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Japanese games may not have been as popular on PS1 in US as the myths had you believe (Sales of PS1 games NPD)

Digital Gex

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I was exploring the caverns of Neogaf and I found a couple threads showing the top selling games for PlayStation and Nintendo 64. While the N64 was a bit more mixed, for PS1 many people have revised history about how popular japanese games were from Ridge Racer to Jrpgs. Turns out it may have just been a loud minority that's been pushing this narrative. http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~hokora/index.html (Use wayback machine)

Top 25 NPD PS1 games

  1. 3,261,557 PSX Gran Turismo (Sony)
  2. 3,156,882 PSX Gran Turismo 2 (Sony)
  3. 3,120,190 PSX Crash Bandicoot 2 (Sony)
  4. 3,056,691 PSX Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (Sony)
  5. 2,948,058 PSX Frogger (Atari)
  6. 2,756,288 PSX Spyro the Dragon (Sony)
  7. 2,751,213 PSX Crash Bandicoot (Sony)
  8. 2,701,372 PSX Tekken 3 (Namco)
  9. 2,628,911 PSX Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Activision)
  10. 2,623,706 PSX Driver (Activision)
  11. 2,513,441 PSX Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (Activision)
  12. 2,457,962 PSX Final Fantasy VII (SquareSoft)
  13. 2,435,785 PSX Metal Gear Solid (Konami)
  14. 2,197,590 PSX WWE Warzone (Acclaim)
  15. 2,056,246 PSX Driver 2 (Atari)
  16. 2,031,548 PSX Namco Museum Vol. 3 (Namco)
  17. 1,913,888 PSX Final Fantasy VIII (SquareSoft)
  18. 1,909,410 PSX Crash Team Racing (Sony)
  19. 1,885,919 PSX Resident Evil (Capcom)
  20. 1,872,640 PSX Tomb Raider (Eidos)
  21. 1,782,076 PSX Tomb Raider 2 (Eidos)
  22. 1,753,966 PSX Tekken 2 (Namco)
  23. 1,748,631 PSX Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
  24. 1,743,961 PSX Twisted Metal 2 (Sony)
  25. 1,740,721 PSX Spyro the Dragon 2: Ripto's Rage (Sony)
From this list you have a large swath of American PS1 games while much touted games such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy aren't even in the top 10. Ina addition, GTurismo only seems to be at the top because of being included with PlayStations for a period of time

This is completely different than the N64 list for example.

  1. 5,943,556 N64 Super Mario 64 (Nintendo)
  2. 5,019,092 N64 Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo)
  3. 4,796,623 N64 Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo)
  4. 3,543,388 N64 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo)
  5. 2,741,914 N64 Pokemon Stadium (Nintendo)
  6. 2,546,810 N64 Super Smash Brothers (Nintendo)
  7. 2,500,609 N64 Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo)
  8. 2,403,652 N64 Star Fox 64 (Nintendo)
  9. 2,336,132 N64 Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo)
  10. 1,916,105 N64 Pokemon Snap (Nintendo)
  11. 1,731,758 N64 Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire (Nintendo)
  12. 1,706,024 N64 Wave Race 64 (Nintendo)
  13. 1,632,896 N64 Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Nintendo)
  14. 1,628,721 N64 WCW/NWO Revenge (THQ)
  15. 1,616,250 N64 Banjo-Kazooie (Nintendo)
  16. 1,499,017 N64 Star Wars Episode 1: Racer (LucasArts)
  17. 1,486,612 N64 Cruisin USA (Nintendo)
  18. 1,406,132 N64 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (Activision)
  19. 1,380,864 N64 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (LucasArts)
  20. 1,297,490 N64 Perfect Dark (Nintendo )
  21. 1,149,182 N64 Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (Acclaim)
  22. 1,139,096 N64 WCW vs. NWO: World Tour (THQ)
  23. 1,105,117 N64 Yoshi's Story (Nintendo)
  24. 1,102,867 N64 Mario Party 2 (Nintendo)
  25. 1,077,769 N64 1080 Snowboarding (Nintendo)
Much more even with N64, although there's still a slight lead by one for US titles. Considering third parties not really liking Nintendo consoles this list isn't surprising, however with the PS1 it is rather earth shattering to see things like Tony Hawk doing better than several darlings to the loud minority crowd.
 

Dane

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I see plenty of Japanese games on this list, if you're talking about smaller ones, then of course they won't make the top 25, but for sure they had great numbers, especially when making these games were way cheaper.

Also, the fact is that games of any origin can be strong sellers in the US-Europe, while in Japan, it sticks almost entirely to their own games, I think only Crash Bandicoot was a hit there during the 32 bit era.
 

Danny Dudekisser

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Uhhh there are a lot of Japanese games on the list, and people who say Japanese games were popular back then aren't necessarily talking about sales figures - they basically dominated the conversation about video games. How many people were actually talking about Frogger?
 

Aion002

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10 Japanese games including the first and second place on PS.....


 

Digital Gex

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Uhhh there are a lot of Japanese games on the list, and people who say Japanese games were popular back then aren't necessarily talking about sales figures - they basically dominated the conversation about video games. How many people were actually talking about Frogger?

So you use that put not the other games like Tony Hawk and friends? There are japanese games on the list but the sales are lopsided toward one.
 

BigBooper

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Have you ever heard of the elusive otaku? There's a reason those stereotypes exist. They often have the loudest voice.
 
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Danny Dudekisser

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So you use that put not the other games like Tony Hawk and friends? There are japanese games on the list but the sales are lopsided toward one.

I don't know what these sentences even mean, but you're trying awfully hard to prove this point.
 

KellyM

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Wasn't Mario 64, Pokemon and Zelda also bundled?




You are trying to show that Japanese PS1 games didn't matter as much as people think... Right? Why?
It probably has to do with ps4 and ps5 software by Sony software mainly being developed by western developers instead of Japanese ones like the past.
 

FStubbs

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If you want to say jRPGs were never huge sellers, that may be true. But PS1 had a good mix of Japanese and Western games. It wasn't until PS3 that western games started to truly dominate on the platform.
 
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petran79

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You mean Castlevania Symphony of the Night, right? Despite not reaching 1 million, sales were much higher than Castlevania IV on the SNES and all other 8 and 16bit Castlevania titles.


Ridge Racer and Tekken were far more popular in arcades. But regarding JRPGs, anything outside Final Fantasy was not as popular. In fact even today I discover franchises that would be impossible to hear from back then
 
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yurinka

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I was exploring the caverns of Neogaf and I found a couple threads showing the top selling games for PlayStation and Nintendo 64. While the N64 was a bit more mixed, for PS1 many people have revised history about how popular japanese games were from Ridge Racer to Jrpgs. Turns out it may have just been a loud minority that's been pushing this narrative. http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~hokora/index.html (Use wayback machine)

Top 25 NPD PS1 games

  1. 3,261,557 PSX Gran Turismo (Sony)
  2. 3,156,882 PSX Gran Turismo 2 (Sony)
  3. 3,120,190 PSX Crash Bandicoot 2 (Sony)
  4. 3,056,691 PSX Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (Sony)
  5. 2,948,058 PSX Frogger (Atari)
  6. 2,756,288 PSX Spyro the Dragon (Sony)
  7. 2,751,213 PSX Crash Bandicoot (Sony)
  8. 2,701,372 PSX Tekken 3 (Namco)
  9. 2,628,911 PSX Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Activision)
  10. 2,623,706 PSX Driver (Activision)
  11. 2,513,441 PSX Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (Activision)
  12. 2,457,962 PSX Final Fantasy VII (SquareSoft)
  13. 2,435,785 PSX Metal Gear Solid (Konami)
  14. 2,197,590 PSX WWE Warzone (Acclaim)
  15. 2,056,246 PSX Driver 2 (Atari)
  16. 2,031,548 PSX Namco Museum Vol. 3 (Namco)
  17. 1,913,888 PSX Final Fantasy VIII (SquareSoft)
  18. 1,909,410 PSX Crash Team Racing (Sony)
  19. 1,885,919 PSX Resident Evil (Capcom)
  20. 1,872,640 PSX Tomb Raider (Eidos)
  21. 1,782,076 PSX Tomb Raider 2 (Eidos)
  22. 1,753,966 PSX Tekken 2 (Namco)
  23. 1,748,631 PSX Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
  24. 1,743,961 PSX Twisted Metal 2 (Sony)
  25. 1,740,721 PSX Spyro the Dragon 2: Ripto's Rage (Sony)
From this list you have a large swath of American PS1 games while much touted games such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy aren't even in the top 10. Ina addition, GTurismo only seems to be at the top because of being included with PlayStations for a period of time

This is completely different than the N64 list for example.

  1. 5,943,556 N64 Super Mario 64 (Nintendo)
  2. 5,019,092 N64 Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo)
  3. 4,796,623 N64 Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo)
  4. 3,543,388 N64 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo)
  5. 2,741,914 N64 Pokemon Stadium (Nintendo)
  6. 2,546,810 N64 Super Smash Brothers (Nintendo)
  7. 2,500,609 N64 Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo)
  8. 2,403,652 N64 Star Fox 64 (Nintendo)
  9. 2,336,132 N64 Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo)
  10. 1,916,105 N64 Pokemon Snap (Nintendo)
  11. 1,731,758 N64 Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire (Nintendo)
  12. 1,706,024 N64 Wave Race 64 (Nintendo)
  13. 1,632,896 N64 Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Nintendo)
  14. 1,628,721 N64 WCW/NWO Revenge (THQ)
  15. 1,616,250 N64 Banjo-Kazooie (Nintendo)
  16. 1,499,017 N64 Star Wars Episode 1: Racer (LucasArts)
  17. 1,486,612 N64 Cruisin USA (Nintendo)
  18. 1,406,132 N64 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (Activision)
  19. 1,380,864 N64 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (LucasArts)
  20. 1,297,490 N64 Perfect Dark (Nintendo )
  21. 1,149,182 N64 Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (Acclaim)
  22. 1,139,096 N64 WCW vs. NWO: World Tour (THQ)
  23. 1,105,117 N64 Yoshi's Story (Nintendo)
  24. 1,102,867 N64 Mario Party 2 (Nintendo)
  25. 1,077,769 N64 1080 Snowboarding (Nintendo)
Much more even with N64, although there's still a slight lead by one for US titles. Considering third parties not really liking Nintendo consoles this list isn't surprising, however with the PS1 it is rather earth shattering to see things like Tony Hawk doing better than several darlings to the loud minority crowd.
Considering Japan population vs worldwide population, I see that Japanese games are very popular specially on PlayStation. But as I remember these list are USA only, so maybe only represent like a third or less of the worldwide sales.
 

deriks

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Maybe they aren't THAT popular in the americas, but they are

Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire and Dragon Quest are some of the big names of the PSX
 
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Digital Gex

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Considering Japan population vs worldwide population, I see that Japanese games are very popular specially on PlayStation. But as I remember these list are USA only, so maybe only represent like a third or less of the worldwide sales.

That's not how it works, Japans lack of buying games outside of Japan other than a few exceptions is the only reason why several Japanese games are even on the world wide sales list including DQ7 one of the top 2(iirc) best selling games on the platform. outside that country the narrative by a loud minority has been that Japanese dominated software on the PlaySation because of cult games that didn't sell.

Even one person in this thread mentioned Breath of Fire, really? It wasn't even big in Japan. 3 did modest at best. Outside of Japan? Barely a thing.
 

Mokus

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This is "obviously" not about N64 vs PS1 . :messenger_grinning_squinting:

The hardcore retro gamers because of whom the perception of the old consoles most appreciated games should have sold more. The japanese games are mentioned by them a lot more often. What do you think, in the future PS4 is going to be remembered by us because of the Call of Duty or FIFA games?
 
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Geki-D

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You could just look up a list of best selling PSX games worldwide. According to that out of the top 20, 11 are Japanese with the first 5 all being Japanese (and 3 others were published by a Japanese company though not made). Not that I think Japanese games have ever really sold all that well. Even these days, for all the hype you see for Persona, Yakuza, even the Souls-type games, their actual global sales aren't all that amazing. They're decent, maybe even above average but they're really behind a load of Western-made games. The Dark Souls franchise sits at 27 million lifetime sales as of May 2020 spanning several games, remakes, and multiplatform releases. TLOU2 literally sold 15% of that in one weekend for a single game on a single platform.

I'm not saying Dark Souls doesn't sell well, but hype to sales is WAAAYYYY out of whack and it tends to be for a lot of Japanese games.
 
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yurinka

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That's not how it works, Japans lack of buying games outside of Japan other than a few exceptions is the only reason why several Japanese games are even on the world wide sales list including DQ7 one of the top 2(iirc) best selling games on the platform. outside that country the narrative by a loud minority has been that Japanese dominated software on the PlaySation because of cult games that didn't sell.

Even one person in this thread mentioned Breath of Fire, really? It wasn't even big in Japan. 3 did modest at best. Outside of Japan? Barely a thing.
What are you talking about? The half of the games that appear in that list are developed by Japanese dev studios and like 3/4 of them were published by Japanese publishers. And there are a lot of other million seller Japanese games for these consoles. Even if Japan is a small country, they were super important for consoles like PlayStaion or N64.

Sure, in Japan like in any other country nobody buys even in their own country like Breath of Fire. And ye, there are another ones that only sell in their own country and most people ignore outside it, like Dragon Quest.
 
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Aion002

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Goro Majima

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Games didn't sell astronomical numbers back then.

There are still many Japanese games.

This is also the US only.

Yeah I think two things have to be considered.

First, the population of the US was anywhere from 50-60 million less than it is today.

Second, how did these sales compare to the SNES era?

Also have to keep in mind that back then games could be wildly profitable if they sold a few hundred thousand units which just isn’t the case today. Plus gaming has a much larger audience these days.

Its all relative.
 
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iHaunter

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That's not why. PS1 was ridiculously expensive at the time in US. And not a great time to buy it.
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

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OP, I think there’s something there, but you don’t seem to have chosen the best words (or data) to express your point.
There’s also not a few people in here who are taking this personally for some reason, lol.

There’s many western games in that chart, yup, but if anything, this proves that the PS1 had vastly greater western support than the N64.
Of course Japanese games were popular, too - Japan was still the biggest producer of console games at the time, and an unprecedented number of Japanese games were localized for the American market in the PS1 era.

If what you mean is that a lot of Japanese games that are considered essential in the PS1’s library were not also the best selling, well... #25 in your chart still sold more than 1,700,000 copies in the US, which was a metric crapton of copies for a 5th gen game. #25 for the N64 is barely above 1 million, now get a complete list of million sellers for the PS1 and we can have a better conversation.



The U.S. isn't the world.
Yet this thread kinda suggests that for Nintendo, the US were like, half or more of the world back then. Nintendo maintaining relevancy in the home console market before the Wii hinges on the numbers the N64 made in America more than anything else.

Also umm, OP is clearly talking about the US so... duh?
 
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Clear

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In the PS1 era you only needed a couple hundred thousand units sold to turn a profit, games were way, way cheaper and quicker to make.
 
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Digital Gex

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What are you talking about? The half of the games that appear in that list are developed by Japanese dev studios and like 3/4 of them were published by Japanese publishers.

Are you not looking at the list? More west and sales it's lopsided toward the west.

That's not why. PS1 was ridiculously expensive at the time in US. And not a great time to buy it.

What? PSx was $299 in the US until 1996 where during the holidays you could get it for $199 and then dropped less 1997 onward.

Japan was still the biggest producer of console games at the time

This isn't true unless you include Japanese exclusive consoles which wouldn't make sense for a US based gaming forum. I'm only talking about consoles also released in the US. PS1 changed the game.

If what you mean is that a lot of Japanese games that are considered essential in the PS1’s library were not also the best selling, well... #25 in your chart still sold more than 1,700,000 copies in the US, which was a metric crapton of copies for a 5th gen game.

The list gets worse when you put in the top 50 or 70. But the fact FFVIII and Metal Gear, or even Tekken 3 were considered massive beats in the US but weren't that big overall is telling.
 
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MastaKiiLA

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There are way too many Japanese games on that list for the OP to even have bothered with this thread.

Biggest crime is no Vagrant Story up there. Best PS1 game, hands-down. If you don't agree, cash me outside. We finna have a crafted knife fight.
 
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Aion002

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You're a bit slow, that says the list is more even, not that the US dominated overall, like the ps1
You are disingenuous, many Nintendo games on this list had bundles with the console, like Zelda, Pokemon and Mario, yet you choose only Gran Turismo on Ps1 to point the bundle... If you are comparing things, you should, at least, try to be fair.


Also, if I remember correctly, the ps1 gran turismo bundle was quite limited and I think many Crash games also had bundles with the ps1 (I might be completely wrong here).

Anyway, this thread doesn't make sense, you are probably one of those that think that exclusives games don't matter, cause Call of Duty sells a lot more than everything else.


Indeed I am being slow, I should have realized your intentions from the beginning... I blame the heat.

Have a good one.
 

MastaKiiLA

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How is 9 out of 25 way to many? That's less than double.
How popular did anyone claim Japanese games were in the US? I think you started off with a false claim, and then failed to deliver on even that. The games on that list are the ones I think most PS1 gamers would have agreed are popular. I think Dreamcast gamers might have overstated the popularity of Sega's Japanese games. PS gamers would be more likely to claim Japanese games were of higher quality than higher popularity. But this is all strawman stuff.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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The list gets worse when you put in the top 50 or 70. But the fact FFVIII and Metal Gear, or even Tekken 3 were considered massive beats in the US but weren't that big overall is telling.
I think the fact that the top 25 includes a lot of sequels skews the general perspective a bit.
We have ALL the Crash games, both GT games, two Tomb Raiders, two Resident Evils, two Tekkens, two Spyros, two Tony Hawks, two Drivers. That’s 8 game series making up for more than 2/3s of the chart (I’d consider FF7 and 8 two very different games even if they’re the same IP, while the others are just proper sequels, with the exception of CTR). I think this muddies the waters on the variety of the PS1’s library, while there’s basically no two games alike in the N64 chart with the possible exception of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.

I gotta admit though, I took a look at the top 50 from that GAF thread and yup, lots of western titles there!
What can I say, those Japanese classics may not have set the charts on fire, but I’d wager Vagrant Story and Chrono Cross get way more love and discussion these days than Tomb Raider 3 or... uh... Frogger.
 
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Digital Gex

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You are disingenuous, many Nintendo games on this list had bundles with the console, like Zelda, Pokemon and Mario, yet you choose only Gran Turismo on Ps1 to point the bundle... If you are comparing things, you should, at least, try to be fair.

Are you stupid? Is the thread title and OP not getting through to you? This is about the PS1 not the N64, the N64 is there to show a less lopsided version of what the PSX NPD shows which is lopsided toward American games. What fair? Fair what? This isn't an N64 vs. PS1 thread.

GT being bundled does matter when Crash which wasn't is within spiting distance because it also shows popularity of the game is likely higher despite GT being ahead in sales.

Some of you guys.