PlayStation 3 outsells Wii in Japanese market

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After years of outselling both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 in the crucial Japanese market, the second-largest market after the United States, the Wii has fallen behind by the PlayStation 3 in March for the first time in sixteen months.

The PlayStation 3 sold, according to Enterbrain, 146,948 consoles; overshadowing the 99,335 consoles that Nintendo managed to sell. Microsoft finished third, selling 43,172 Xbox 360 consoles.

What is also worrisome for Nintendo is that its games, which have been the top sellers in Japan for a long time, have now fallen behind to games that targeted the hardcore gamers. March saw popular games for the PS3, like Ryu Ga Gotoku 3, a yakuza-themed game, and Biohazard 5, known as Resident Evil 5 outside of Japan, managed to outsell the Wii Fit.

Japan is seen to be the crucial market for Nintendo and its rival, Sony and Microsoft, as they tend to be an early indicator for consumer trends around the world. Titles like Brian Age and Nintendogs, both which don’t target the hardcore gamers, were hits in Japan first before becoming hits in the international markets.

Another problem for Nintendo, the Wall Street Journal notes, is that those who own the Wii console don’t purchase a lot of games in their large catalogue. For every Wii console sold at the end of December, Nintendo sells roughly 6.9 games – but this will be lower if they didn’t include the Wii Sports, which comes free with the console, and the Wii Play, which comes with an additional controller.

In comparison, the Sony has sold 7.3 games for every PlayStation 3 sold at the end of December; while Microsoft sold 8.2 games for every Xbox 360 – but those figures are only for the US with no specific time period, and the increased number could be linked to the one-year gap between it and the PS3 and Wii.

Image from: wili_hybrid/Flickr (CC)