According to reports from Japanese publisher Enterbrain, as translated by the Game-Science game website, the Japanese video game industry grew by 6 percent in 2005. Software sales were actually down on 2004, but hardware sales were up an impressive 46.9 percent.
The increase follows several years of decline that some observers had thought to be irreversible. The change in fortunes has been led by the Nintendo DS, with over 4 million units sold in Japan during 2005. The PSP was in second place with around 2,220,000 units sold, with the PlayStation 2 in third with 2,130,000 units sold.
Total revenue for the Japanese industry in 2005 was put at ¥454.73 billion ($3.98 billion). A total figure for the U.S. in 2005 is not yet known, but it is expected to be slightly down on the 2004 figure (including PC games sales) of $11 billion, according to some analysts.
Figures for the UK were recently announced by Chart-Track
and showed a similar 34 percent rise in hardware sales and a 2.6 percent rise in software. The overall software market in the UK in 2005 generated revenues of £1.350 billion ($2.374 billion).
Further growth for the Japanese market is expected in 2006, with the launch of the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution. Whether the existing portable formats will remain as popular in the face of the new home formats though will be one of the most important factors in the coming years.