Nintendo Tops The Japanese Yearly Sales Charts For 18th Year In A Row

Nintendo Tops The Japanese Yearly Sales Charts For 18th Year In A Row

While the likes of Xbox and PlayStation have seen a lot of love around the world, it’s hard to deny that Nintendo is still the golden child over in Japan if their annual sales charts are anything to go by.

Famitsu published its latest annual report on Japan’s software and hardware, which has been localised by VGC. According to the report, Nintendo continues to completely dominate the Japanese gaming market.

The physical software charts for 2022 in Japan show 9 out of the 10 games listed are Nintendo Switch titles, with the only non-Nintendo title being Elden Ring for the PlayStation 4. The charts also include titles that weren’t released this year, and include their lifetime sales numbers in Japan:

  1. Pokémon Scarlet & Violet (Switch) – 4,338,931
  2. Splatoon 3 (Switch) – 3,687,814
  3. Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch) – 2,314,806
  4. Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch) – 969,047
  5. Nintendo Switch Sports (Switch) – 887,722
  6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) – 742,018 (5,014,375)
  7. Minecraft (Switch) – 548,415 (2,960,006)
  8. Mario Party Superstars (Switch) – 485,594 (1,114,132)
  9. Super Smash Bros Ultimate (Switch) – 441,053 (5,065,191)
  10. Elden Ring (PS4) – 356,711

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet definitely have the advantage of consisting of two games and therefore having twice the sales numbers, but we can’t discount just how successful that game was regardless of the classic Pokémon double-release.

What is truly stunning is just how close the second-place star Splatoon 3 is to first place’s numbers when taking the previous note into account. Splatoon 3 was a critical hit for the Japanese market.

So when we see that 9 out of the 10 top games sold in Japan were Nintendo Switch games, it’s a no-brainer that the console itself would be at the top of the 2022 hardware charts. Similarly to the software charts, the hardware’s lifetime sales numbers in Japan are also included:

  1. Nintendo Switch – 4,804,546 (27,724,047)
  2. PlayStation 5 – 1,154,054 (2,377,389)
  3. Xbox Series X|S – 269,737 (398,395)
  4. PlayStation 4 – 22,823 (9,414,767)
  5. Nintendo 2DS/3DS – 10,449 (24,597,897)

What really surprised me here was the presence of the Nintendo 2DS/3DS. Sure, ten thousand isn’t a huge number compared to four million, but I’m honestly surprised that the little handheld placed in the charts. It’s the little console that could.

As for the PlayStation 5, it seems like stock shortages of the console could be to blame for its loss to the Nintendo Switch here, while the Xbox Series X|S simply doesn’t have as large of an audience as the former two.

According to VGC, this is the 18th year in a row that Nintendo has dominated the Japanese sales charts in either software or hardware (this time, it’s both). So what about before then?

Well, 2004 was the year of the PlayStation 2 in Japan, with the Sony console beating the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo GameCube, as well as Dragon Quest VIII for the PlayStation 2 topping the software charts that year. On top of that, 8 out of the 10 top games were PlayStation 2 titles.

Perhaps these numbers struck fear in Nintendo’s heart, as ever since then it has reigned supreme in the Japanese sales charts. That being said, 2004 was a sign of Nintendo’s consoles at the time aging out of what was possible in video game technology, so we’ll have to wait and see what this year has in store for the 6-year-old Nintendo Switch.

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