nabiki-tendo-001-20161104Good evening, readers, and happy Friday.

Tonight, we’ll be rolling out a new feature on the Herald, which will certainly tickle the fancies of the gamers in the audience! Starting tonight, we’ll be offering condensed weekly analyses of Japan’s Media Create charts.

Truth be told, this isn’t exactly a new feature, per se. Over the past two years, I’ve been writing these up for fun. I’d tinker away and produce¬†light analyses of the weekly charts during my lunch break, or random blocks of free time. Every week, I’d post these to social site Reddit, and just open the floor to discussion.

Now, I’d like to hopefully bring that spirit to all of you, readers.

Over the years, I’ve received a couple of questions that arise fairly often. I’ll be answering these below:

Why Japanese game sales?

Basically, it boils down to availability and detail. Japan is the only region with regular releases of detailed statistics on a weekly basis from not one, but three providers (Media Create, Famitsu, Dengeki).

In North America, researching firm NPD generally discloses their charts once monthly, and they don’t provide detailed numbers outside of exceptional cases. Basically, access to the data is a minimum of $10,000 American, plus you’re not allowed to publish hard numbers without both NPD and the involved company’s approval. We get some numbers from NeoGAF leaks, but even then they’re disguised in vagary.

This wasn’t always the case – it used to be that NPD would provide numbers, going back to the mid-HD generation. Their policies changed, though, leading to our current situation. And don’t get me started on Europe’s opaque black box, or the total lack of counts for Australia or greater Asia. That’s like throwing a match into a box and counting the embers that fly up in the cloud of smoke. There’s almost no public reporting whatsoever, so everything is obscured.

Unfortunately, this means that, as of now, it’s just not feasible to do regular work on global totals, as we don’t have a regular source of data. Japan’s convenient and plentiful counts are a godsend in this case.

On the plus side, Japan does offer a microcosm of the larger relevant market. It’s a small, self-contained data where we can trace trends and track the overall health of a major market, which can be helpful in predicting global performance.

Why Media Create?

Honestly, it’s mostly a matter of preference. Media Create, though it doesn’t factor in digital sales, tends to be the most reliable and consistent of the three major weekly charts in Japan. Famitsu and Dengeki also host their own charts, which also have their fans.

I’ll sometimes reference Famitsu‘s charts when talking about sell-through, as they provide a good “range” on week-one.

Why do you make fun of [System X]?

Honestly, I’ve made it a point to make a little joke about an under-performing console, or a product that has an exceptionally low week to defuse drive-by bullshit. This tends to be a regular occurrence on sites like NeoGAF, which and it can easily derail a good conversation. By making the wisecrack early, the joke’s already been made, we already had a chuckle, and show’s over.

Will you have charts?

Probably not. Again, I write these up in my free time, mostly for the sake of fun. If I have time, I’ll make a chart, but this would be a rare occurrence overall.

With this in mind, I look forward to talking a bit about video games with everyone! Feel free to leave comments, and I’ll always do my best to reply. Just note that console warrior bravado will not be tolerated. We’re all just here to have fun, right?