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Forums - Sales Discussion - Japan Sales Week 40 Media Create/Famitsu/Dengeki - October 1-7, 2018

RolStoppable said:
Mnementh said:

Yep, this is a riddle to me. Japan is without the question which is best for Switch hardware sales. Still, japanese 3rd-party games sell mediocre there. Often these same games do sell better than on PS4 in the West. So, what happens there? Is Switch perceived different in Japan than the rest of the world? Which leads in the West to good sales of 3rd-party games, including japanese ones, but have different effects in Japan, although good hardware sales?

You might begin by asking what led to the erosion of PlayStation hardware sales in Japan. "Home consoles aren't as popular as handhelds" doesn't cut it for an answer, because the Vita sold worse than the PS4. The amount and pedigree of third party software that PS consoles receive isn't an answer either, because it remained high on both accounts.

What makes Japan different is a shift in demographics. The country has had declining birth rates for about two decades. But unlike the other developed video game markets in the world, Japan closes itself off from immigration. Declining birth rates are the norm in developed countries, but immigration softens or offsets it, because immigrants tend to have more children. What has been happening in Japan is that children accounted for an ever smaller percentage of the total population which remained largely unchanged. Lower birth rates first mean fewer children, then it means fewer teenagers.

The PlayStation business largely revolves around stealing customers from Nintendo. Nintendo has high popularity among kids, Sony positions itself as the cooler brand and lures teenagers, the age group that cares the most about image, to PlayStation. The shift in demographics is the reason for the decline of PlayStation in Japan. Console manufacturers have to appeal to the growing percentage of adults in order to get a console to the same heights as in the past (most of the popular consoles in Japanese video game history have sold ~20m lifetime). Nintendo is able to withstand the shift in demographics because their own games cover a very wide age bracket.

When it comes to PlayStation, Sony's first party is barely making an effort while most third parties decided to double down on software that is targeted at teenagers and young adults (namely otakus, the guys who don't have or get girlfriends) in order to squeeze out more money from individual customers. That's why it became a running joke that Vita games plaster tits on their covers. It's not exclusively about tits though; games can very well be tailored to the PlayStation demographics without being oversexualized.

Because there are many third party games that are PlayStation first, we'll continue to see individual titles with large discrepancies in sales between PS4 and Switch. But we also see games where sales are in line with total hardware sales. The lack of a PlayStation handheld in the market doesn't mean that Vita owners will migrate to Switch; it's more likely that they'll move to PS4, if they haven't already. Given that Switch sells at a much faster pace than any recent PlayStation console, it should be clear that Switch owners do not have the same demographic breakdown as a PS console and as such anything that could be called PS-centric third party software isn't going to light up the Switch software charts, because the main demographic for that kind of software is still firmly on PS.

Hmm, interesting and sounds reasonable. So, in the west more 3rd-party games care to a different demographic, so there are some games that do better on Switch?



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

10 years greatest game event!

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RolStoppable said:
Mnementh said:

Yep, this is a riddle to me. Japan is without the question which is best for Switch hardware sales. Still, japanese 3rd-party games sell mediocre there. Often these same games do sell better than on PS4 in the West. So, what happens there? Is Switch perceived different in Japan than the rest of the world? Which leads in the West to good sales of 3rd-party games, including japanese ones, but have different effects in Japan, although good hardware sales?

You might begin by asking what led to the erosion of PlayStation hardware sales in Japan. "Home consoles aren't as popular as handhelds" doesn't cut it for an answer, because the Vita sold worse than the PS4. The amount and pedigree of third party software that PS consoles receive isn't an answer either, because it remained high on both accounts.

What makes Japan different is a shift in demographics. The country has had declining birth rates for about two decades. But unlike the other developed video game markets in the world, Japan closes itself off from immigration. Declining birth rates are the norm in developed countries, but immigration softens or offsets it, because immigrants tend to have more children. What has been happening in Japan is that children accounted for an ever smaller percentage of the total population which remained largely unchanged. Lower birth rates first mean fewer children, then it means fewer teenagers.

The PlayStation business largely revolves around stealing customers from Nintendo. Nintendo has high popularity among kids, Sony positions itself as the cooler brand and lures teenagers, the age group that cares the most about image, to PlayStation. The shift in demographics is the reason for the decline of PlayStation in Japan. Console manufacturers have to appeal to the growing percentage of adults in order to get a console to the same heights as in the past (most of the popular consoles in Japanese video game history have sold ~20m lifetime). Nintendo is able to withstand the shift in demographics because their own games cover a very wide age bracket.

When it comes to PlayStation, Sony's first party is barely making an effort while most third parties decided to double down on software that is targeted at teenagers and young adults (namely otakus, the guys who don't have or get girlfriends) in order to squeeze out more money from individual customers. That's why it became a running joke that Vita games plaster tits on their covers. It's not exclusively about tits though; games can very well be tailored to the PlayStation demographics without being oversexualized.

Because there are many third party games that are PlayStation first, we'll continue to see individual titles with large discrepancies in sales between PS4 and Switch. But we also see games where sales are in line with total hardware sales. The lack of a PlayStation handheld in the market doesn't mean that Vita owners will migrate to Switch; it's more likely that they'll move to PS4, if they haven't already. Given that Switch sells at a much faster pace than any recent PlayStation console, it should be clear that Switch owners do not have the same demographic breakdown as a PS console and as such anything that could be called PS-centric third party software isn't going to light up the Switch software charts, because the main demographic for that kind of software is still firmly on PS.

Largely true but it misses one key component: The mobile gaming aspect. I do believe that while it ate into the handheld's demographic, it also ate into the console business just the same. Across both demopgraphics, PS and Nintendo, it has taken up the playing time for a good part of those groups. This is because of mainly two reasons under one primary reason: Games. One, the kind of mobile games that are very popular in Japan are specially made for Japanese gaming tastes (anime, arcadey etc). Two, many console and handheld games made it over to mobile. Taking this in, we can also factor that in with the overal commuting lifestyle of the older generation and you have a good view of the decline.



Huge decrease for PS4. Is there nothing Sony can do?



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Mnementh said:

Hmm, interesting and sounds reasonable. So, in the west more 3rd-party games care to a different demographic, so there are some games that do better on Switch?

I guess you are refering to indie games here which still have not much relevance in Japan compared to the rest of the world. Yes, indie games cover a broader spectrum, so there are plenty of them that can sell better on Switch than anywhere else.

But when you look at the AAA third party industry, their games are going hard for male teenagers and young adults which is why most of the games get the same age rating, namely the rating that actually accounts for the smallest percentage on the whole console market. Those third parties work in tandem with the image campaigns of Sony and Microsoft, so that too results in a large discrepancy in sales if such a game is released on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo consoles. Games are specifically designed to appeal to PS and Xbox demographics, so that preferential treatment shows in sales.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

RolStoppable said:
Mnementh said:

Hmm, interesting and sounds reasonable. So, in the west more 3rd-party games care to a different demographic, so there are some games that do better on Switch?

I guess you are refering to indie games here which still have not much relevance in Japan compared to the rest of the world. Yes, indie games cover a broader spectrum, so there are plenty of them that can sell better on Switch than anywhere else.

But when you look at the AAA third party industry, their games are going hard for male teenagers and young adults which is why most of the games get the same age rating, namely the rating that actually accounts for the smallest percentage on the whole console market. Those third parties work in tandem with the image campaigns of Sony and Microsoft, so that too results in a large discrepancy in sales if such a game is released on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo consoles. Games are specifically designed to appeal to PS and Xbox demographics, so that preferential treatment shows in sales.

Yeah, I meant indies. Ah, and with that you explained the common complaint: only Nintendo games sell on Nintendo platforms. If Nintendo targets different demographics with their hardware, but games of 3rd-parties mostly are tailored to the demographics target by PS/Xbox, then only the Nintendo game are enjoyable to the different demographic. Thank god for the easier ways to distribution, which helps indies a lot, because they do target among them a lot of different gamers and have fresh concepts form time to time.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

10 years greatest game event!

bets: [peak year] [+], [1], [2], [3], [4]

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GhaudePhaede010 said:
Huge decrease for PS4. Is there nothing Sony can do?

Continue to dominate at the global level?



GhaudePhaede010 said:
Huge decrease for PS4. Is there nothing Sony can do?

They can release their reduced price PS4 Pro tomorrow, which they are.  It baffles me that people (especially on VGchartz) continues to think consumers are dumb.  Why go out and buy a PS4 (slim or pro) when you can save 5k yen, buy a Pro, and use the saving to buy a game like COD or Spiderman?



Train wreck said:
GhaudePhaede010 said:
Huge decrease for PS4. Is there nothing Sony can do?

They can release their reduced price PS4 Pro tomorrow, which they are.  It baffles me that people (especially on VGchartz) continues to think consumers are dumb.  Why go out and buy a PS4 (slim or pro) when you can save 5k yen, buy a Pro, and use the saving to buy a game like COD or Spiderman?

Really? This is the website where for over a decade consumers have had to justify their decision to put their money towards the best games.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

RolStoppable said:
Mnementh said:

Yep, this is a riddle to me. Japan is without the question which is best for Switch hardware sales. Still, japanese 3rd-party games sell mediocre there. Often these same games do sell better than on PS4 in the West. So, what happens there? Is Switch perceived different in Japan than the rest of the world? Which leads in the West to good sales of 3rd-party games, including japanese ones, but have different effects in Japan, although good hardware sales?

You might begin by asking what led to the erosion of PlayStation hardware sales in Japan. "Home consoles aren't as popular as handhelds" doesn't cut it for an answer, because the Vita sold worse than the PS4. The amount and pedigree of third party software that PS consoles receive isn't an answer either, because it remained high on both accounts.

What makes Japan different is a shift in demographics. The country has had declining birth rates for about two decades. But unlike the other developed video game markets in the world, Japan closes itself off from immigration. Declining birth rates are the norm in developed countries, but immigration softens or offsets it, because immigrants tend to have more children. What has been happening in Japan is that children accounted for an ever smaller percentage of the total population which remained largely unchanged. Lower birth rates first mean fewer children, then it means fewer teenagers.

The PlayStation business largely revolves around stealing customers from Nintendo. Nintendo has high popularity among kids, Sony positions itself as the cooler brand and lures teenagers, the age group that cares the most about image, to PlayStation. The shift in demographics is the reason for the decline of PlayStation in Japan. Console manufacturers have to appeal to the growing percentage of adults in order to get a console to the same heights as in the past (most of the popular consoles in Japanese video game history have sold ~20m lifetime). Nintendo is able to withstand the shift in demographics because their own games cover a very wide age bracket.

When it comes to PlayStation, Sony's first party is barely making an effort while most third parties decided to double down on software that is targeted at teenagers and young adults (namely otakus, the guys who don't have or get girlfriends) in order to squeeze out more money from individual customers. That's why it became a running joke that Vita games plaster tits on their covers. It's not exclusively about tits though; games can very well be tailored to the PlayStation demographics without being oversexualized.

Because there are many third party games that are PlayStation first, we'll continue to see individual titles with large discrepancies in sales between PS4 and Switch. But we also see games where sales are in line with total hardware sales. The lack of a PlayStation handheld in the market doesn't mean that Vita owners will migrate to Switch; it's more likely that they'll move to PS4, if they haven't already. Given that Switch sells at a much faster pace than any recent PlayStation console, it should be clear that Switch owners do not have the same demographic breakdown as a PS console and as such anything that could be called PS-centric third party software isn't going to light up the Switch software charts, because the main demographic for that kind of software is still firmly on PS.

This is very true, and some of the most prolific mobile games (Fate: Grand/Order and Granblue Fantasy) have significant crossover with Playstation target market. Serious players of both of those games spend a lot of money on them, so you lose opportunity for people to choose your higher price console and games.



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Train wreck said:
GhaudePhaede010 said:
Huge decrease for PS4. Is there nothing Sony can do?

They can release their reduced price PS4 Pro tomorrow, which they are.  It baffles me that people (especially on VGchartz) continues to think consumers are dumb.  Why go out and buy a PS4 (slim or pro) when you can save 5k yen, buy a Pro, and use the saving to buy a game like COD or Spiderman?

You better hope this is true, because if the price cut doesn't move it up, it is not going to be getting to the 10m mark as easy as some are making it out to be.