Sunday, July 6, 2008

'Metal Gear Solid 4' gives PS3 a sales boost in Japan

It's good to be on top of the heap, Sony discovered for perhaps a brief moment, and today gaming analysts are giving the PS3 a ray of hope for Japan. But that depends on just how carefully you slice the pie, as the market leader remains Nintendo.

Widely circulated reports attributed to Reuters, though not attributed to the Nikkei service, state that the relative ratio of sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 to Nintendo's Wii console, tightened to 1.7 : 1, during a five-week period that ended last week. In that period, the highly anticipated Konami game title Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released in Japan exclusively for the PS3, evidently contributing to sales.

The source of that data, according to Reuters, was Japanese publisher Enterbrain which not only produces video game magazines there, but also manages the Famitsu industry analysis service for retailers.

But a week-by-week check of Japan game console sales on, whose source is the exact same data from Famitsu, presents a very different picture: Indeed, PS3 console sales for the week of June 15 did eclipse Wii sales ever so briefly: 311,836 versus 296,712, during a low sales week for the Wii.

That breakthrough, however, was a momentary blip on the radar, as Wii console sales climbed right back up to 502,764 for Wii versus 158,971 for PS3, during the week of June 29 -- a ratio of 3.16 : 1. Throughout last year, Enterbrain reported sales ratios in the Wii's favor as high as 6:1.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 has never really caught on in Japan, with console sales for the June 29 week at 130,926 and remaining relatively stable.

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