‘PS4 defied expectations in Japan’

PS4 launched in Japan, but just how big was it? Marketing and consulting chief Ricky Tanimoto of video game giant Famitsu and Enterbrain explains all to MCV.

PS4 has enjoyed a good start in Japan.

Previous PlayStation consoles usually launch earlier in the Japanese market compared with other countries. But PS4 was released after US, Europe and other Asian countries in this occasion.

The PS4 release season in Japan was not the best timing wise, because February us after the holiday season, including the Japanese New Year holiday in January.

In addition, people did not see many commercials about PS4 because the Olympics was big news on TVs at that time. We also didn’t hear about the excitement around PS4 and Xbox One, because we still do not know when Xbox One will be on sale.

Yet despite all this, PS4 managed to sell 322,083 units for the first two days although some people remain sceptical about new video game home consoles, because portable devices like 3DS and Vita are much more popular in Japan.

The first two day sales of PS4 exceeded the PS3 sales for the same term by 88,443 units.

According to Famitsu’s collected data, the PS4 bundle with the PlayStation Camera sold fewer units. The version excluding the camera sold about 40 per cent more than the other SKU. The video game Knack was included in both PS4 bundles. The most popular software outside of Knack was Yakuza (Sega) and Battlefield (EA).

Live streaming video game platforms are becoming popular here, too. The use of Twitch has exceeded my expectations, while the Japanese equivalent – NikoNiko– also works with PSN in a similar way to Twitch and UStream.

In terms of our expectations for future PS4 sales, the change of consumer tax (like VAT) will likely cause a drop in consumer good sales because the tax increases from five per cent to eight per cent by April.

However, under the assumption that the popular and key PS4 titles will appear towards the last half of 2014, I expect PS4 sales to progress significantly around those big titles.

The PS4’s good start in Japan means I expect there will be a bright future for this new gaming era.

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