One of the interesting things about the video game store scene in Japan is that many store managers keep blogs, sharing information about sales and on the purchasing trends they see. Of course, with the release of the PS4 many are focusing on what’s happening with Sony’s new console first and foremost, and a general trend is that sales are strong for the hardware, but a bit weak for what games are concerned.
Nari Yuki Game Ya Blog reports that his allocated PS4 units were sold out the first day of availability, and more were sold than expected, but only 46% of the buyers also brought home a game. When asked directly, the customers mentioned that they weren’t buying any software because they had Knack for free, or they were planning to take advantage of the upgrade from PS3 titles.
Game Wa Tsuitachi o Jikan mentions that he sold out the console on the first day as well, but a whopping 70% of purchasers didn’t buy any games. He writes about the upgrade program as a primary cause, while Yakuza Ishin was the best selling game.
Chotto Game Suki ga Torimasu had a bit of a different situation to report. She also talks about 100% sell through of the actual console on the first day, with many customers left without asking when a further shipment would come. There were a lot of cases in which customers purchased no software, but also several in which the same customer bought more than one game, with the overall result of selling more games than consoles. The DualShock 4 and charging stand were also popular items. Yakuza Ishin was purchased by 60% of those that purchased a PS4, and she concludes by expressing her happyness about the fact that home consoles are growing in popularity again.
Tencho Kara no Message had actually no consoles available besides those that were pre-ordered, with a lot of pre-orders coming in the last few days before release. She hopes that Sony will ship new consoles every week to fill further demand. Yakuza Ishin was again her best selling title, and she expressed her satisfaction for not having ordered too few copies. She also immediately made a further order for the game. As a side note, she also reported about the visit from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and Asia President Hiroshi Kawano, that stopped by the shop to talk with the customers and take pictures with them. She even got her own memento of the visit by getting her own signed message, that is now showcased behind the counter.
From all the reports I could find, Yakuza Ishin is the only PS4 game that was very successful during the launch of the console, with software sales suffering due to the free content offered (especially Knack and the beta of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn) with the console and the PS3 to PS4 upgrade program.
It also seems that while many large stores did not run out of console on the first day, most smaller, independent shops did.