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The reasons and consequences of the decline of Playstation in Japan [UPDATE: New Guidelines]

Aquamarine

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I thought a separate thread should be created for this discussion because it seems to be a recurring topic in the Media Create thread.

Historically, PlayStation has been a dominant force domestically. But over the past few years, the PlayStation ecosystem has shown signs of decline in Japan.

To illustrate this decline, here are compiled sales figures of the Japanese video game market from Media Create White Books that look at the decline from various perspectives.

Data Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9



SCE / SIE total first-party retail software sales in Japan per year:

2013: #10. Sony Computer Entertainment - 1.224.576
2014: #08. Sony Computer Entertainment - 1.683.025 <3,91%>
2015: #06. Sony Computer Entertainment - 1.537.730 <4,12%>
2016: #06. Sony Interactive Entertainment - 1.366.861 <4,25%>
2017: #06. Sony Interactive Entertainment - 1.917.935 <5,95%>
2018: #05. Sony Interactive Entertainment - 1.608.904 <5,65%>
2019: #06. Sony Interactive Entertainment - 1.290.509 <4,80%>
2020: #05. Sony Interactive Entertainment - 1.586.003 <4,83%> (16 new games)


Note a stagnating presence in the market that hasn't improved in the past eight years despite the explosive worldwide success of PS4 and PS5.

Compare to Nintendo who shows a general upwards trend with their first-party games even if they have weak years:

2013: 13,069,179
#01. Nintendo - 9.034.530
#05. Pokemon Company - 4.034.649

2014: 10,697,098
#01. Nintendo - 7.864.301 <18,27%>
#06. Pokemon Co. - 2.832.797 <6,58%>

2015: 9,666,720
#01. Nintendo - 8.796.933 <23,55%>
#10. Pokemon Co. - 869.787 <2,33%>

2016: 8,746,336
#01. Nintendo - 5.208.950 <16,19%>
#03. Pokemon Co. - 3.537.386 <10,99%>

2017: 11,531,533
#01. Nintendo - 9.161.857 <28,41%>
#04. Pokemon Co. - 2.369.676 <7,35%>

2018: 11,967,292
#01. Nintendo - 9.971.257 <35,00%>
#04. Pokemon Co. - 1.996.035 <7,01%>

2019: 11,120,034
#01. Nintendo - 7.903.662 <29,42%>
#02. Pokemon Co. - 3.216.372 <11,97%>

2020: 16,634,035
#01. Nintendo - 15.270.147 <46,48%> (9 new games)
#06. Pokemon Co. - 1.363.888 <4,15%> (1 new game)


This weakness is also reflected in total PlayStation ecosystem software sales.



Total retail software sales by console manufacturer:


PlayStation:

2009:
#03. PSP - 10.269.963
#04. PS3 - 8.343.862
#05. PS2 - 3.495.732
#07. PS1 - 17.372
= 22,126,929

2010:
#02. PSP - 16.418.424
#04. PS3 - 10.149.132
#06. PS2 - 842.607
= 27,410,163

2011:
#01. PSP - 13.898.361
#02. PS3 - 12.531.566
#07. PSV - 496.808
#08. PS2 - 209.404
= 27,136,139

2012:
#02. PS3 - 11.627.502
#03. PSP - 7.653.834
#06. PSV - 1.918.940
#09. PS2 - 48.780
= 21,249,056

2013:
#02. PS3 - 11.965.634
#03. PSP - 4.280.106
#04. PSV - 3.512.352
= 19,758,092

2014:
#02. PS3 - 7.510.433 <17,44%>
#03. PSV - 5.062.082 <11,76%>
#05. PS4 - 2.441.876 <5,67%>
#06. PSP - 1.053.282 <2,45%>
= 16,067,673

2015:
#02. PSV - 5.205.609 <13,94%
#03. PS4 - 5.114.598 <13,69%
#04. PS3 - 4.185.655 <11,21%
#06. PSP - 304.545 <0,82%
= 14,810,407

2016:
#02. PS4 - 8.672.086 <26,95%>
#03. PSV - 4.823.793 <14,99%>
#05. PS3 - 1.629.591 <5,06%>
= 15,125,470

2017:
#02. PS4 - 10.021.801 <31,08%>
#04. PSV - 1.967.023 <6,10%>
#06. PS3 - 225.470 <0,70%>
= 12,214,294

2018:
#02. PS4 - 10.740.999 <37,70%>
#04. PSV - 1.023.787 <3,59%>
= 11,764,786

2019:
#02. PS4 - 9.235.333 <34,38%>
#04. PSV - 301.706 <1,12%>
= 9,537,039

2020:
#02. PS4 - 7.839.893 <23,86%> (211 new games)
#04. PS5 - 109.374 <0,33%> (16 new games)
#05. PSV - 69.251 <0,21%> (7 new games)
= 8,018,518

As you can see, the decline in retail software sales for PlayStation is precipitous year-over-year.


Compare to Nintendo:

2009:
#01. NDS - 27.832.529
#02. WII - 13.521.656
#07. GBA - 53.075
= 41,407,260

2010:
#01. NDS - 21.904.434
#03. WII - 11.669.083
#07. GBA - 7.724
= 33,581,241

2011:
#03. WII - 8.687.291
#04. 3DS - 7.365.636
#05. NDS - 7.275.021
= 23,327,948

2012:
#01. 3DS - 16.737.113
#04. WII - 5.071.405
#05. NDS - 4.882.276
#07. WIU - 848.202
= 27,538,996

2013:
#01. 3DS - 23.575.562
#05. WIU - 1.978.062
#06. WII - 1.580.993
#07. NDS - 505.089
= 27,639,706

2014:
#01. 3DS - 23.387.031 <54,32%>
#04. WIU - 2.826.564 <6,57%>
#07. WII - 477.334 <1,11%>
= 26,690,929

2015:
#01. 3DS - 18.438.698 <49,37%
#05. WIU - 3.926.000 <10,51%
= 22,364,698

2016:
#01. 3DS - 14.780.505 <45,93%>
#04. WIU - 2.206.047 <6,86%>
= 16,986,552

2017:
#01. 3DS - 12.008.236 <37,24%>
#03. NSW - 7.328.882 <22,73%>
#05. WIU - 646.738 <2,01%>
= 19,983,856

2018:
#01. NSW - 13.690.616 <48,05%>
#03. 3DS - 2.942.191 <10,33%>
#05. WIU - 66.655 <0,23%>
= 16,699,462

2019:
#01. NSW - 16.646.620 <61,97%>
#03. 3DS - 664.355 <2,47%>
= 17,310,975

2020:
#01. NSW - 24.636.454 <74,98%> (220 new games)
#03. 3DS - 200.354 <0,61%> (0 new games)
= 24,836,808


H9hM5eW.png


Unlike PlayStation which is clearly shrinking year-over-year, Nintendo remains consistent and even jumped in 2020.



Top 1000 retail software sales by platform:

2013:
PS3 - 273
PSP - 225
3DS - 194
PSV - 122
NDS - 52
WII - 49
360 - 45
WIU - 40
= Sony: 620
= Nintendo: 335
= Microsoft: 45

2014:
PS3 - 271
3DS - 225
PSV - 207
PSP - 111
WIU - 58
PS4 - 58
WII - 34
360 - 22
XB1 - 14
= Sony: 647
= Nintendo: 317
= Microsoft: 36

2015:
PSV - 284
3DS - 266
PS3 - 194
PS4 - 148
WIU - 63
XB1 - 24
PSP - 19
360 - 2
= Sony: 645
= Nintendo: 329
= Microsoft: 26

2016:
PSV - 294
3DS - 290
PS4 - 236
PS3 - 105
WIU - 60
XB1 - 15
= Sony: 635
= Nintendo: 350
= Microsoft: 15

2017:
PS4 - 347
3DS - 264
PSV - 245
NSW - 52
WIU - 43
PS3 - 40
XB1 - 9
= Sony: 632
= Nintendo: 359
= Microsoft: 9

2018:
PS4 - 422
NSW - 206
3DS - 193
PSV - 155
WIU - 13
XB1 - 10
= Sony: 577
= Nintendo: 412
= Microsoft: 10

2019:
PS4 - 469
NSW - 362
3DS - 104
PSV - 60
XB1 - 5
= Sony: 529
= Nintendo: 466
= Microsoft: 5

2020:
NSW - 471
PS4 - 455
3DS - 49
PS5 - 14
PSV - 11
= Sony: 480
= Nintendo: 520
= Microsoft: 0

In 2020, for the first time, the majority of titles in the Top 1000 were released on Nintendo platforms.




Looking forward to 2021, there are further indicators of PlayStation's decline in Japan.

For example, PS5 software sales seem disproportionately small to the amount of hardware they are selling. The Top 30 is dominated by Nintendo titles.

Famitsu reported the best selling software for PS5 from April-September 2021 was Resident Evil Village which only sold 69K packaged units.

Famitsu also reported the install rate of packaged software for PS5 is <7%, which is a very low figure.

Publishers previously swearing to PlayStation exclusively (like Falcom) have announced Switch development.



So what are the reasons for this decline? Can it be stopped or mitigated? Can Sony bounce back? Or is PlayStation destined for obscurity and has Sony written off the Japanese market? Or is all of this fearmongering overblown / supplanted by digital and the decline is mild at best? I'd like to hear your thoughts.
 
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