Despite Nintendo's record sales and profits for the financial year ended March 2009, figures released by the company as part of its fiscal reporting reveal the extent of the decline in sales being experienced in its home territory of Japan.
According to the financial records, every measure for hardware and software sales - with the exception of the DSi, which was only released during the last fiscal year - fell in Japan, while rising significantly in the rest of the world.
Overall DS hardware sales fell from 6.4 million in 2007-8 to 4.0 million last year, while North American sales jumped from 10.7 million to 12.1 million, and the rest of the world (particularly Europe and Australia) rose from 13.3 million to 15.1 million.
DS software sales in Japan fell from 39.9 million units in 2007-8 to 31.9 million in the 12 months to the end of March 2009 - compared to a rise in North America from 65.2 million to 81.8 million, and in the rest of the world from 80.6 million to 83.6 million units.
The story is the same for the Wii - domestic hardware sales fell from 3.9 million to 2.1 million, compared with a rise in North America of 8.2 million to 13.0 million and the rest of the world from 6.5 million to 11.0 million consoles.
Meanwhile, Wii software dropped from 14.9 million units to 13.0 million in Japan at the same time that sales jumped from 64.9 million to 113.6 million in North America and from 39.8 million to 77.9 million in the rest of the world.
Nintendo's forecasts for total sales in the next 12 months are generally cautious, with estimates of total DS hardware sales to hit 30 million units and software sales to total around 180 million, both slight falls on the past year.
The company is a little more optimistic with respect to the Wii, however, predicting a marginal increase to 26 million hardware unit sales, and a more generous rise to 220 million pieces of software to the end of March 2010.
The fall in domestic sales, while offset so far by foreign sales, becomes a greater problem as Japan's Yen strengthens, meaning that although sales in the US and Europe might be booming, the profit margin on those goods drops significantly.
The numbers in brief:
Nintendo DS - Hardware (units: FY08-FY09)
Japan: 6.4 million-4.0 million (-37.5%)
North America: 10.7 million-12.1 million (+13.1%)
Rest of the World: 13.3 million-15.1 million (+13.5%)
Nintendo DS - Software
Japan: 39.9 million-31.9 million (-20.1%)
North America: 65.2 million-81.8 million (+25.5%)
Rest of the World: 80.6 million-83.6 million (+3.7%)
Nintendo Wii - Hardware
Japan: 3.9 million-2.1 million (-46.2%)
North America: 8.2 million-13.0 million (+58.5%)
Rest of the World: 6.5 million-11.0 million (+69.2%)
Nintendo Wii - Software
Japan: 14.9 million-13.0 million (-12.8%)
North America: 64.9 million-113.6 million (+75.0%)
Rest of the World: 39.8 million-77.9 million (+95.7%)
I would assume this is because they've saturated their home market.
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