Today marked the beginning of the reduction of the price of PS4 in Japan from 39,980 yen ($334) to 34,980 yen (plus taxes), that translates to about $292.
In order to get the pulse of the results of the price cut, I went to Akihabara to observe how fast the console was selling. As usual, asking store employees and managers is futile. They’re sent into a spinning panic of doom as soon as they hear the word “journalist” and see a business card that looks like from a gaming website. That’s actually par for the course in Japan.
So I did it the old fashioned way. I selected the three most popular gaming and electronic stores in Tokyo’s electronics Mecca, Akihabara (the two main Sofmap stores on Chuo Dori and the Yodobashi Camera megastore), and camped them for a whole afternoon trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, or at least as inconspicuous as a big baka gaijin can look in a Japanese store.
Considering the fact that taking pictures in stores is normally quite unwelcome, and that I haven’t been kicked out, you could say that my Ninja skills aren’t that terrible, after all.
First of all, the PS4 price cut was heavily advertised in all the stores, with big signs and banners right in front of the escalators and where you can find the purchase slips (in many stores in Japan you purchase hardware by picking up a slip and bringing it to the cashier, that will pull out the console from behind the counter).
Yodobashi Camera had the most ads, plastered basically everywhere, hanging from the ceiling and basically taking most of the available poster space.
Things looked relatively calm at the beginning. There definitely were no queues and the console did not go out of stock. Yet, sales accelerated quickly, climaxing towards the end of the afternoon, when I could see PS4 consoles being sold at a pace of one every one to two minutes at Yodobashi Camera, as people got out of the office and headed to buy themselves a new console.
The pace was most definitely much faster than in any other occasion I’ve visited those stores, and I do tend to go there quite a lot when I’m in Tokyo.
This kind of strong sales was definitely quite impressive for Akihabara, and it was happening despite the heavy rain, that often dampens people’s desire to go shopping. The clerks at the stores were definitely efficient in creating waterproof bags with additional layers to protect the new consoles.
Interestingly, there was another thing that was selling extremely well, and that was Yoru no Nai Kuni by Gust. During the afternoon I’ve seen a whole lot of copies sold, especially the collector’s edition for PS4.
Considering how interesting the game looks, I was smiling from ear to ear every time I saw a copy find a warm and loving Japanese home. And that means that I was smiling a whole lot for the whole afternoon.
You’ll possibly notice that I didn’t mention the Xbox One, despite the fact that its temporary price drop started today as well. Truth is that I saw only two sell through the whole afternoon.
That, though, might not be the console’s fault. The price reduction was not advertised at all. I looked everywhere in all three shops, and I couldn’t see a single mention of the new price, that as far as I could find, wasn’t even marked anywhere.
Back to PS4, looks like it’s selling very well online as well. Today the Jet Black version has jumped straight to first place on Amazon Japan, while the Glacier White version is currently 12th.
One thing is for sure: the next media create charts on Wednesday are going to be interesting. We can definitely expect a sizable boost for PS4 sales.