An analyst accuses Sony of neglecting the Japanese market: PS5 has had the worst PlayStation launch in the country and Sony Studio is running low.
PlayStation 5 launched globally last November, and it was hugely successful. According to various sources (both DigiTimes and VGChartz), PS5 sold around 3.4 million units in its first month on sale more than any previous PlayStation console. And that’s considering that PS5 sells all its stock and is out of stock. in practically all shops.
However, a very small fraction of those sales has come from Japan. In fact, fewer PlayStation consoles had ever been sold during its launch in the console’s home country. This is data collected by GamesIndustry.biz, thanks to weekly sales information from Famitsu, which reveals that only 240,000 units of PS5 have been sold in Japan in its first six weeks. A figure that is approximately half of what PS4 sold in that same period and is the lowest in the entire history of PlayStation (with the exception of PSP).
This data serves to illustrate the objective of this article from GamesIndustry.biz, signed by the analyst Hideki Yasuda, from the firm Ace Economic Research Institute: that Sony has left the Japanese market.
In the article, the analyst is very hard on the direction that Sony has taken with PlayStation 5: ” Seeing the current situation, in which Sony (SIE) has failed to distribute enough PS5 in Japan around the end of the year shopping season, we can’t help but be deeply concerned about the future of the PlayStation market in Japan. “
Yasuda cites other reasons, such as the default change in the controls with the X and O buttons imposed by the Western model or the absence of narration in Japanese in the PS5 presentation videos along with the perception that Japan was in the background. in the promotional campaign of PlayStation 5, being the United States its main market. There, precisely, PS5 had the best launch in the history of the brand.
Also, according to the article, Sony’s Japan Studio is reducing its staff. Many employees are not getting their contracts renewed and some teams are taking a third of their peak staff. Last month, Teruyuki Toriyama (producer of Demon’s Souls) left the studio shortly after Keiichiro Toyama (creator of Silent Hill), Kazunobu Sato, and Junya Okura did.
The trend would have started since, in 2016, Sony Interactive Entertainment reorganized and located its world headquarters in San Mateo, California.
A month ago, SIE CEO Jim Ryan spoke out on this matter, denying that they were neglecting Japan: ” Sony’s position is that the Japanese market is still incredibly important to us. It has been many years since we were so excited. the commitment of the Japanese developer community. ” He noted that unlike PS4, which was released in Japan three months late, PS5 has had a worldwide release. ” Japan, as our second largest market and as the heart of Sony, continues to be very important to us.”
However, in his article, Yasuda responded directly to these statements by Ryan (which in turn was responding to an earlier article by Yasuda). And he did it very forcefully: “The aim of our article was not to scowl at a tabloid headline, but to inform Sony and SIE headquarters of the deep sense of despair of Japanese PlayStation users .”
” We believe that it is very likely that Sony does take Japan seriously. That said, although its intention is good, its actions do not correspond. This is why users think that Sony and CEO Jim Ryan has shown disregard for the Japanese market.
“Japanese users are not given to show their dissatisfaction through social networks, so the SIE headquarters in the US can perceive that the Japanese are simply accepting politely whatever they are given. But that could not be farther from reality: they have just begun to quietly fade. “
Sales data in Japan, offered each week by Famitsu, shows that the video game market in the country is currently monopolized by Nintendo Switch. During the week of December 14-20, for example, 263,000 Switch units were sold, compared to 17,500 for PS5 and 10,300 for PS4.
Since its launch in 2013, approximately 9.2 million PS4 units have been sold in Japan. By contrast, in a much shorter period, since 2017, 17 million Nintendo Switches have already been sold. ” If this trend continues, total PS5 sales in Japan could be less than half that of PS4, ” Yasuda says.