PlayStation hardware sales have been declining quite steadily for some time now, and there have been more than a few reports of Sony de-emphasizing the Japanese market and the brand being in steady decline in the region. Sony itself has denied any such notions, but other developments – such as a number of high profile departures from SIE Japan Studio, for instance – haven’t helped matters.
However, key members of PlatinumGames don’t seem to think there’s to much to be worried about. Speaking recently in an interview with VGC, studio had Atsushi Inaba denied seeing such a trend. He went on to add that PlayStation is a global brand at this point, so an emphasis on Japan might not make much business sense- though he also admitted that it can be frustrating for fans.
“To be honest, we don’t feel it that much, or at least I haven’t felt the impact of it myself yet,” Inaba said. “That being said, I do understand that the console industry in Japan is not what it used to be and when that happens the priorities of these big console makers will change, and that makes perfect sense to me.
“I don’t know if this is an opinion that’s out there, and I don’t have any personal investment, but just because PlayStation is from Japan doesn’t mean it should focus on the Japanese market. I don’t feel that way. At the same time, I don’t think it’s American now either: I think it’s international and doesn’t really belong to any country. That’s how I feel as a developer.
“However, I understand from a user perspective that if we start seeing release schedules prioritising the US over Japan, then that will be frustrating I’m sure. I’m not going to tell Japanese fans, ‘that’s how it is, deal with it.'”
Meanwhile, Hideki Kamiya also chimed in on the issue, saying outright that he doesn’t see Sony’s actions as shunning the Japanese market, and adding that it’s hard to judge right now anyway, considering the stock shortages the console is facing in the region.
“I don’t see that,” he said. “I don’t see a shunning of Sony from the Japanese makers at all. And really it’s so hard to get a PS5 right now that I feel we don’t have enough accurate data on how it will ultimately fare in Japan yet.”
It’s worth considering that the Japanese market has shifted away from consoles by and large, with handhelds being much more successful (which is why the Switch is such a success). It remains to be seen how well the PS5 will fare, though it’s probably going to be a while before there’s enough supply of the console to be able to judge that properly.