PlayStation Japan President Explains Why PS Vita Was Absent at E3; Talks PS4's Recovery

July 3, 2016

The situation of the PlayStation market in Japan is in a peculiar place compared to the rest of the world. Both the PS4 and the PS Vita have started their life cycle remarkably slow, only to recover after a while. Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan and Asia Atsushi Morita gave an update on the local situation during an interview on 4Gamer.

Morita-san explained why the PS4 had a sluggish start, mentioning that most of the launch titles were targeted to North American and European markets. While western gamers responded to that by buying the console en masse, it took some time for the Japanese market to ramp up.

Yet, in the last year more and more Japanese games hit the local market, and customers responded well by the end of the year. Moreover, the trend has stabilized even pass the traditional year-end shopping season, and Sony managed to keep a consistent level of sales from the beginning of the year onward, with further spikes when big games are released.

According to Morita-san, the flow of PS4 sales is now good,and the sluggish situation we saw one year ago has been addressed, and has now considerably changed.

Morita-san also mentioned that even with cross-generation games customers have shifted from PS3 to PS4, and he feels that this flow is going to continue accelerating towards the shopping season at the end of the year.

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The current marketing has been targeting users between 30 and 40 or a little younger, who have grown up in an age in which there pretty much was a home console in every house, while this isn’t necessarily true anymore now. The campaign was met favorably, and Sony is going to continue with it for next year. Morita also thinks that there is an addressable market among parents playing together with their children and those who like to watch let’s plays and e-sports.

Morita-san then explained the reason why the PS Vita was basically absent at E3, mentioning that the market in the west isn’t very large. Since E3 is mostly dedicated to the western market and it’s held in North America, that’s where Sony aimed its products.

That said, Sony is working to spread the portable console more among children in Japan (with Minecraft being very popular among the youngest target demographics), but it’s also targeting adults. If the platform becomes widespread and the installed base is grows, the games for it naturally appear. Morita-san feels that the future of the PS Vita in Japan lays within broadening the user base with games coming for each demographic.

Incidentally, Morita-san mentioned that he cannot answer for the moment on whether there will ever be a PS Vita successor.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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