Japan Sizes Up Quake Damage to Game Industry
Over a month after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that laid waste to a large swath of northeastern Japan, the nation’s game industry is starting to show signs of going back to normal. Still, the disaster exacted a serious toll on hardware and software makers. Enterbrain, publishers of Famitsu in Japan, estimated the total financial damage so far at 7.33 billion yen, or about $ 89.1 million — and according to at least one analyst, that figure could go up sharply if console manufacturers like Nintendo and Sony have trouble getting their factories back online.
“Software packaging is largely manufactured overseas, so that’s not as much a concern as consoles are,” SMBC senior analyst Eiji Maeda told Famitsu this week. “There is a chance that hardware manufacturers will run short of console parts which are made in Japan. It remains to be seen how well companies can prepare for the holiday season this year — manufacturing for that season usually begins around August, so it’ll be key for the companies to find new component sources and get their processes back in action by then.”
Game software sales in Japan totaled 1.70 billion yen in March according to Enterbrain, down about 30 percent from the same period in 2010. Around three dozen console and portable games due out in March or April were either cancelled or delayed, putting extra pressure on third parties’ bottom lines. March is traditionally a busy season for games in Japan since the nation’s financial year ends on that month, and having big-name titles like Ryu ga Gotoku Of The End get delayed beyond March placed even more financial pressure on companies. (Hardware sales were up from 2010, chiefly thanks to the Nintendo 3DS’s launch (pictured above) in late February, but there’s little doubt that the quake put a dent in the system’s Japan sales.)
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