PlayStation in ‘decline’ in Japan, PS5 may sell ‘less than half of PS4’

Sony has again been accused of neglecting the Japanese market, as the PS5 suffers the weakest launch ever for PlayStation in Japan.

‘Sony is not taking Japan seriously’ warns analyst group Ace Economic Research Institute, as they predict that the PlayStation 5 will continue a history of decline for PlayStation consoles in the region.

In its first six weeks, the PlayStation 5 has sold only 240,000 consoles in Japan, which is considerably less than any other PlayStation launch.

Analyst Hideki Yasuda, writing on the Japanese edition of GamesIndustry.biz, claims that if it follows the current trend then PlayStation 5 sales could end up at ‘less than half of PS4’.

‘Sony might believe that their high-end game experiences are not needed in Japan, where moe is mainstream’, writes Yasuda, as translated by ResetEra.

‘The platform maker has lost its motivation to take responsibility in the Japanese market. Early PS5 trends have shown that the PlayStation brand in Japan is in decisive decline and ACE Economic Research Institute cannot help but be disappointed. We think Sony will come to regret this.’

Sales of the PlayStation 4 in Japan were already disappointing, at less than 10 million, and the PlayStation 5 does seem to be continuing the trend of decline in Sony’s home country.

Japanese consumers and analysts have already criticised the launch of the PlayStation 5, which changed the default control layout for the controller and failed to offer Japanese translations for the console’s reveal events.

More importantly, there are few Japanese-made games known to be in development at Sony, with Astro’s Playroom the only launch title (the Demon’s Souls remake is by American studio Bluepoint) and Gran Turismo 7 the only high profile title currently announced.

There’s been particular concern that Sony’s Japan Studio is being neglected, with reports of developer contracts not being renewed and support team staff being cut back – reports which have coincided with the exit of experienced talent such as Bloodborne producer Teruyuki Toriyama and Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama.

Sony has denied any problems, with PlayStation boss Jim Ryan insisting to Edge magazine that ‘the Japanese market remains incredibly important to us’. However, in the GamesIndustry.biz report Yasuda directly addresses those comments.

‘Sony HQ has told us directly that they value the Japanese market, a comment that we were grateful to hear. I do think it’s highly probable that Sony does take Japan seriously’, he states.

‘That said, while their feelings are valuable, their actions do not match those feelings. That’s why users believe Sony and CEO Jim Ryan have shown disregard for the Japanese market. In mentioning this, one might think this is simply conjecture by the ACE Economic Research Institute.’

Yasuda traces the problems back to the 2016 decision to relocate the PlayStation business to the US, a decision which eventually also led to redundancies in Europe and concerns that the PlayStation is becoming too American-centric.

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