In a 33-Year First, a Single Console Swept Japan’s Game Sales Charts

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(Photo: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona/Unsplash)During the week of August 1st to August 8th, Japanese magazine line Famitsu’s Top 30 chart was made up entirely of Nintendo Switch games. It’s the first time in 33 years that software from a single console has swept Japan’s games sales chart. 

Famitsu Weekly, Japan’s most popular video game publication, has long wielded the responsibility of rounding up weekly numbers for Japanese video game sales. It’s extremely difficult for one console to take over the magazine’s Top 30 chart; while the NES, Super NES, and Game Boy all came close to stealing the spotlight in the ’90s, the last time the charts experienced a complete sweep was in 1988 with the Famicom, Nintendo’s first iteration of what would become the NES. Famitsu Weekly also serves as a place for Japanese publishers to announce new games and Western publishers to source a good chunk of video games news, according to Polygon in 2015.

The historic Top 30 chart includes the likes of Super Mario Party, Miitopia, and Super Mario 3D World. Minecraft tops the chart, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes in fourth. (Though some Nintendo Switch gamers are itching for a new Mario Kart, this version’s long-standing success since its original release in 2014 might just have Nintendo holding out.) Where the PS4’s NEO: The World Ends With You and Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 once stood, Game Builder Garage and the Switch version of NEO have proudly taken up residence. 

A collection of Famitsu Weekly magazines. (Photo: djdac/Flicker)

Famitsu’s sales chart is particularly interesting when contrasted with that of the US. NPD, the American market research group trusted with video game sales statistics, displays a mix of Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, Sony, and Capcom among its most recent Top 10 ranks. There are a few similarities—The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Minecraft, and Mario Golf: Super Rush each make their appearances on both lists—but to no one’s surprise, the US game charts tend to consistently include games made in America, and US-based Xbox and PlayStation consoles make for some steep competition.

While there doesn’t appear to be a definitive reason for Nintendo’s domination of Famitsu’s charts, Switches are easier to acquire now than they’ve been for the last year or so. Japan has also begun re-imposing travel and socialization restrictions as its COVID-19 numbers spike, which means more consumers may be turning to the Switch for at-home entertainment. 

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