So, Does Japan Actually Read Game Magazines?

Apparently! Some people read Japanese game magazines like Famitsu when scans leak early onto the internet. Other people actually buy the print publications. But how many?

The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association has released circulation numbers for domestic video games magazines. Data is between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009.

Title: Weekly Famitsu
Publisher: Enterbrain
Circulation: 500,000

Dengeki Nintendo DS
ASCII Media Works
160,000

Famitsu PSP+PS3
Enterbrain
150,000

Dengeki PlayStation
ASCII Media Works
131,061*

Arcadia
Enterbrain
120,000

Dengeki G's Magazine
ASCII Media Works
120,000

Famitsu Xbox 360
Enterbrain
120,000

Famitsu DS+Wii
Enterbrain
100,417*

Dengeki Maoh
ASCII Media Works
100,000

Famitsu Wave DVD
Enterbrain
100,000

Dengeki Girl's Style
ASCII Media Works
80,000

Dengeki Hime
ASCII Media Works
80,000

Famitsu Connect! On
Enterbrain
80,000

B's-LOG
Enterbrain
50,000

Game Japan
Hobby Japan
30,000

*verified circulation

To put things in context, American magazine Game Informer has 3.5 million readers, dwarfing Weekly Famitsu's circulation. However, Game Informer is owned by GameStop, America's largest game retailer, which does not exactly provide a level playing field for competing print publications in GameStop shops. Famitsu is, it often seems, simply a mouthpiece for the Japanese game industry to put out press releases.

UK print magazine EDGE, on the other hand, has a circulation of approximately 28,000 as 2008 — a number that continues to tumble year after year. In comparison, Japanese magazines covering arcade games, dating games and erotic games all have larger circulations than EDGE.

The Japanese game mag industry is certainly more varied and niche than its Western counterparts. Whether or not it can continue to post healthy circulation numbers as mankind makes the transition from analog to digital remains to be seen.

2009 Japanese Anime/Game Magazine Circulation Numbers [ANN] [Pic]