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Business  27, Feb 2014

[Gaming] Japan Watch: February 24, 2014

The PS4 debuted in Japan, and the numbers made it clear that the country is still comfortable with current gen gaming at the moment

In this weekly feature, we take a look at the recent Japan games sales and share our own two cents on the current market.

And so, Japan has finally entered the next-gen consumer market with the release of the PS4 on February 22. As expected from a fresh new console’s entrance, PS4 games rule the roost on the latest Media Creates sales chart for the week of February 17.

A day or so ago, we reported on the PS4 console sales numbers within the first two days: 322,083 unit. Those are pretty solid numbers considering that the PS3 back in 2006 sold a third of that value during its debut.

But how about software, which is usually the deciding factor of a console’s usefulness? It looks like a first party-developed platformer of a cutesy nature is leading the next-gen charge in the country.

Image credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Action platformer Knack sold 309,304 copies on its debut in Japan. Keep in mind, however, that each First Limited pack of the PS4 is bundled together with a copy of the game. It’s highly likely that the high numbers are due to Japanese customers pre-ordering the bundle. Knack has received mixed to negative reviews upon its release late last year, but its vibrant art style and Japanese studio tendencies may be a factor that has led family-centric PS4 adopters to get the game.

Following just behind is Sega’s Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin! for both the PS3 and PS4. For those not in the know, the Ryu ga Gotoku series has been localized before in English under the title Yakuza. Fitting, as the game is about the trials and tribulations of a former Yakuza member.

Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin! is a retelling of famous samurai Sakamoto Ryoma in 19th century Japan using the series’ main and supporting characters. Before anyone asks, Sega will not likely be localizing this given that it hasn’t published Ryu ga Gotoku 5 outside of Japan and how it’s only going to appeal to huge Japanese history buffs.

The former version sold 142,811 units while the latter sold 73,086 units, effectively showing that Japan is still not on the next-gen buying train as of yet. One can argue that due to Knack’s technicality of being part of a console bundle, the true sales winner of the PS4 launch titles is Sega’s non-linear action adventure spin-off.

Image credit: Electronic Arts

Japan’s interest in Western-style gaming also takes precedence within the top ten games on the list, although we suspect that it will only be temporary until the next update. Battlefield 4 for the PS4 sold 26,878 units while Killzone: Shadow Fall sold 25,978 units.

The Media Creates stats also show that portable game, at least on Nintendo’s court, is still not under any threat of Sony’s next gen offering. The 3DS has a strong showing of games with Dragon’s Quest Monsters 2 (fourth place with 73,086 copies sold), Kuroko’s Basketball: Miracle Victory (fifth place with 43,087) and Yo-kai Watch (sixth place with 29,814).

There isn’t a single PS Vita game in sight on the stats however, most likely due to Sony’s next-gen push. On the bright side, sales for Sony’s portable is at 16,363, at least proving that there’s some activity thanks to the Remote Play feature between the device and the PS4.

All in all, it’s a very slow climb for consumers in Japan until they fully embrace the nuances of a new console. So hop to it, Japanese game developers, unless the cash crop for current gen is too tempting to pass up. Here’s the full Media Creates chart in all of its glory.

Software (Position, Name, Console, Publisher, Sales Number)
1. Knack (PS4, Sony Computer Entertainment) – 309,304
2. Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin! (PS3, Sega) – 142,811
3. Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin! (PS4, Sega) – 73,086
4. Dragon Quest Monsters 2 (3DS, Square Enix) – 59,965
5. Kuroko’s Basketball: Miracle Victory (3DS, Namco Bandai) – 43,087
6. Yo-kai Watch (3DS, Level-5) – 29,814
7. Battlefield 4 (PS4, EA) – 26,878
8. Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4, Sony Computer Entertainment) – 25,978
9. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U, Nintendo) – 17,084
10. Kirby Triple Deluxe (3DS, Nintendo) – 16,484

Hardware
PS4 – 322,083
3DS – 30,284
PS Vita – 16,363
PS3 – 9,546
Wii U – 8,129
PSP – 2,548
Xbox 360 – 239
Wii – 148

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Leo Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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