PS4 Launches in Japan, Sony Optimistic

By Jenny Murphy ’15

It was the first time in PlayStation history that a new game console was launched at the home market last. It has been three months since the PS4 was launched in the U.S. and Europe, and since then the console has received generally favorable reviews and has sold more than 5.4 units worldwide, outstripping Sony’s own pre- dictions.

Although some Japanese fans have been understand- ably upset by the delay, it did not seem to deter hundreds from lining the streets of Tokyo’s fashionable Ginza district Friday night (February 21). A hundred lucky fans who bared the cold were able to take PS4 bundles home, but the rest had to wait until the big retailers opened at 8:00 in the morning.

Although strategically it made sense to launch the PS4 in the U.S. before Christmas, especially considering the Xbox One launched in November, the delay in Ja- pan’s launch nonetheless raised questions in the gaming community about how important Sony viewed its home market, and if the American gaming market was perhaps surpassing the Japanese market.

The President of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia, Hiroshi Kawano, firmly denies these claims. He insists that the delay was so that game titles that would be popular with the Japanese audience would be available when the console launched.

Whatever the reason, Sony remains optimistic about the response in Japan to the PS4. Thus far, the PS4 is shaping up to become the most successful console launch ever in Japan, matching similar receptions in the U.S. and Europe. Certainly, Sony expects this launch to widen the lead between PS4 sales and sales of the Xbox One, priced at a hefty $499.

Nikkei Business Daily reports that the home-use video game market shrunk in 2013 “some 40 percent” to ¥409 billion over six years, in contrast to the “fast-grow- ing smartphone game market.” This PS4 launch is offering a ray of hope to Sony after years of gloomy sales and being out-sold by foreign competitors like Samsung. The predicted PS4 sales offer an optimistic future for the Sony corporation, while it will likely take advantage of.