Print 5 comment(s) - last by garethcoker.. on Jul 19 at 6:12 AM

Nintendo really knows how to appeal to kids

Nintendo Wii accessories

All Nintendo all the time

DS Lites on display including the new colours metallic rose and gloss silver

Nintendo DS accessories

One of the few shelves of Sony merchandise
Nintendo rules all general Japanese department store sales space

For the month of June, figures coming out of Japan show the Nintendo Wii outselling the PlayStation 3 almost six to one. Since statistics often tell half the story it might be interesting to examine the details of why this is happening.

To aid in my research, I visited several department stores in my area with my less conspicuous cell phone camera (stores typically get nervous of people taking pictures inside the shop). Although statistically insignificant, this did allow me to see for myself what options the average Japanese consumer has. 

When visiting the console games section of a typical department store, what quickly becomes evident is that shelf space is dominated by Nintendo goods by a factor of four times. If there are 10 shelves of goods, eight of them are stacked full of Nintendo Wii and DS Lite merchandise. Two shelves, at most, will have a combination of PS2, PS3 and PSP merchandise. In some of the smaller department stores I visited, there was no PS3 merchandise, and in all stores I visited there was no Xbox 360 product.

If the stocking decisions made by these department stores are a reflection of consumer demand, then there is little demand for the PlayStation 3 and no demand for the Xbox 360. I would like to have seen these shelves during the heyday of the PS2 or the even the PSone. Were these store shelves dominated by Sony hardware and software in the same way Nintendo dominates now?

One thing I can conclude as a consumer living in a typical Japanese suburb – I have many options for purchasing Nintendo hardware and software, but I have almost no brick and mortar options for purchasing an Xbox 360. My options for purchasing PlayStation hardware and software vary from store to store.

If I were a consumer who wanted to purchase an Xbox 360 I would most likely need to head in to central Tokyo to purchase one from a Yodobashi Camera or a Bic Camera where they are still available. Mainstream department stores are one of the locations where the console wars are fought and it appears the Xbox 360 is not even in the game while the PlayStation 3 is barely hanging on.

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By Zurtex on 7/17/2007 7:32:08 AM , Rating: 2
If I were a consumer who wanted to purchase an Xbox 360 I would most likely need to head in to central Tokyo

....or use the internet?

There's always been the issue in all markets, that the market leader keeps dominance because they are dominant, I've certainly had my issues trying to find GameCube stuff towards the end of its life cycle, why would it be different anywhere else? The Internet makes the playing field a bit more level, things can be bought if there's really a demand for it, and if there's more of a demand then shops should pay attention.

RE: Internet
By Aikouka on 7/17/2007 8:25:35 AM , Rating: 3
The Internet, as you mention, is a good place to find even the most obscure; however, the point of the article was to discuss the brick and mortar situation in Japan between the consoles. Also, how does the Gamecube being non-existent on shelves at EoL compare to a console that came out not even a year ago being scarce?

RE: Internet
By Zurtex on 7/17/2007 11:20:07 AM , Rating: 2
It's simply a matter of demand, the GameCube had little demand at the end of its life cycle (probably a full year before the Wii was launched, so at that point it had no natural successor), the 360 has very little demand now in Japan.

Shops do have an influence on what they buy, but ultimately shops can't sell an unpopular product. I don't honestly think there are 2 ways looking about it, it's not the shops lack of promoting it that's causing the problem, it's the lack of interest.

Nice and informative
By Trisped on 7/18/2007 2:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't think the 360 would actually be off the shelves, but I guess they were lucky to get them there in the first place. As for the PS3, I don't know why everyone thought it would do so well, Sony was all bad news for over a year on the PS3, and they failed to deliver a valuable product. I am just sad that the Wii is so focused on light gaming.

Nintento is dominating
By garethcoker on 7/19/2007 6:12:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's slightly far fetched to say that the XBox 360 is off the shelves. I don't live anywhere near Tokyo, or anywhere near a major city such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and so on.... but I can goto my local store and there are XBox 360s there.

Not that I want to buy one!

I will agree though that the Nintendo is absolutely dominating everything.

Sony and MS will have to make their consoles not just cheaper but also SMALLER, and less inclined towards the hardcore gamer. Making them cheaper is obvious. Making them smaller is largely due to the lack of space in most Japanese housing. Also - the way the PS3 has been advertised makes us all think that you absolutely HAVE to have an HDTV to play the PS3 - where of course Nintendo doens't need one at all. Also - making them less inclined to the hardcore gamer is also obvious - but the Japanese of all ages have a strong affinity with what I can only describe as the 'kawaii' culture (cute). If it's cute, and looks fun, and is colourful, they love it - and this in no way applies to just video games.

I wouldn't call it game over just yet. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the big Japanese franchies get up and running on the PS3, namely Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. However, I'm not sure this will be enough to get Sony out of the quagmire it has gotten into. I feel that Nintendo have probably stolen a march on all of them.

It'll be interesting to see what the situation is in about a year. It's still a little too early to draw conclusions, but of course the current indications are, that yes, Nintendo is indeed dominating the market in Japan.

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