Publisher/market research firm Enterbrain this week released some sales data for the Japanese market. And the data is not good.
From a period roughly running from January 2009 to the end of June, hardware sales in Japan were down 27.6% from the same time last year. The drop in software sales wasn't quite as bad, but it was still pretty bad, with game sales down 22%. That averages out to roughly a 25% drop in the total market.
To some degree, this is down to the same reason the Western market is down: the first half of 2008 saw some big, big games (like Smash Bros.), which 2009's lineup has failed to match.
But that doesn't explain such a severe drop. For a few years now Japan's love affair with Nintendo has been the only thing propping up an industry on the slide; now that Wii sales are beginning to slow, things are starting to look grim, to the point where you've got to wonder how much of an impact games like FFXIII and Dragon Quest IX are going to have on the overall figures.