Surprising absolutely no one, the 3DS continues to make Japan squeal like a suckling pig. But the Media Create sales data for February 11-17 is a little more fascinating than usual -- nine of the top ten pieces of software are 3DS titles, the Dragon Quest VII 3DS remake taking top honors once again. The one non-3DS game on the list is Taiko no Tatsujin Wii: Super Deluxe Edition at #4, and the first non-Nintendo title on the chart is the PSP visual novel Sakura-Sou no Pet na Kanojo at #12, right underneath New Super Mario Bros. U.
It's understandable that Nintendo handhelds rule the roost in ol' Nihon, but we haven't seen domination like this since the heights of the DS, when the entire top ten was populated by DS software. That's to be expected when the 3DS hardware itself is selling at least twice as much as all other platforms combined (97,971 vs. 48,384 this past week).
Whenever I consider 3DS' high performance in Japan, I get frustrated by the portable's much colder reception everywhere else. Why can't the 3DS be just as successful here, huh? I get that Japan's mobile-friendly, public transit-loving atmosphere fosters a better environment for handhelds, but is there no way to demonstrate that same value in other regions?
Even when the DS was smashing records worldwide, Western regions placed it on a lower rung compared to home consoles. This was made even more apparent by the software library -- Japanese devs showed a lot of appreciation whereas Western devs showed much less care and respect.
And what of consumers themselves? Handhelds may not be alluring because they can't be played on big home theater screens, but the tradeoff is that you can play them pretty much anywhere else: in the bathroom, on the porch, on the couch while friends or family watch something else on TV, etc. Plus, there's just something appealing about having a personal, isolated window into a game world, free from prying eyes and other distractions.
I accept that my gaming habits don't align with my peers, that a lot of you place more stock in home console gaming or even eschew portables altogether. I just wonder if there is any way to turn perception of dedicated handhelds around in the West and show that they can be every bit as compelling as the big boys.