Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Japan Game consoles, software end sales decline

The Asahi Shimbun 04/29/2005

Like a reinvigorated "Street Fighter," video games are back with a 3 percent sales increase in fiscal 2004, their first year-on-year rise in three years.

Consoles and software together pulled in 433.7 billion yen in Japan, according to figures compiled by Enterbrain Inc., a game-related publisher. One hazard for game sales has been the popularity of mobile phones, but the industry managed to hold its ground by introducing two new portable consoles. Sales were also pushed up by hit game titles introduced during the fiscal year.

In fiscal 2004, console sales alone reached 127 billion yen, up 6.9 percent from the previous year. Sales of game software totaled 306.6 billion yen for a 1.4 percent increase. That feat marked the first time since fiscal 1999, a five-year gap, for sales of both consoles and software to increase year on year. Sales of conventional consoles, such as the PlayStation 2 of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., fell across the board.

However, at the end of 2004, Nintendo Co. and Sony Computer Entertainment released new portable game consoles, the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. Those new products boosted the overall market.
Unit sales of the DS reached 1.8 million, while those of the PSP stood at 1.09 million. In terms of value, however, sales of both models were roughly equal at about 24 billion yen.

(IHT/Asahi: April 29,2005)


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