serkan AT kantan-games.co.jp

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Report: Japan’s Console Game Market Down 15.7% In 2013, Mobile Games Bigger

Japan’s Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA) published the s0-called 2014 CESA Games White Paper, which includes a number of interesting statistics on the status quo of this country’s gaming industry in 2013.

In a nutshell, the Japanese market for consoles is getting smaller, while the mobile gaming market is getting bigger. And not only that.

No surprises here:
Famitsu publisher Enterbrain has published similar results (for the first half of 2014) for consoles.

Earlier this year, I translated another report that showed that Japan’s smartphone gaming market has grown handsomely in 2013.

But here are the key facts from the CESA report:

  • the market for console gaming (hardware and software combined) in Japan in 2013 reached US$4 billion (2012: US$4.8 billion)
  • console hardware sales in 2013: US$1.5 billion (2012: US$1.9 billion)
  • console software sales in 2013: US$2.5 billion (2012: US$2.9 billion)

So from 2012 to 2013, the market for console games in Japan was 15.7% smaller.

According to the organization, the Nintendo DS dominated the Japanese console game market with 46.7% (sales-wise, hardware and software combined) in 2013. The Playstation 3 was second with 21.8%, while the PS Vita reached 11.7%.

Please keep in mind the PS4 isn’t included in the numbers for 2013 (as it came out in Japan as late as February this year). Microsoft plans to roll out the Xbox One in Japan in September.

However, the Enterbrain report linked to above does include PS4 sales numbers, which suggest that the impact of the new console in Japan is limited. The Xbox One will likely make no dent either.

Japan’s Mobile Game Market Is Bigger Than Console

CESA also says that Japan’s market for smartphone games reached US$3.5 billion in 2013.

There is no number for 2012, but for 2011, CESA said that this specific segment was worth US$370 million. That’s a pretty impressive growth rate.

Japan is the only country in the world with a sizable market for feature phone gaming. And it is still pretty sizable: for feature phone games, CESA saw a US$1.6 billion market in Japan in 2013 (2011: US$2.2 billion).

So the key takeaway here is, according to CESA:
Japan’s mobile gaming market in 2013 was, at US$5.1 billion, bigger than the one for console (hardware and software combined) at US$4 billion.

There is no sign this will change anytime soon.

Serkan Toto About Serkan Toto
I am the CEO & Founder of Kantan Games, Inc., a Tokyo-based game industry consultancy focused on the Japanese market. Please subscribe to updates on this site via RSS or Email.