Japan is a very important territory for the video games industry. Although it is smaller than either the USA or Europe, what happens in Asia can affect the rest of the world's markets substantially.
Which is why the fact that the Playstation 3 has caught up substantially with the Wii during June is big news. The Xbox 360 of course is still trailing far behind, and the life support machine should probably just be turned off now.
I've spoken before about what can influence gamers purchasing decisions about which console they are going to buy. And let's not forget that most people haven't yet bought a current-gen console, so the market is still to play for. Although price, advertising, peer pressure and graphics can all help a console to sell, the largest factor has to be the games.
And that was the case in Japan for June, with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4 reportedly helping the PS3 to close the gap with the Nintendo Wii in terms of monthly sales. The game sees the last outing for Solid Snake, and has been hailed as one of the best games ever released for any console.
According to Enterbrain, via a translation and article on PC World, the Wii sold 235,990 console during a five-week period ending June 29th. In the same time frame, Sony managed to shift 139,494 units of the Playstation 3. So the Wii sill won by a fair old margin, but when you consider that the sales ratio has dropped from six-to-one in the Wii's favour during May, to just one-point-seven-to-one for June, it's not a bad result.
Enterbrain has claimed that this data shows the Wii's lead failing, but the result has clearly been influenced by the release of Hideo Kojima's masterpiece, and there's no reason to assume the trend will continue in future months. On a month by month basis however, it is a good result for Sony.
The Xbox 360 continues to sell terribly over in the land of the rising sun, but then we all expected that before it was even released. Whether it's to do with the anti-foreign product bias over in Japan, or more about the games not being veered towards the Japanese market is up for debate.
If it's the latter though, then the Japanese are losing out badly. While western gamers are enjoying gems such as Gears Of War and Halo 3, the otaku can keep on playing their horse racing and life simulation games.
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