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Leading console games in Japan 2019

The best-selling video games for home consoles in Japan in 2019 were Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, which together sold more than 3.7 million units during that year. Both titles were released in November of the same year and became the fastest-selling titles for the Nintendo Switch, selling more than six million units worldwide within the first week. This surpassed the record previously held by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which had managed to sell more than five million units globally within its first week.

The Japanese video game market

The Japanese video game market is the third biggest gaming market in the world. While the lion’s share of the market is held by the smartphone, console gaming continues to be a large market worth several hundred billion Japanese yen. With Nintendo and Sony, Japan is home to two of the big console manufacturers, and these domestic brands have become very entrenched within the lives of Japanese consumers. Ever since the release of the first Xbox in Japan back in 2002, Microsoft had trouble gaining a significant share of the market.

Hardware sales of gaming consoles

Cumulative unit sales of handheld and home video game consoles show that the Nintendo Switch is currently reigning supreme in Japan. As the PlayStation 4 neared the end of its life cycle, the Nintendo Switch and its handheld-only version, the Nintendo Switch Lite, were the leading console brands based on unit sales in 2019. While the home console market saw an increase in sales revenue after the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch in 2017 and a heightened demand after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, handheld consoles seem to become more and more obsolete due to the availability of mobile gaming via smartphones. Sony stated in 2019 that the company had no plans for a future handheld console.

Total sales volume of best-selling video games for consoles in Japan in 2019

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Values include both downloads and physical sales.
Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Console gaming in Japan"

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