Natural disasters hit business

TOKYO — The Japanese vidgame market, the world’s second-largest after the U.S., shrunk 8% to $5.9 billion last year, the fourth year-on-year decline.

Sales of game hardware rose 2.4% to $2.3 billion, according to figures compiled by game magazine publisher Enterbrain.

It blamed the overall dip on the impact of last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disasters as well as the lack of mega-hit titles.

The biggest-selling game was Nintendo’s “Mario Kart 7″ with 1.08 million units, one of three titles to reach 1 million sales in 2011. The previous year, seven games passed the milestone.

The hardware market was boosted by the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, which moved 4.14 million units, and the Sony Vita handheld, which sold 403,000 units.

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