March's Tohoku Earthquake destroyed towns, took people's lives and left tens of thousand homeless. Out of courtesy, game developers postponed games and one company even cancelled a title outright. March was a bad month for the video game business in Japan. March was a bad month. Period.
According to Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, the impact of the quake in the game business was to the tune of ¥7.33 ($87 million) - ¥2.86 ($34 million) for hardware and ¥4.47 billion ($56 million).
Enterbrain says that sales for the Nintendo 3DS dropped off suddenly after the earthquake hit, and game title after game title was postponed.
Sales did drop off for the 3DS after the earthquake. The week quake occurred on Friday, March 11, but during the sales week ending on March 14, over 96,000 Nintendo 3DS units were sold, making it the highest-selling console. Number two was the PSP at 44,000.
During the following week, 3DS sales dipped to 61,000. The nearest consoles, the PS3 and the PSP, sold 26,000 and 22,000 units respectively. However, the following week (March 21 to 27) saw PSP sales spiked to 50,000 units, landing in the second place spot and higher than it was on the sales chart pre-quake. Nintendo, however, only sold 50,000 3DS machines that week.
By the last week in March, the PSP actually outsold the 3DS, moving 57,000 units compared to the 3DS's 42,000 machines. That means that the PSP actually started doing better in the weeks following the earthquake, but not as well as it was doing in the week from February 28 to March 6 when it sold over 76,000 units. That week, Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy was released on the sales charts. The week before that, Sony sold only 47,000 PSPs.
The biggest 3DS sales drop occurred when comparing the week ending on March 6 to the week ending on March 13: Nintendo went from selling 209,000 3DS units to selling 96,000 machines. The week of the quake robbed Nintendo of a weekend of sales, but it could be argued that the 3DS was already on a downward slide.
No doubt the recent events impacted the game hardware sales, but surely, Sony isn't making a quake-proof portable.
Note: In the top image, a game retailer alerts customers that Super Mario 3D is coming to the 3DS...eventually.
【東日本大震災】国内ゲーム市場の震災影響額は７３億円超 [MSN産経ニュース][Pic by 2ch]