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JAPAN: Nintendo software and hardware sales data from 1983 to present

Celine

Archivist
I'm going to keep this thread updated with new, more up to date info whenever is possible.

UPDATED WITH DATA UNTIL JUNE 2022


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任天堂

What does the following data represent?
The data here presented is either financial data or shipment data provided by Nintendo itself directly from Nintendo's Public Relationship department, Nintendo official site or other reports which reported Nintendo's shipment data.
The hardware and software data refer to sales in Japan.

The hardware sales represent the console units Nintendo has sold to retailers as the term noted above.
The hardware revisions sales are contained within the main console brand thus, for example, GBC hardware sales are included in the GB hardware sales, DSi hardware sales are included in the DS hardware sales and so on.
I've used the international acronyms for Famicon and Super Famicom even though this thread is focused on Japan cause it's thought for an international audience.
Please take note that the best fitting acronyms would have been FC and SFC.

The software sales included in the software lists pertains:
- Games published by Nintendo or Pokemon Co. (due to the special relationship between Nintendo and Pokemon Co., the latter only publish console games on Nintendo consoles).
- Only original game releases are considered (for instance the sales from re-releases on Virtual Console or retro mini consoles aren't include).
- Include software units bundled with the hardware.
- Digital sales are included only for the games that had a digital version available at the time (basically since WiiU/3DS).
- Digital only games are excluded.
- For the games that have sold more than 1 million units in Japan the software lists are fairly comprehensive and should be considered close to definitive, with the exception of million sellers on consoles still active (for those refer to the date of the update).
- The list of games with sales below 1 million units are NOT comprehensive of all the Nintendo published games that have sold less than 1 million in Japan.
- The Famicom games (NES) combine both the cartridge version and the disk versions when available.


Read second post for some sources.
Also in the below posts there are other interesting trivia and data.



Hardware

Videogame Console with interchangeable software** (in million of units):
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Note:
Virtual Boy total shipment is until March 1996.
NES (Famicom) software sales includes both format: cartridges and disks. In total 53.39 million game disks were sold-in for the Famicom.

* What is referred as "First-party software" is actually an approximation calculated by summing every games for which sell-in data is known therefore it's incomplete.
It's meant to indicate a minimum for the first-party software sales.

** Only software which has physical version is considered.
If a game has a physical version and a digital version then it is included but if it is digital only it is excluded.


Software


TV consoles
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Handheld consoles
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Hybrid consoles
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Grand total:
As of June 2022 Nintendo has sold over 397 million games in Japan.
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Summary about Nintendo million selling games in Japan (data for the million sellers is fairly complete):
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Annual hardware and software shipments in Japan:
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First-party software sales compared to total software sales per platform
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What is referred as "First-party software" is actually an approximation calculated by summing every games for which sell-in data is known therefore it's incomplete.

Total number of dedicated video game systems sold by manufacturer in Japan as December 2021 (only console makers which have sold at least 1 million units)

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A curiosity:
As March 1995 (PS1 was launched in December 1994 in Japan) NES + GB + SNES had sold in total 44.53 million units in Japan therefore since the introduction of the PlayStation brand of consoles Nintendo has sold around 60 million dedicated video game systems more than what Sony did in the same timeframe.

* Note:
I considered only standalone consoles with interchangeable software (devices like Color TV Game, Game & Watch, Nintendo plug & play retro consoles, PlayStation Classic, PocketStation and add-ons in general were excluded).

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SUMMARY OF THE MILLION SELLING GAMES IN JAPAN BY PUBLISHER AS DECEMBER 2021 (SELL-IN DATA)

The dynamics of the japanese videogame market were always different compared other big markets due to the presence of a console manufacturer's first-party capable to create mega hits for the market, in quantity and popularity unmatched by all the other third-party publishers.
The first-party I'm talking about is, of course, Nintendo.
To visualize Nintendo's software dominance in term of mega hits, I analyzed the history of all the games which shipped more than 1 million units on a single platform from 1983 to 2021.
Digital sales are included for the games whose digital version was available at the time of the original release.
If the million seller list is complete for the period 1983 to circa 2010, the same cannot be said for the third-party million sellers after 2010 due to publishers becoming more reticent in sharing sell-in data for the japanese market.
Read carefully the missing million sellers and the exceptions to the cited rules (like the single platform rule):
- The Switch version (Mojang/Microsoft) of Minecraft and the PSV version (SCE/SIE) is absent.
- Dragon Quest XI was listed combining the 3DS and PS4 versions (3.00M), Final Fantasy XV was listed combining the PS4 and XBO versions.
- All the releases combined of Resident Evil 5 (PS3, Capcom) should be over 1M in Japan however no sell-in data was ever shared.
- All the releases combined of Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3, Konami) should be over 1M in Japan however no sell-in data was ever shared.
- Monster Hunter Rise (NSW, Capcom) shipment data is missing due to the publisher never sharing the japanese sell-in data.
- GTAV (PS4, Take 2) and Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, Square Enix) might have sold-in more than 1M with digital however no sell-in data are available for those titles.

All things considered the pie chart below is a fairly close representation of the power balance between Nintendo's first-party and the other publishers in the field of creating mega hits capable to drive the japanese market.
I estimate that with the missing third-party million sellers added in, the Nintendo's slice would be ~56%.

The million sellers were grouped under the current publisher name which could represent multiple historical entities (due to name changes, merges and acquisitions).
Here the notable grouping, listing the entities who delivered million selling games in Japan (not listed if the current publisher name matches the historical name):

Nintendo: Nintendo, Pokemon Co.
Square Enix: Square Enix, Enix, Square, Taito.
SIE: SIE, SCE.
Konami: Konami, Hudson Soft.
Bandai Namco: Bandai, Namco, Banpresto, D3 Publisher.
Koei Tecmo: Koei.
Sega Sammy: Sega, Sammy.
ASCII Media Works: ASCII.

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Some tidbits:
- More than half of the pie is owned by Nintendo's first-party. It's also the publisher with the highest number of games and at the same time the highest average sales per million seller.
- Pokemon Co. alone account for 49.69 million units sold.
- SIE last million seller in Japan was the PSV version of Minecraft, before it the last million seller from Sony goes back to the PS2 era when it was still known as SCE.
- Some publisher like Jaleco and BPS Co got their single million seller during the dawn of the industry and now practically don't exist anymore (at best other company own their IP rights or became simple IPs holder).
- The more recent publishers to join the club were either companies which achieved great success on mobile and then translated the popularity to a console game (GungHo Online and Mixi both for 3DS), Level-5 which produced a couple of very successful kid oriented franchises on DS and 3DS, and of course Mojang/Microsoft with the recent huge success of Minecraft (even if it's unaccounted in the above data).

Companion thread about Nintendo's sales Worldwide:

Nintendo website where you can find useful information:
http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/

This thread is dedicated to Hiroshi Yamauchi.

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Top 20 best-selling Nintendo games in Japan
Top 20 best-selling Nintendo games in Japan

  1. [NSW] Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 9.62m
  2. [GB] Pokémon Red/Green - 8.22m
  3. [GB] Pokémon Gold/Silver - 7.30m
  4. [NES] Super Mario Bros. - 6.81m
  5. [NDS] New Super Mario Bros. - 6.49m
  6. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf - 5.85m
  7. [NDS] Pokémon Diamond/Pearl - 5.85m
  8. [NSW] Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 5.74m
  9. [NDS] Pokémon Black/White - 5.54m
  10. [GBA] Pokémon Ruby/Saphire - 5.40m
  11. [NDS] Animal Crossing: Wild World - 5.35m
  12. [NSW] Pokémon Sword/Shield - 5.33m
  13. [NSW] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 5.16m
  14. [NDS] Brain Age 2 - 5.10m
  15. [NSW] Splatoon 2 - 4.69m
  16. [Wii] New Super Mario Bros. Wii - 4.67m
  17. [3DS] Pokémon X/Y - 4.56m
  18. [GB] Tetris - 4.24m
  19. [GB] Super Mario Land - 4.19m
  20. [NDS] Mario Kart DS - 4.02m

NDS - 6
NSW - 5
GB - 4
3DS - 2
NES - 1
GBA - 1
Wii - 1

Pokémon - 7
Super Mario Bros. - 4
Animal Crossing - 3
Mario Kart - 2
Super Smash Bros. - 1
Splatoon - 1
Tetris - 1
Brain Age - 1
 
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