Japan’s Video Game Market Grows to $4.6 Billion in 2012 (But Social Games Not Too Far Off)


Dr. Serkan Toto is a gaming expert and independent consultant based in Tokyo. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog. This article is republished with his permission.

Japan video game sales fiscal 2012

According to data released by Tokyo-based game magazine publisher Enterbrain (published in The Nikkei over the weekend), the Japanese market for video games grew 1.2 percent to US$4.6 billion in fiscal year 2012 (which ended on March 31, 2013).

Software sales for gaming consoles and handhelds contracted 1.2 percent to $2.8 billion in that time frame.

But hardware sales increased five percent to about $1.8 billion in Japan, thanks to the introduction of the Wii U (well, OK, if the report says so), a new 3DS, and Sony’s recent price cuts for their consoles.

What’s interesting is that while a 1.2 percent plus sounds pretty modest, the overall market for video games in Japan grew for the first time in five years. Enterbrain’s numbers for the first half of fiscal 2012 were already indicating such a trend.

And what’s even more interesting is that even though different data providers use different methods, it looks like the sizes of the video and social gaming markets in Japan are now very similar.

The latest report of note came from Yano Research in January, estimating the social gaming market in Japan was worth $4.3 billion in 2012. Even though that number is closer to $4 billion using today’s exchange rate, that market grew faster between 2011 and 2012 than the one for video games, making the difference not that big anymore.

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