The PS4 will be released in Japan on February 22nd, while the Xbox One still doesn’t have a release date (even if Microsoft Japan just committed to a 2014 release), but some Japanese gamers just can’t wait that long, and quite a few affiliate stores are now offering import consoles on Amazon Japan.
The PS4 is currently available at 24 stores with a lowest price of 73,439 yen, that translate into just south of $700. The Xbox One is available at 13 stores with a lowest price of 77,000 yen (a little over $733).
The pricing is actually quite peculiar, with just a $33 difference between the two consoles, while the Xbox One costs $100 more in the US. Sellers may have intentionally applied less of a mark up on Microsoft console to sell more units on a difficult market like the Japanese one.
Of course not too many units are being sold, especially at that price, but an interesting factor is that for now the import Xbox One is selling more than the import PS4, ranking 2,793rd in the best sellers chart for games against the 7.359th place occupied by Sony’s new console.
Of course this shouldn’t be interpreted as Microsoft’s console being more popular in general than the PS4 in Japan. That would frankly be science fiction.
Most Japanese customers are just pre-ordering the Japanese version of Sony’s console (that is now ranked 20th with very spotty pre-order availability), waiting for its actual local release, while the Xbox One still isn’t available for pre-order. With no release date in sight, Xbox fans with a lot of disposable income are more willing to splurge for an import.
That said, considering that imports are already been delivered, we’re looking at a very realistic but paradoxical situation in which there might be more Japanese gamers with an Xbox One than with a PS4 until February 22nd.