Wii U Sales May Be Slowing In Japan, But The PS4 Is Dying Over There

Wii U vs PS4

Nintendo’s little console-that-could is still showing that it can still huff and puff with the big boys, and it’s doing so while entertaining some waning momentum over in the land of the rising sun… if the weekly Media Create sales data is anything to go by. The sales data for the week ending on July 20th has gone live and it shows some dwindling promise for Nintendo’s Wii U, and a near graveyard trip for the PS4.

Gematsu managed to get their hands on the stats from 4Gamers.net, a Japanese gaming website. The stats roll out the following hardware numbers for the consoles in a typical list format. Check it out below.

Hardware Sales (followed by last week’s sales)

  1. 3DS LL – 31,192 (55,531)
  2. PlayStation Vita – 27,352 (38,907)
  3. Wii U – 8,209 (8,658)
  4. PlayStation 3 – 7,389 (7,763)
  5. PlayStation 4 – 6,456 (7,150)
  6. 3DS – 6,185 (6,425)
  7. PlayStation Vita TV – 2,249 (1,803)
  8. PSP – 556 (779)
  9. Xbox 360 – 129 (140)

Dat Xbox 360 failure.

Anyway, the Wii U is slowly dwindling down from being in the double digit sales bracket; it’s still leading on Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has actually managed to drop below the sales of the PS3.

Here’s the thing: previously it was mentioned that the Wii U’s lead on the PlayStation 4 was simply due to Sony’s fourth generation home console not having enough games to lure in the Japanese crowd. ‘The software aren’t Eastern enough’, they said. ‘It just needs more software’, they said. ‘The PS3 is still the better console’, they said.

However, the stats aren’t quite living up to the excuses. The Wii U is still leading on the PlayStation 3 and it has far less software than Sony’s third-generation home console. In fact, the PS3 has two games in the top 10 software charts for the week ending on July 20th, where-as the Wii U only has one game on the chart… Mario Kart 8. The PS4 doesn’t enter onto the list until the 14th spot.

The crazy part about is it that the Wii U is still beating both PlayStation consoles at the moment. What’s worse is that the PS3 is now outselling the PS4 in Japan. What happened?

While we can point fingers at a lack of proper software support, one would at least think that the PS3 would be able to hold its own against the Wii U; it’s not.

At first it seemed novel that the Wii U would be able to take the PlayStation 4 to task in Japan, as we first saw Sony’s latest system dominating early into its launch. But now just barely six months into its appearance on the Japanese market, we’re seeing the PS4 – even with a much larger library than what the Wii U had during a similar period on the market – perform a lot worse. In fact, check out the top 10 stats from last year within the exact same sales period, courtesy of Gematsu.

Hardware Sales (followed by last week’s sales)

  1. 3DS LL – 41,322 (29,594)
  2. 3DS – 15,703 (13,841)
  3. PlayStation Vita – 14,392 (15,662)
  4. Wii U – 14,280 (22,199)
  5. PlayStation 3 – 11,413 (12,698)
  6. PSP – 5,719 (5,830)
  7. Wii – 1,463 (1,434)
  8. Xbox 360 – 420 (393)

The Wii U is almost down by 40% of what it was moving last year during the same period. The PS3 is also down compared to the previous year, too. Heck, everything is down in Japan. Now even if you want to say that the Wii U’s launch in December gives it a two month advantage on the PS4, you can check out the stats from May (which would be the equivalent time period in which both systems would have been on the market in Japan) courtesy of Gematsu.

  1. 3DS LL – 24,123 (33,351)
  2. 3DS – 13,001 (16,412)
  3. PlayStation 3 – 10,948 (12,793)
  4. PlayStation Vita – 10,931 (12,331)
  5. PSP – 6,524 (6,360)
  6. Wii U – 6,037 (7,974)
  7. Wii – 1,143 (1,506)
  8. Xbox 360 – 349 (485)

Now of course, it should be noted that this was during the three month period when the Wii U had suffered a major software shortage due to third-party lockout, had no big games pushing sales and was dying in the hype department worse than Don King trying to make a Mike Tyson comeback possible.

The difference, however, is that there’s no shortage of games coming out (or currently out) for the PS4, as Sony has done a marvelous job of keeping all manner of games across a wide variety of genres flowing onto the system. While it may lack AAA exclusives on a regular basis, the ones that it does have haven’t done much to sway or get the attention of the Japanese audience… at all.

Nevertheless, it looks as if Nintendo has the favor of the far east, for now. The company has a good chance to revitalize some of the waning sales momentum for the Wii U this August and September with games like Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2 over in Japan. Those titles also fit the “Japanese niche” that so many talk about in regards to games fitting cultural trends. The real question is how and when will the PS4 make a comeback in its home country?

TL;DR: The Wii U sales momentum is fading in Japan. The PS4 has no momentum at all and the hardware sales are dying in Japan.


OAG staff consists of writers creating content about video game and digital culture.

35 thoughts on “Wii U Sales May Be Slowing In Japan, But The PS4 Is Dying Over There

  1. well it hardly has any of the kind of games that japanese people like like visual novels, jrpg’s, etc. No fighting games either… Only a bunch of multiplat western games.

    1. Dynasty Warriors, Knack, a bunch of strategy games I’ve never heard of from Koei Tecmo, Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! and some other stuff have launched in Japan that could be considered Eastern-centric. None of them have been enough to garner interest, though.

      I do agree that they might need some kind of a fighting game to really boost appeal.

    2. If XBOX ONE pulls its cards right with 5Bp and other developers/publisher, they may take the Visual Novel crowed this gen from Sony.

      1. Not a chance. VNs are popular on PSP, Vita, and smartphones aka low powered portable systems.

      2. Sorry what I meant was taking the crown on the Home Console front, your right no console will strip the handheld/portable scene of their visual novels.

      3. LOL. Xbox consoles in general have never been popular in Japan, nor do such genres like JRPG’s & fighters sell well on them compared to Nintendo’s handhelds & Playstation consoles & handhelds.

      1. In the words of Wii U fans:
        “Wait until [insert game/s] and you’ll see a boost”

        Likewise, I expect a PS4 boost post TGS and when those shown games get released as well.

  2. All I can see on that list is a flatlined 360. Really? 2000 units less than the Wii U and its “dying”?
    If the Xbone will be selling 900 units less than its last gen console like the PS3 is over PS4, then it is DEAD ON ARRIVAL in September.

    1. yes its dying, it was over hyped to hell like it was going to reign supreme in japan…fact: it didnt.

      but keep making excuses, its adorable.

      1. No it was not over hyped. Most people with a clue about sales thought it would launch at about 300k and it did so.


        6 of the top 30 are PS4 games, 9 are PS3 games, 3 are Vita games. More than half are on Sony systems, not bad.

        As more of those “most wanted” PS4 games launch, and devs shift from PS3 to PS4, gamers will switch over. It’s far from “dead”.

        The PS3+PS4 “family” is doing relatively ok in Japan. Unlike other markets PS3 in Japan has a long tail and continues to see significant Japanese dev support. Vita is also doing pretty well in Japan.

  3. Japan hasn’t mattered in the big picture since generation 6. PS3 wasn’t a huge success in Japan either. Sales will be made up in the growing European market and in China.

    1. Early first quarter console launches in China seem to be pretty thin, though. XB1 is only going to launch 100k consoles this September and the PS4 will have a pretty thin production run in mainland China.

      The following quarters might see a growing consumer demand for the products, but 100k SKUs isn’t showing a heck of a lot of confidence. It’s more of a wildcard than a surefire bet this generation.

      1. The big picture is the PS4 is still the fastest selling system. The last time I checked it’s almost has more than 1 million units more than the Wii1 life to date. So articles like these I gotta say is.. “So what?”

      2. Well if you remember correctly, Nintendo had major issues with shipping enough Wiis. It was hard to get a Wii for about a whole year. If they had forseen the Wii being such a hit on day 1, they would have shipped more consoles and sold more.

      3. Well it kinda is a big deal when the home country doesn’t even want to buy the product. It has all kinds of implications.

      4. and if they don’t have the right games to keep the momentum going…then it doesn’t even matter. who’s gonna care when that momentum slows down without the proper draw for gamers?

  4. I actually think the sales figures for this week and next week might be a little bit lower considering most people are probably waiting out the two weeks for the Last of Us Bundled PS4. I think we will see a rise of PS4’s sold everywhere when it hits.. followed by a larger spike when the White PS4 bundled with Destiny hits.. That is going to be slick, and even though I already have one.. I kind of want a white one.. LOL

  5. Understandable. I’m sure though at the moment Sony is focusing on maintaining it’s current sales lead in the US; i.e. Xbox’s home territory.

    1. Sony is focusing on maintaining it’s current sales lead in the US

      I kind of get the same feeling from their current marketing efforts. The PS2 was definitely way more Japan-oriented with their early launch titles and market focus, and I thought the PS3 was kind of evenly split between their focus, but the PS4 definitely seems more U.S., oriented.

  6. PS4 is going to live again with Japan-oriented games… just wait.
    I’m a “PlayStation guy” since my childhood, but still I’m not even interested on PS4, too many shooters, right now, I’m waiting for something new or back from the PS1/PS2 era to buy a PS4… and yeah, something like a new Crash Bandicoot, a new Jak & Daxter or a new PlayStation All-Stars would make me buy it in no time.

  7. Looks like Japan just doesn’t enjoy console gaming so much.

    M$ made a wise move with their Japanese strategy.

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