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Last Week's Japanese Game Market Bad, But Not That Bad

Media Create reports some of the worst sales so far this year.


Good news! The Japanese game market did not see its worst performance of 2009 last week. In fact, it was only the second worst week so far this year, just barely beating out the prior week, the worst week of the year, by 1.11%

Media Create's weekly ranking analysis lists 573,589 software units sold for the week covering May 18 through May 24, just ahead of the 567,267 units sold the week prior. That week was the lowest in 2009 for both software and hardware sales.

Sloan and McHale, Level-5's latest casual-oriented game.

The number one game for the week was Level-5's third original self-published title, Sloan and McHale's Story of Mystery (DS), which debuted this week with 43,501 units. Media Create reports varied sell-through rates for the title, with some stores selling out.

Regarding the game's sub-fifty-thousand performance, the tracker notes that this figure may not be indicative of a slow start, as Level-5's previous original releases, the first Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven, ended up selling respectively seven times and nine times their initial week sales. (Read about Sloan and McHale here.)

Sega's Let's Make a Pro Baseball Team! 2 (DS) debuted this week in second with 39,273 units sold. This was a ways lower than the original's debut at 59,000 units back in 2008. Sega was apparently expecting more this time, as it only managed to sell through 49.24% of stock, compared to the 81.88% sell-through of the original. (Read about Let's Make a Pro Baseball Team 2 here.)

Mass Effect (Microsoft, Xbox 360) came in at third with 17,502 units sold in its first week. Yes, it took Microsoft a year and a half to localize the game. As far as I know, the company never provided a clear reason for the lengthy localization process, although it may have something to do with the mountains of text in the game.

The rest of the top 10 consisted of older titles. The PSP the Best version of Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (Capcom, PSP) took fourth this week with 14,329 units. Last week's number number one, Bleach Heat the Soul 6 (Sony, PSP) fell from 41,558 units to 12,689 units.

Closing out the top 10 were Dragon Ball Kai (Namco Bandai, DS) in 6th with 12,340 units, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of the Sky (Pokemon, DS) in 7th with 12,082 units, Made in Ore (Nintendo, DS) in 8th with 11,169 units, Wii Fit (Nintendo, Wii) in 9th with 10,168 units, and Mario & Luigi RPG!!! (Nintendo, DS) in 10th with 8,742 units. (Read about Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai's Made in Ore mini game here.)

Debuting outside the top ten this week were Guilty X Not Guilty (Namco Bandai, DS) at 18, SNK Arcade Classics Vol.1 (SNK Playmore, PSP) at 22, and Takt of Magic (Nintendo, Wii) at 25. The former plays off the public interest surrounding the introduction of the jury system to Japanese courts.

Hardware rankings remained unchanged this week from last week. DSi topped the charts with 33,833 units, down from last week's 34,152 units. PSP fell a bit as well, down from last week's 28,683 units to 27,536 units. DS Lite rose from 4,888 to 5,631 units.

Wii topped the consoles with 16,233 units, a slight increase from last week's 15,116 units. PS3 fell a bit from last week's 11,605 units to 10,932 units. Xbox 360 saw a slight increase from last week's 3,233 units to 3,854 units, but still failed to beat the PS2.

Media Create reports that the Wii crossed the 8 million mark over the week. Enterbrain's figures saw this feat crossed a month earlier.

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