the hardware chart.  The only hardware to buck this week’s trend of falling sales were the Wii, DSi and DSi LL which perhaps suggests that during the holiday week it was families and not hardcore gamers that headed out shopping.

To liven things up a little, Media Create released figures comparing this year’s Golden Week with last year’s.  In terms of hardware the PS3 led the pack with sales up 40%, the Wii was up 35%, the PSP family saw sales up 6% while the DS family and the 360 saw sales down 24% and 26% respectively.

May Handheld Sales

The following week, hardware sales were down across the board; with the notable exception of the 360 which recorded a small increase.  This week’s fall in sales dropped the PSPgo into 3-digit territory for the first time as its weekly sales total fell to just 871 units.

A PS3 title hit the top of the software charts in the week ending on the 23rd with Lost Planet 2 being the first game to be able to dislodge Dragon Quest from its number one spot.  Sales of 84,607 for the PS3 version gave it a comfortable margin at the top, while the 360 version made it up to fifth with sales of 33,563.  Hardware sales trended down again this week, though there were small rises for the 360 and Wii, which led to the PSPgo beating its record low from the previous week by falling to 851 sales.

May Home Console Sales

Software for Nintendo’s consoles owned the software chart in the final week of May, with new releases for the Wii and DS filling the top four places and Dragon Quest taking fifth.  In the Italian plumber’s adopted homeland of Japan, it will surprise no one to know that Super Mario Galaxy 2 went straight in at number one with 339,901 sales.  Second place was taken by the latest entry in the Super Robot Taisen series, almost 260,000 sales behind Mario with sales of ‘just’ 80,764.  In a reverse of the situation over the last two weeks, hardware sales were up unless you were Microsoft.

The regular monthly battles resolved as follows: the PS3 beat the Wii by about 1,000 units, the PS2 beat the PSPgo by almost 700 units and the DSs beat the PSPs with 176,024 versus 172,847 units sold.

The corporate pie below shows how the hardware market was shared out in May on a unit sales basis.  Sony just beat Nintendo with 48.6% versus 47.9% leaving Microsoft the remaining 3.5%.

May Corporate Pie

If you are still awake, here are the month’s figures in one handy table:

360 4,943 4,278 4,370 4,656 3,546 21,793
PS2 1,577 1,491 1,293 1,175 1,463 6,999
PS3 32,874 26,185 20,463 19,075 20,987 119,584
Wii 30,757 31,399 17,570 18,465 20,476 118,667
DS Lite
4,068 4,026 2,695 2,681 2,961 16,431
DSi 15,628 15,739 9,990 9,356 10,324 61,037
25,569 26,733 15,879 14,108 16,267 98,556
PSP 59,315 35,233 24,475 22,462 25,054 166,539
PSPgo 1,890 1,464 871 851 1,232 6,308
Totals 176,621 146,548 97,606 92,829 102,310 615,914

Source: Media Create