Japan launch of PS5 reportedly “sidelined” to focus on US market

However, Sony claims its “home market remains of utmost importance”

Sony has reportedly “sidelined” the launch of the PlayStation 5 in Japan in order to focus on the US market.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Japan is being overlooked in promotions for the upcoming next-gen console, with its local team “left awaiting instructions from California”. The shift stems from the PlayStation 4’s underperformance in its home market of Japan,  the publication noted, citing the increased global sales of the PS4 as compared to its predecessor – 113million vs 87million, respectively – while pointing out that the console sold less than the PS3 did in Japan.

The report also citds an unidentified senior member of the PlayStation team at its headquarters in California, who says that the US team have been frustrated by their Japanese counterparts to move as many PS4 units as expected. In addition, some contracts for developers at PlayStation’s Japan Studio have yet to be renewed, according to former employees, who claim that the US office does not believe in the need for Japan-only games.

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Moreover, Morningstar Research analyst Kazunori Ito also stated that there is “consensus” within the analyst and consultant community that “PlayStation no longer sees the Japan market as important”. He added: “If you want to know their take on the Japanese market, you need to ask about it because otherwise Sony wouldn’t talk about it.”

Sony, however, has denied that it has shifted focus away from Japan. Spokeswoman Natsumi Atarashi told Bloomberg that the sentiments do not reflect the company’s strategy, adding that “our home market remains of utmost importance”.

Despite the apparent move away from the Japanese market, Sony is still expecting the PS5 to sell well over the next couple of months. The company expects the next-gen console to sell 7.6million units by the end of its current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2021.

Executive deputy president and chief financial officer, Hiroki Totoki, cited the PS5’s “appealing software lineup, the strength of the PlayStation brand, our pre-eminent game ecosystem and our cohesive gamer community” for the sales projections. However, he also cautioned that meeting the figure will also depend on the PS5’s success in the US.

Sony has also confirmed that there will be no in-store sales of the PS5 on launch day this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company felt that keeping all orders online was the best way to “keep gamers, retailers and staff safe”.

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