Despite closing the year on a high note with the holiday shopping boom, the retail industry in the Land of the Rising Sun is feeling the rough effects of the recession – slumping 15% over the course of 2008.

Both hardware and software sales were down, though software didn’t fare quite so poorly. Yes, they dropped 7.9% compared to the previous year, but compared to the sharp 23.5% drop in hardware sales, that’s almost balmy.

Japan is one of the most expensive countries in which to live in the entire world, and it’s not very surprising to see that as recession forces us all to tighten our belts, consumers might be shying away from more expensive luxury goods (and let’s face it: videogames are certainly a luxury good). The strength of the yen and a more price-wary Western audience means that the once-mighty Japanese export market isn’t as profitable as it used to be, either.

Of course, the fact that this steep decline in profits isn’t exactly unexpected doesn’t mean that it’s any less unfortunate.


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