@Smaschu: Wii was outselling PS2 until 2009, you can't change history to your liking. The fact is that without support consoles are of course going to be dying. The idea that people have that Japanese only want handheld games is because developers are forcing it that way, not because people don't want consoles. Wii showed everyone unitl 2009 that consoles were really on high demand, in fact it looked like this gen, there were going to be more home consoles sold than during last gen, but developers screwed up, first and third party alike. PS2 got support all the way through the gen, Wii didn't and PS3 has barely started getting respectable support last year. PS3 is doing better than 2009 now with better support.
Japan hasn't abandoned handhelds, developers have. Consumers will buy games and consoles that are good for them. That it is handheld or not means nothing.
@Darc Requiem: It matters, because not all games were shovelware. Some devs made Wii games during its first 2 years, now no one is even trying anymore.
Are you high? The Wii has beaten the PS2 every year since 2007 (only lost in 2006 because it was out for a month). Talking about me making up history.
I don't think you actually look at sales treands or even understand why people buy stuff. Had you, you wouldn't have made that post.
First off, take a look at Wii sales for Japan again, and you'll notice it was failing yearly in 2008. 2008 had the system sales increase for everywhere else in 2008, yet Japan's went down. 2008 went up because of multiple big releases like Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Wii Fit. This shows that the trend is different than the other regions. Perhaps this means demand for console games have falled in Japan.
Now, let's compair sales for both the DS and the Wii side by side
Notice something. Two things. First, the DS has always done better in Japan. Even in it's early days, before it would have a lot of support, it was selling high numbers in a region we call "shrinking." Second, the Wii fell after year 2. The DS didn't fall until after year 3 (which is the norm). Also, the DS had only a 14.2% drop where as the Wii had a 18% drop (rounded up). It's a small difference, but it can tell you that demand for consoles just isn't strong.
Now, why is Japan not buying consoles? They still buy handhelds though. This is where understanding the buyer comes into play. In the US, we are very spread out. This is on of the biggest countries in the world and one of the few that is a 1st world country. Since we are spread out, and a lot of people live outside of the cities, we have to drive everywhere (there is little public transit in the suberbs). We can't play handhelds if we are driving our cars. But in Japan, everyone lives in the city. Becuase most of the recidents are in the city, and having a car is very expensive in Japan, most people use public transportation. Now, they can play a handheld while waiting for the bus or subway, and play it while they are riding to their destination. Also, in the US, we have a lot more house parties, where we invite people over. This is very common (sporting events are a good example of this). However, in Japan, they have very little usable land, so any place you get is going to be very small. It would be cramped if you have a soccer party, and probably so if you were playing the Wii (which needs more space to play so you aren't hitting each other). In thise sense, consoles are not as practical.
The reason now for the PS3 being over (or close) to the Wii is for two reasons. First, the Wii may have hit a saturation point at it's current software line-up. Not many people are going to want a Wii if their places of living are too small to play multiplayer games. The PS3 is likely competing with the Wii because of the price cut, but also because I assume that most console buyers in Japan are more dedicated gamers. So those people who buy console are higher tier users, and are buying higher teir system, the PS3.
The other thing you over examplify is "If you build it, they will come." Third party support was importaint during the PS1 and PS2 days, but not though most of gaming history. It was Sony's strategy, because if they take all the third parties, then they;d have most of the games, and more people will buy Sony systems. Of course, this strategy wont work if support is split or is on the wrong system. The true key to selling hardware, is key software, and you can see this very often.
- Super Mario Bros. made the NES
- People bought SNES for Mario World
- Sega was put on the map by Sonic the Hedgehog. They almost beat the SNES until
- Donkey Kong Country. This game saved the SNES. Nintendo bought Rare and they got to work on two more games
- Halo 2 turned 2004 into the XBox's best year, despite sales were failing up to that point
- The DS was losing in Japan to the PSP until New Super Mario Bros Wii came out. The also surged in America
- Wii Sports made the Wii
- Also, Nintendo saw huges sales in 2008 thanks to Mario Kart, Smash Bros and Wii Fit
(There may be some on the PS1 and 2, like the Final Fantasy games, but I don't have charts to find out). As you can see, it takes only one software title to make a huge differences. Without DKC, the Genesis may have beaten out the SNES. The NES would have been no where without Mario Bros. And New Super Mario Bros set the DS on fire. So it is not the whole lot of games that make the difference, but those key games. People buy software for hardware, and they will usually buy it if there is one software title they have to have.