Japan - The seismic effects of market shifts and economic gloom in combination with a rather short release list have made a significant impact for Square Enix. In 2007, eighteen releases spread across five systems (DS, PSP, PS2, Wii, 360) added up to a shockingly huge 4.5 million units sold.
In contrast, Square Enix's 2008 effort of ten releases across four systems (DS, PSP, Wii, 360) resulted in a far lesser 1.7 million units sold.* This is a 2.8 million unit difference and is a eye-popping 62.48% decline from 2007.
[PSP] Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - 729,459
[NDS] Dragon Quest IV - 601,737
[NDS] Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings - 500,543
[WII] Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors - 453,445
[NDS] Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fate - 363,030
[NDS] Itadaki Street DS - 361,558
[PS2] Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ - 301,830
[PSP] Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions - 282,770
[NDS] Final Fantasy Tactics A2: The Sealed Grimoire - 259,364
[NDS] Subarashiki Kono Sekai: It's a Wonderful World - 171,629
[PSP] Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition - 117,689
[PS2] Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System - 104,287
[NDS] Heroes of Mana - 82,865
[PS2] Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess expansion data disk - 82,597
[PSP] Final Fantasy II Anniversary Edition - 45,627
[NDS] Front Mission - 17,715
 Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess expansion data disk - 12,927
 Final Fantasy XI: Vana'diel Collection - 3,212
18 TITLES THROUGH 11-19-07, TOTAL: 4,492,284
[NDS] Dragon Quest V - 1,152,229
[PSP] Star Ocean: Second Evolution - 141,218
[NDS] Valkyrie Profile: The Accused One - 118,374
 Infinite Undiscovery - 96,197
[NDS] Cid and Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon: The Labyrinth of Lost Time DS+ - 46,362
[NDS] Sigma Harmonics - 42,552
[NDS] Nanashi no Game (The Game with no Name) - 41,481
[NDS] Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness - 32,917
[WII] Soul Eater: Monotone Princess - 8,198
[NDS] DS Bookkeeping, Level 3 - 6,044
10 TITLES THROUGH 11-19-08, TOTAL: 1,685,572
This isn't all doom and gloom though, unless you're a PS3 owner still waiting for a Square Enix product after two full years. Chart Get! correctly pointed out that 2008 would be a slow year for Square Enix but it wasn't yet apparent just how slow it would be.
Look at this chart from our recent past (right). One can observe a cyclical pattern emerging that this analyst believes is directly related to the age of the applicable generation. Another significant factor is the proximity of the first Final Fantasy main-line release for the generation.
This cycle should point to increased releases in 2009, and assuming FFXIII is one of them (hopefully not too large of an assumption at this point, right?), a significant increase in sales is due as well.
* It should be noted that Chrono Trigger DS and The Last Remnant have both just released and may change the scope of these results slightly, but not enough to significantly alter the analysis.
Source = Famitsu Historical Data
Scrutiny is the best peer review, right? I had a ton of feedback on this article, both positive and negative based on my method. Some of it was relevant (the captured data compared in similar time periods), and some of it was not (calendar vs. fiscal).
I adjusted the dates of the 2007 data to exclude the second half of November and all of December, a difference of almost 2 million units. I also corrected a data-collection oversight that included 2008 data for games released in 2007, a 207k difference.
The result is data collected by a better method and only a slightly less shocking title.
I'd like to tip my hat to my friends and colleagues Joshua J Slone and Donny2112 of NeoGAF for their guidance and support on this one. Thank you very much. - PL