Japanese Gamers Explain Why The PS4 Isn't Selling In Their Country

Japanese Gamers Explain Why the PS4 Isn't Selling There

Sony. The home team. The PS4 should be doing well in Japan, right? Right? According to Japanese gamers, um, no.

Recently, a Eurogamer article pointing out that the PS4 wasn't exactly doing gangbusters in Japan (the console barely outsells the PS3) was translated and posted on 2ch, the country's largest web forum.

"We're conscious of the fact we have not had yet the sort of groundswell of Japan native content from Japanese publishers and developers," explained Andrew House. "I view that as temporary."

Here's what Japanese gamers say (and keep in mind, these are folks commenting on an anonymous game hardware board, so they might not reflect the opinions of casual players):

"With no games, why'd they think they could sell it?"

"There's no reason to buy this as a PS3 replacement."

"I'll think about buying it again once there's a big price cut."

"It's because Japanese people are dumb. If it's not a brand name game like Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, or Resident Evil people won't buy it. This is stupidity."

"Maybe it's simply because there isn't enough advertising?"

"When there's more serious talk about Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, the number of buyers will increase. TLDR; It depends on Square Enix."

"I'd get it if there was backwards compatibility from the PS1 to the PS3."

"I only play Vita games."

"It's because things are still happening on the PS3. Loads of people are still satisfied with the PS3's graphics."

"For the time being, it seems like Persona 5 will be out on the PS3. And after that, well, I'll think about getting a PS4 for Phantom Pain."

"Japanese people aren't interested in things that don't change."

"They're selling loads of them abroad, so this really isn't a problem."


Picture: Koji Sasahara/AP


    "I only play Vita games" could be because of all the awesome JRPGs on Vita and the fact that there are none on PS4 (yet).

      If only there was some more content geared to the Western audience and I'd reckon a lot of westerners would be only playing Vita games at the moment too. Great system.

      Then again, my two favourite systems currently are the Wii U and Vita.....go figure.

    It's not selling cos of the insane PS3 catalogue. Games are still coming out for it. In April, PS4 had only 4 or so Japanese games on top of the rest of the 4 games. The PS3 has a batshit insane catalogue, enormous Japan-only content, and it's still pumping out game after game. Also, the PS4 isn't required for the typical graphcis of JRPGs etc.

    the way I see it, it's mainly 2 reasons:
    1. Majority of Japanese population live in small cramped homes (at least, by Western standards) so ANY consoles generally don't sell as well - it's a big reason why the Kinect bombed so hardcore over there. Everyone is all about handheld over there. Walk/Train around any part of Tokyo and you'll see a decent amount of people with handhelds.
    2. For those that do love console gaming, there's bugger all games on next gen consoles - there are dozens of titles that don't make it to Western markets that the Japanese games lose their minds over. But they're all on previous gen consoles. Why trade up when my current console has shitload of awesome games already?

    Last edited 15/07/14 9:27 am

      I don't buy that first one. It doesn't make sense because the PS4 is smaller than the PS3 was at launch, and Japan traditionally was the home console heartland. There's no issues with space, at least not directly. It was an oft-cited reason for the Xbox failing there, but really the Xbox failed in Japan because of a lack of appropriate games, crap marketing and generally not being appealing to the market.

      The problem is the system just isn't desirable to a Japanese audience yet. It had a handful of games at launch which were enough to get an initial audience, but none of those were exclusives (the two big games for PS4 at JP launch were Yakuza: Ishin and FFXIV, and both are also on PS3). Since then there's been hardly anyone coming to the party on the platform in Japan. There's lots of western games coming out, and it's true that those sorts of games are increasing popularity there, but they're still not the bread & butter stuff that will make your average Japanese gamer grab the system, especially not if it's positioned as a replacement for the PS3.

      The other big thing is that there's been a huge market shift there. Console gaming is basically dying out. Portables became dominant there a while back. Japan is ideal for portables, as the high population density makes adhoc local multiplayer viable, and the way that most people spend hours on trains commuting means they have probably got more spare time for gaming on their daily commute than they do outside that.

      And even the portable market is dying out now. The bulk of the money is flowing to mobile. If you thought that there was a lot of push into phone games in the west, the Japanese market is even more skewed that way. Some of the big mobile games there are pulling in astounding amounts of money. Gung-ho's figures last year for example, they had 17 million active users playing Puzzle & Dragons and at one point last year they were bringing in $4.5 Million USD in revenue every day. This level of success has every other big games publisher salivating, and that's where they're concentrating their work as well. We only see the tip of the iceberg being localized, for every game that Squenix craps out on the app store internationally they have another ten or so in the Japanese market.

      So those are the two big issues that the PS4 is facing: it doesn't have enough of the games that traditional gamers want to play, and it might be an anachronism due to changes in the market there anyway. The first problem is actually an issue even for western-developed games, there's hardly any reason to own a PS4 or an Xbox One right now even for us, and that's really not going to start to change until the back end of 2014 into the middle of 2015. Transition is going to be slow, and it becomes a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation as well, since the gamers won't buy the platform without the games, but the developers won't make the games without the gamers to buy them.

      IMO we'll really see if the console market in Japan is sunk if FFXV comes out (this is assuming Squenix can actually release it in reasonable time, mind you) and the platform's sales haven't sped up.

        all good points - I don't disagree with anything here.

        I think another reason why xbox fails to sell in Japan (I was over there a couple of months ago, and visited a shitload of game stores, and the majority of them had bugger-all and sometimes nothing at all, xbox stuff), is that Japan loves Japan. Anything that's made in Japan goes gangbusters over there.

        but even for the "there's no enough games" argument - the same thing happened when the PS3/360 came out. It was a good year at least before a decent game came out that flexed the console's muscles and made people sit up and pay attention. People who identify themselves as "gamers" are usually easier to convert - this weekend is going to be spent buying a PS4, and despite the fact there's fuck all games out now that I want to play, I know they're coming, so I'm willing to put in the investment now. But the majority of people aren't like that. They're waiting for that FFXV (or similar) title to come out, which let's face it, probably won't be until at least Christmas if not early next year.

        What I think needs to happen, imo, is that the bigger annualised title releases need to just dump the PS3/360 version of all their games and just work on next gen

        Last edited 15/07/14 1:14 pm

    So, the exact same reasons as when they said they wouldn't buy the PS3 and instead keep their PS2s

    It would definitely be lack of catalogue. Hopefully with the announcement of Tekken 7, that will get more interest as well as Kingdom Hearts 3 and a new Final Fantasy as well multiple japanese games.

    I'm know I'm getting a PS4 for christmas but not that excited due to lack of games I am interested in. What's out at the moment, I'm only keen on Killzone 4. But next year I'm looking forward to the new Batman and Mortal Kombat X. Other than that, most PS4 games I can get on PS3 which are cheaper.

    I'm surprised Persona 5 isn't getting a PS4 release...

    “Japanese people aren’t interested in things that don’t change.”

    Deluded internet person spotted.

    The same reason for Xbox. Lack of games.

    This generation of consoles is crap. Over-policed and over-priced (games). The restrictions put on consoles is getting out of control.

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