Bloomberg: Japanese console market loses importance for PlayStation, and US becomes a priority

And Microsoft, on the contrary, intends to break into Asian countries.


Bloomberg reporter Takashi Mochizuki has published an article on the priorities of Sony and Microsoft in the game console market in Japan. The journalist talked with the officials of both companies and his own sources in the PlayStation, noting that it is the Japanese corporation that is beginning to pay more and more attention to the West, and less and less to its “native” region.

Sony and PlayStation

  • The company began betting on the US after PS4 sales in Japan fell short of expectations: according to analysts, the console’s share of revenue in the country is 10%, compared with 35% in America. The change in priorities was confirmed, among other things, by several anonymous Sony employees.
  • A senior official from PlayStation’s California headquarters said colleagues blamed the Japanese marketing department for the PS4’s poor performance in the country.
  • Members of Sony’s Tokyo-based marketing team said they were ordered to report directly to US leadership during the PS5’s promo campaign.
  • According to ex-Sony employees, the company did not renew contracts with a number of developers from SIE Japan Studio, and local support teams were cut by about a third. This is associated with the policy of the American department, which supposedly does not need games that sell well only in Japan.
  • Japanese retailers reported that PS5 shipments at launch are comparable to PS3 shipments at launch. Then the production of the console was limited.
  • The fact that the Western audience is becoming a priority for the PlayStation is also indicated by the time of the main PS5 presentations (5:00 local time in Tokyo), as well as the change in the standard of the gamepad layout for Japan – the “cross” will be responsible for the “confirm” function by default rather than a “circle” as before.
  • PlayStation officials have denied the Japanese market is losing importance to them, noting that the country entered the “first wave” of the PS5 launch alongside the US, Australia and several other regions.

Microsoft and Xbox

  • In contrast, Xbox is looking to expand its presence in Japan. This, among other things, is indicated by the start of sales of the Xbox Series simultaneously with the whole world, although the release of the current generation console in the country took place almost a year after the United States.
  • Sara Bond, head of Xbox partnerships, confirmed that the company is actively negotiating with Japanese companies to release their games to Microsoft’s console. Among them are Koei Tecmo – the publisher of Dead or Alive, Dynasty Warriors and Nioh.
  • Several local development studios have confirmed they have received a purchase offer from Microsoft. They refused to disclose details.
  • The head of the Asian division of Xbox did not deny the possibility of buying the Japanese studio, but stressed that at the moment there are no official statements about this from the company.
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