PS5: PlayStation brand is in 'decisive decline' in Japan, analyst says



           The situation of the PS5, and more generally of the PlayStation brand, in Japan has been the subject of much ink since the launch of the next-gen console from the Japanese manufacturer. And if the boss of Sony Interactive Entertainment says that Japan remains 'very important' for PlayStation, the facts seem to say the opposite. Which makes Japanese market watchers pessimistic to say the least.




 The Japanese version of the site recently posted an article discussing the current situation with the PS5 and PlayStation in Japan. This article, which is based on data from Famitsu magazine, recalls that Sony sold around 240,000 PS5s during the first six weeks of the console's marketing in Japan. These sales are lower than those of all other PlayStation consoles over an equivalent period, with the exception of the PSP.


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According to Hideki Yasuda, analyst at Ace Economic Research Institute, these numbers indicate that 'Sony is not taking Japan seriously' and that the PlayStation brand is currently experiencing a 'decisive decline' in its home market:



Total sales of 240,000 units are by far the lowest in the history of PlayStation home consoles. If this trend were to continue, sales of the PS5 (in Japan) over its entire cycle could end at less than half of those of the PS4. [...]

Is it possible to sense that Sony has a plan to be successful in the Japanese market? ACE Economic Research Institute does not believe so.



 Knowing that Japanese sales of PS4 were themselves disappointing (less than ten million units sold, all models combined), such an end would not give Sony much to brag about. But is this a situation the electronics giant is genuinely seeking to avoid?



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Even though the PS5 suffers from stockouts all over the world, it also appears that Sony has never brought so many consoles to the market for a launch than it has for the PS5 to go on sale. Knowing that the console is almost impossible to find in Japan, these sales figures show that Sony Interactive Entertainment has deliberately favored markets other than Japan.

Politically, Sony IE must publicly declare the importance it has in the Japanese market. This is also what Jim Ryan did. But if these declarations are not followed by action, which seems to be the case at the moment, it is because SIE sees its business interest elsewhere.

For several years, PlayStation has been betting big on the American market and continues to ride its popularity in Europe (where Xbox struggles to compete). The world record launch of the PS5 seems so far to prove Sony right. The manufacturer has also just announced its decision to stop production in Japan of almost all models of PS4 in order to make room for the PS5 on the production lines.


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 Japan, lost?

Two questions now arise: does SIE intend to try to go up the slope in Japan? And if it manages to put sufficient quantities of consoles on Japanese shelves, will Japanese consumers respond? Impossible to say at the moment. Hideki Yasuda thinks in any case that the latter feel despised by Sony because of the decisions taken by the latter in recent years (Japan served in PS4 after the United States and Europe, validation button passed from 'round' to 'cross' on Japanese PS5s, no Japanese dubbing on PS5 presentation videos, etc.).

The PS5 generation could therefore be the scene of many new situations for the PlayStation brand in Japan. And these situations could as well be caused by Sony itself as by the players of the archipelago. If the Japanese outlook for the console is not very encouraging for the moment, it is far too early to draw conclusions from the current situation.

Do you share the feelings of the Japanese analyst? What do you think of SIE's way of proceeding vis-à-vis Japan? Do you think Sony can afford to let the Japanese market take a back seat? Give us your opinion in the comments below.

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