A Computer Entertainment Sales Association (CESA) report on sales in the Japanese video game industry shows that, despite a slight rise in game software sales, overall Japanese-created game hardware and software shipments worldwide in 2004 fell by 19.8% to 909.1 billion yen ($8.44 billion USD).
Software sales increased to 468.4 billion yen ($4.33 billion USD) in 2004, a tally that brought game sales up 9 percent from the previous year, according to the Japanese trade organization. The jump was partly fueled by increased sales of Japanese-made games in the U.S. and Europe, as well as software demand created by the launch of the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.
However, hardware issues bit enough to cause the 19.8% drop in overall sales. A combination of price cuts, market saturation, and hardware shortages contributed to the problem, which caused game hardware sales to drop 37.4% to 440.7 billion yen ($4.08 billion USD).
Within Japan, CESA indicated that hardware and software shipments totalled 436.1 billion yen ($4.04 billion USD), against 446.2 billion yen ($4.13 billion USD) in 2003, down slightly.
Though the Japanese-originated hardware drop may increase as the Western-made Xbox 360 debuts this year, against no new launches from Nintendo or Sony until 2006, the new portable systems and their respective upcoming games may yet gain enough of a userbase to cure the Japanese sales woes for 2005.