News: Fiscal Year 2018

PS4 Continues to Dominate the Console Landscape

This week we have seen the financial year reporting from Sony and fourth quater reporting from Nintendo Nintendo, and it will probably surprise nobody that both companies are continuing strong. As of the end of financial year 2018, the PS4 now sits at a total of 96.8 million units of hardware sold. We are now firmly into the tail end of the PS4’s lifecycle, selling fewer units of hardware in 2018 than in 2017, 17.8 million units of hardware in 2018 to 2017’s 19 million units of hardware, yet overall Playstation brought in more money during 2018 due to increased software sales.

...But hardware sales have slowed this year.

PS4 is still going strong…

In 2017 Playstation accrued 1,943.8 billion Yen in sales, and 177.5 billion Yen in operating income, while in 2018 Playstation brought in 2,310.9 billion Yen in sales, and 311.1 billion Yen in operating income. Sony are predicting that in 2019 they will bring in 2,300 billion Yen in sales, and 280 billion Yen in operating income. Sony are actually predicting game sales to increase in 2019, but they have fewer first party titles to release in 2019, so they are anticipating a smaller slice of that particular pie. This also informs us that Sony are not planning on releasing the PS5 before April of 2020, so the PS4 has at least a year ahead of it.

The Switch Continues Strong, But Disappoints Predictions

Meanwhile the Nintendo Switch has continued its strong run, selling 2.47 million units of hardware during the fourth quarter, bringing the total number of Switches sold up to 34.74 million units. This means that Nintendo has sold 16.95 million units of Switch hardware for the year, which is a little over 3 million units short of their initial prediction of selling 20 million Switches over the course of the year. During the same period of time Nintendo sold 23.91 million units of software, bringing the total number of Switch games sold up to 187.52 million units. It will likely take the Switch just one more quarter to beat the software sales of the GameCube, though obviously the GameCube did not have the cheap digital-only purchases available to the Switch.

... But, again, hardware sales have failed to meet expectation.

Nintendo Switch continues to impress…

The performance of the 3DS has slowed right down over the course of 2018. The fourth quarter saw just 240,000 units of 3DS hardware sold, bringing the total number of 3DS hardware sold up to 75.08 million consoles sold. Over the same period Nintendo has managed to sell 2.15 million units of 3DS software, bringing the total number of 3DS software sold up to 378.12 million units. It now makes total sense that Nintendo is exploring the feasibility of releasing a smaller and cheaper SKU of Switch hardware, since the 3DS is obviously on life support. Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furukawa has stated that he is not planning on unveiling any new hardware at this year’s E3, but this does not necessarily mean much since Nintendo has not attended E3 in an official capacity for several years now. Finally, the poor old Wii U has managed to sell 160,000 units of software for the quarter, bringing the total number up to 102.85 million units of software.

In related news Nintendo’s top ten list of best selling Switch software now stands at:

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – 16.69 million units
2. Super Mario Odyssey – 14.44 million units
3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – 13.81 million units
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 12.77 million units
5. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! – 10.63 million units
6. Splatoon 2 – 8.70 million units
7. Super Mario Party – 6.40 million units
8. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – 3.31 million units
9. 1-2 Switch – 2.97 million units
10. Mario Tennis Aces – 2.64 million units

It still hurts to see Xenoblade Chronicles 2 not make the list, especially given that 1-2 Switch still makes the grade. That said, the remainder of the list looks pretty solid. Good job Nintendo.

Japan Ranks the Top Twenty Vidya Games of the Heisei Period

Famitsu has previous polled readers about their pick for the top video games of the Heisei period, and have released the results this week. The Heisei period spans the reign of Japanese Emperor Akihito, beginning January 8 1989 and ending on April 30 2019 when the Emperor abdicates. It basically begins during the later years of the Famicom and stretches all the way to present. Needless to say this era encompasses all of gaming greatest years, as well as some of its worst. The list is as follows:

... As is the baffling inclusion of the dreadful Final Fantasy XV.

Final Fantasy IX is a conspicuous absence…

1. Chrono Trigger
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
3. NieR: Automata
4. Final Fantasy VII
5. Okami
6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
7. Final Fantasy X
8. Pokémon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow
9. Dragon Quest V
10. Xenogears
11. Vainglory
12. Suikoden II
13. Mother 2 (Earthbound)
14. Splatoon 2
15. Tactics Ogre
16. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (Monster Hunter Freedom Unite)
17. Kingdom Hearts
17. (tie) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
19. Final Fantasy XV
20. Final Fantasy XI
20. (tie) Pokémon Diamond & Pearl

This list is reassuring given how many polls tend to be heavily dominated by recent releases. That is not to say that it is completely free of modern preoccupation, as Splatoon 2 and Final Fantasy XV likely will not stand the test of time. Nier Automata is fine, but a little over valued nonetheless. Chrono Trigger definitely deserves its place at the top of the list, being the closest we have ever come to JRPG perfection. Final Fantasy VII has definitely been under valued here, as there in no world in which it should have been beat out by Automata. The absence of Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy VI is also a little disconcerting, though it is not all that surprising given that the Final Fantasy games that made the list are the two highest selling entries in the series, followed by the newest entry in the series, and the first online entry in the series. The most heartening aspect of the list is the fact that several non-Final Fantasy JRPGs in the Squaresoft stable have received the recognition that they deserve. Xenogears and even Chrono Trigger (to an extent) are often overshadowed by Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts so it is good to see them so fondly remembered as being some of the greatest games of the last thirty years.

5 comments on “News: Fiscal Year 2018”

  1. That list is VERY RPG heavy, which is encouraging. It means that the Japanese at least still appreciate the pinnacle of the video game form: the JRPG.

  2. 160k units of WiiU games for the quarter? That’s actually better than what I would have guessed!

    That Famitsu list seems pretty good, though I’m surprised that Dragon Quest didn’t have a stronger presence. Time will tell if Nier Automata’s placement is due to recency bias, but I suspect that it is not, at least completely. It is a very, very good game. Chrono Trigger makes complete sense at the top. I would have had either that or Final Fantasy 6 in the top spot…which didn’t make the list?????

  3. 160K Wii U games is *mind-blowing*. They must be going at rock-bottom prices if they are shipping that many units, probably pennied-out for sale in bargain bins at $5 each.

    Cannot figure out why FF6 is not on the list. Like I said on the podcast, there are some baffling exclusions/inclusions with regard to the series.

    And I protest: Nier Automata is a good game, sure, but it’s nothing like a Chrono Trigger or an FF7, and in twenty years no one will be playing it again. People will still be playing FF6, though!

  4. I think a lot of those Wii U games would likely be downloads. People picking up indie titles that they may have missed initially. There is a modest but substantial group of gamers who still passionately enjoy the Wii U (similar to the Dreamcast), and as they work their way through their game collections they will be looking for more Wii U games they may have missed. If people are ever able to crack Wii U disc security to allow the playback of unlicensed discs on non-cracked systems, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Wii U receiving new games ten years from now, the same as the Dreamcast.

    With FFVI, I think that may have missed the list for two reasons. 1. Its SNES sales were historically low by modern FF standards, since the series didn’t explode in popularity until FFVII. 2. I think that the people who would have chosen VI, instead decided to choose CT. From memory, the Famitsu poll asked people to pick their favourite game of the era, so fans of SNES RPGs overwhelmingly favoured CT to the expense of VI.

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