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Could consoles be on the way out in Japan?

02 Jul 12

Gaming websites Enterbrain and have combined stats today and revealed some interesting figures on exactly which gaming hardware is selling in Japan.

Perhaps the biggest insight is the handheld market – in Japan the Nintendo 3DS is the biggest selling piece of hardware, with 2.2 million sales since December 26.

This brings the total sales for the device up to 6.3 million in just over a year.

In comparison, Sony’s Playstation Portable has sold 18.7 million units since its release in 2004, while 756,000 PS Vitas have been sold since their release just before Christmas last year.

Although it might still be too early to tell, Sony have said outright that a good chunk of their hopes for the future is tied to the Vita – but as far as the Japanese market is concerned Nintendo has the handheld department pretty much sewn up.

In saying that, the PSP received a resurgence of popularity and became the third-highest selling system in the Japanese market as Sony handhelds came under the spotlight after the release of the PS Vita.

In terms of software, four of the five top-selling pieces of software were games for the Nintendo 3DS, with the best-selling being Pokemon Black & White 2. No surprises there, considering Pokemon is the best thing ever.

As for consoles, the Nintendo Wii has been the biggest seller in Japan this generation, as 12.4 million have been sold since 2006.

The PS3 comes in at second with 8.1 million, released a month earlier than the Wii.

Of course, the global gaming market operates very differently to that of Japan – the Xbox 360 is barely a blip on Japan’s radar with just 1.5 million being sold since 2005, whereas globally Microsoft is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming marketplace.

There are rumours that the next-generation of consoles will be the last as gaming floats up into the cloud; so with Sony placing more emphasis on their handheld efforts, perhaps the emerging struggle will be between Nintendo and Sony to dominate the handheld market. Which would, of course, leave Microsoft stuck by themselves in the living room.

What do you think? Are handheld's a better future then traditional consoles?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.