Japanese games market stumbles

Software and hardware sales down 6.9%

TOKYO — Sales of games software and hardware fell 6.9% in Japan last year to $5.92 billion, according to figures compiled by game biz mag Enterbrain, the second year-on drop.

Sales of games machines were down 13.6% to $2.38 billion, with unit sales of the once-hot Nintendo Wii console plunging more than 30%.

On the other hand, unit sales of rival PlayStation 3, whose price was slashed $110 on Sept. 1 to around $200, jumped nearly 70%. The market as a whole, however, remained soft.

Meanwhile, sales of games software slid 1.8% to $3.58 billion. The sales leader was Square Enix’s “Dragon Quest IX” for the Nintendo DS handheld, which moved 4.1 million units.

In second place was a new version of the “Pocket Monsters” game, again for the DS, which shifted 3.38 million units following its September bow. In third place was “New Super Mario Brothers Wii” for the Wii, which sold 2.48 million units.

In the first half of the year, combined sales of game software and hardware fell 24.4% year-on-year, while in the second half sales rose 10.4% boosted by the releases of “Dragon Quest,” “Super Mario” and other hot games.

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