While Japan seems to have a better handle on covid-19 than other countries, Sony will not be launching the PlayStation 5 in Japanese stores out of concern for customers and retail workers.
“As of now, the spread of the [novel] coronavirus is still a concern, and therefore, to protect customers, retailers, and staff, we have no plans to do events or sell the PS5 in-store when it goes on sale.”
This announcement was made on the Japanese PlayStation Blog, with Sony adding that customers with pre-orders should contact shops for how to pick up their consoles. For those who don’t have pre-orders, Sony anticipates that it will keep shipping the hardware and asked customers to confirm with retailers for more information regarding future arrivals.
In closing, Sony asked for cooperation and understanding.
In-store promotions and launch lines are a huge part of what makes new game hardware such an event in Japan. Since the early 2000s, I’ve either stood in line for new hardware or poured over photos online of others taking part in the ritual. But in 2020, this was bound to happen. Earlier this year, just as Japan was about to declare a state of emergency, people lined up for Nintendo Switch, with both the retailers and the game company getting criticised for creating an unsafe environment.
When the inevitable PlayStation 5 Slim launches, we can line up, take photos, and wait. Things will be better. Things will be normal.