The poll of 3,422 gamers by product pricing site kakaku.com found that 49.2 percent said their top concern for picking a console was "because it's compatible with the games they absolutely want to play."
Nearly 43 percent of others said they wanted to buy the console that's most talked about, with a mere 6.1 percent foremost concerned about price.
Asked which machines they owned, one-quarter said the Wii, the popular Nintendo home console with an innovative motion-sensitive controller, and another quarter had the Nintendo DS double-screen portable machine.
Only 10 percent had the PlayStation 3, even though Sony Corp. invested heavily in advanced graphics for the next-generation machine, which is more expensive than the rival Wii.
Another 10 percent picked Sony's PlayStation Portable. The XBox 360 of US computer giant Microsoft has struggled to seduce Japan, with only three percent of gamers saying it was their pick.
But asked which console they hoped to buy next, 28 percent chose the Wii and 27 percent picked the PlayStation 3.
The figures were in line with actual sales figures. Nintendo has sold some 3.63 million Wii units last year in Japan, while Sony sold 1.21 million PlayStation 3 machines. Both machines were launched at the end of 2006.
The Japanese have bought a mere 260,000 XBox 360 units since its launch by Microsoft at the end of 2005.