Sony’s Playstation 4 stunned and shocked gamers around the world as the console became the fastest and best-selling console of all time since the venerable Playstation 2, shipping over 5 million units across the globe as of 18 February 2014. Along with the stunningly cool attitude displayed over the course of 2013, Sony also can boast attach rates of an average of two games for every console sold as well as new PS Plus subscriptions for over half of the launch shipment. So it was with great interest that the world turned to watch the Japanese launch of the console with the entertainment giant finally turning its attention to their home turf.
Sony sold over three hundred thousand units across Japan in just two days.
Of course, this doesn’t sound like a lot when you consider that this factors in sales from pre-orders. Over the last decade, the Japanese gaming market has seen a tremendous change in how things are done – the majority of the gamers now play on handheld devices and there’s a greater emphasis on mobile gaming as a whole with Nintendo sitting at the top of the food chain. Along with a smorgasbord of Android devices, Sony is mixed in there with the PS Vita and the new PS Vita PCH-2000 and the PSP and PSP Go saw some traction in the market while Sony ramped up their offering and tried to attract developers to the platform.
Comparing other launches in Japan in recent years, Famitsu hunted down statistics for the first-week sales in the country for various consoles and the comparisons are interesting, if only because they only cover the home gaming console market.
|Launch date||Home console||Launch price (Yen)||Period||Units sold|
|27 November 1998||Sega Dreamcast||¥ 29,800||3 days||101 490|
|4 March 2000||Sony Playstation 2||¥ 39,800||2 days||630 552|
|14 September 2001||Nintendo Gamecube||¥ 25,000||3 days||133 719|
|22 February 2002||Microsoft Xbox||¥ 34,800||3 days||123 929|
|10 December 2005||Microsoft Xbox 360||¥ 29,000||2 days||62 135|
|11 November 2006||Sony Playstation 3||¥ 49,980||2 days||88 443|
|2 December 2006||Nintendo Wii||¥ 25,000||2 days||371 936|
|8 December 2012||Nintendo Wii U||¥ 26,250||2 days||308 570|
|22 February 2014||Sony Playstation 4||¥ 40,000||2 days||322 083|
Although the numbers are comparable to recent launches from Nintendo, it’s a huge start compared to the PS3 and the Xbox 360’s first days on the shelves and the PS4 moved more than twice as much stock combined in the same period. Its telling as well how much the Wii U is struggling in Nintendo’s home turf – despite being cheaper and more accessible today, it didn’t nearly sell as many units as its predecessor and within three months Sony has eclipsed total Wii U shipments on its own.
To Microsoft’s credit, not launching in Japan at this point is a good idea. There’s little they can to to achieve success in Japan because they never hopped on the mobile bandwagon quick enough. While the launch titles are somewhat compelling, the fallout from a possible launch failure would not be easy to contend with. For now, the units destined for the Japanese markets are better off being sent to countries where they do have a stronger following…
…like South Africa.
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