The Japanese release date of the PS4 has been revealed yesterday for February the 22nd, 2014, and I have counted at least five doom and gloom articles stating that the industry doesn’t care about Japan anymore, that it’s become an irrelevant market and so forth. That’s quite funny, considering that Japan is still, like always, one of the highest grossing markets in the world for video games. Thinking that Sony doesn’t care about it is just slightly ridiculous.
Looks like no one between the authors of those articles thought to just ask the reason to the man behind it: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and Asia President Hiroshi Kawano. Luckily Dengeki Online did, as we learn in an interview published today.
We can say “It was announced at last.” I believe that this is the most optimal release date.
When introducing [the console] to the Japanese market, I thought that it would not go well if we didn’t have Japanese titles. There is a slight difference with the American and European release dates because we’re currently developing and promoting Japan’s unique titles, we’d like for you to understand.
So there you have it: there are no stormy clouds of doom over Japan. The PS4 will be released later in its home turf simply because Sony wanted to have some strong Japanese titles to propel the console at launch.
Kawano’s statement actually makes perfect sense. Remember the release of the PS3? It didn’t have solid console sellers in Japan, and it didn’t go down very well.
Sony doesn’t want to make the same mistake, and with strong titles belonging to system-selling franchises like Yakuza Ishin and the beta of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launching with the console on February the 22nd, looks like they have things sorted rather well this time around. If they launched earlier, their line-up would be a lot less palatable to the Japanese crowd.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will also be free for those that already purchased it for PS3, and a whole lot of Japanese gamers did, providing the perfect incentive to purchase the new console.
(Photo: Koji Sasahara)