The PS4 Is Proving To Be A Hard Sell In Japan

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has proved rather popular on a worldwide scale, and three months ago we knew that the console had shifted seven million units. Obviously in that time the figure would have risen much further, but the uptake in Japan as has been considerably slower than Sony had expected. Since the console’s launch in the nation back in February the total number sold has been 620,000 units.

Andrew House spoke to Eurogamer about this trend pinning blame on the fact there are very few games from Japanese publishers available on the console, and that the developers are rather happy with the PS3 at the minute. That comfort with the last generation console led Japanese developers to being a bit wary about the new console, and didn’t want to throw a lot of money behind an unproven machine.  In tandem with the lack of Japanese developed games, House also believes the lack of streaming services has had an effect.

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“We’ll see over time great games coming from Japanese publishers and developers. That’s point number one. Point number two, which is hampering us a little bit, is for a variety of other structural reasons around the entertainment industry in Japan, we’re not seeing that secondary usage. Those two are colluding together.”

While that may be the case the rise of mobile gaming in Japan can’t be ignored as that industry takes a huge percentage of the marketshare. However we’ll soon see Japanese directed games hitting the console with the likes of Bloodborne, The Evil Within, and Natural Doctrine, so maybe those will help shift consoles.

Source: Eurogamer

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14 Comments

  1. Is that number really that bad though? Japan has a population of 127m (according to a quick googling). All the other countries the PS4 is available in must add up to a billion people.

    So close to 8 times as many potential customers.

    And then it’s only been on sale there for less than 5 months, compared to almost 8 months elsewhere.

    So, 8/5 x 8 x 620,000 = 7.9m.

    Doesn’t look so bad when you look at it that way, does it? Looks more like “doing sensible numbers in Japan in line with everywhere else” rather than “doing badly in Japan” or “not doing as freakishly well as previous generations”.

    • I think it’s doing okay (from a personal perspective) but the tide has been turning against home consoles for a while now. The Japanese market really does look like it’s shunning home consoles for mobiles and this time around, we really might see some startlingly different regional figures as the years roll by. Thankfully, the PS4 is selling so well in other regions it shouldn’t matter.

    • When the PS4 has been selling like gangbusters everywhere else in the world and, if I remember correctly, breaking a few records here and there, for it to then not be reaching similar peaks in Japan is odd. It’s sold fewer machines than the Wii U and 3DS did at similar points in their life cycles in Japan, and has only been able to double the launch weekend in the months that have ticked by since February.

      Andrew House is right to point to a lack of Japan centric games, however. If you think of the number of people that complain about a lack of games in the EU and US, you can imagine that people are going to be reticent to buy a console when there’s even less available for it that they are interested in!

    • Is it odd though? Or has Japan been odd in previous generations and it’s now behaving like the rest of the world?

      Because if you take into account the population of Japan compared to everywhere else the PS4 is available, and the difference in how long it’s been available, it looks to me like the PS4 is selling roughly as well in Japan as it is everywhere else.

      Maybe Japan is being a bit more normal this time. Maybe a lack of Japanese games isn’t helping things. But at worst it’s not doing as well in Japan as previously. And if we accept that the PS4 is doing very well elsewhere (which it seems to be), then surely it’s actually doing very well in Japan?

      Add more Japanese games (which hopefully get released in the west too) and it might just start to sell even more.

      It’s like when some huge company announces it only made enormous amounts of money this year, compared to slightly more enormous amounts last year and their share price plummets. Totally stupid.

      Of course, websites like Eurogamer won’t understand any of that and will just declare Sony to be having a complete disaster in Japan. It’s funny watching them now there’s so much evidence that the XBone is a complete disaster. (Mind you, it was funny last generation watching them fake 360/PS3 comparisons to prove the 360 was better)

      • The PS4 is simply dominant in the EU and US, but it isn’t enjoying a similar run of form in Japan, where it’s regularly outsold by the 3DS and PS Vita and tussles with the Wii U and PS3, even.

        600K is a decent starting point, but their tastes in games are simply different to ours. Games like Watch Dogs and inFamous Second Son are just nowhere near the sales of something like Freedom Wars for PS Vita, which sold 200K, easily 2-4 times games which were record breaking out in the rest of the world.

        You’re not going to buy a games console that doesn’t cater to your wants and needs, and the PS4 currently just doesn’t do that for Japan right now. We’ll see it shift once Japanese developers jump on the PS4.

  2. Well, it’s Sony’s homeland, so it should sell better. But, given anything with an XBox tag on it will always sell much worse over there, no matter what they do, it doesn’t really matter too much, does it?
    I’d consider these delayed sales, not lost ones, even if the former can always potentially mean the latter.

    • Same here, when the Japanese (inc publishers) get behind the PS4 it will do really well.

  3. When I was there in April, there was very little in the way of advertising for anything related to the PS4. The majority of advertisement seemed to be for Ninty and PS3/Vita. Heck, in the game areas of huge stores there was far more in the way of PSP advertisement and availability than for PS4.

    When more home-grown Japanese games start appearing on the system, I think we’ll see more sales. How well would a system do in the west now if it launched with 90% non-American/European titles?

  4. Anyone else seen that Akiba’s trip on PS Live? Looks absolutely mental. Japan.

    • Ha! Caught that the other night, it is trully bonkers! Stripping your enemies of their clothes as you fight is just a crazy idea. The japs really do love oogling women in their panties!

  5. Yeh, could be better, but hey, if the reason is that the PS3 is still doing well, it’s still Sony making monies yo.

  6. Well a logical explaination states that the Japanese like rythem based games Parappa the Rapper and Dance Dance Revolution. They also like R.P.Gs such as Dragons Quest, Hack n Slashers such as the Warriors games as well as Dating Sims featuring Japanese school girls.

    As for Hentai well I think we all know popular that is seeing as we are on the internet and all.

  7. I will await the xbone sales figures for japan with stiffled sniggers……..

  8. I think this isn’t bad news for Sony but it is for MS. Sony is easily winning the console war without japan, and those sales will come.

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