PlayStation boss Andrew House has provided an assessment of the PlayStation 4's health in Japan. His verdict? "It's doing OK," he told Eurogamer in a new interview from the Develop conference in Europe this week. The PS4 launched in Japan at the end of February and sold more than 370,000 units in a matter of days. Eurogamer reports that the system's current total sales tally for the island nation is 620,000 units.
Globally, the PS4 has sold more than 7 million units as of April 6. In the UK specifically, the PS4 is the fastest-selling console in the history of video games. So what, then, is keeping the PS4 from taking off in Japan? According to House, there are not many PS4 titles designed by Japanese developers, and this could be holding the system back.
"We're conscious of the fact we have not had yet the sort of groundswell of Japan native content from Japanese publishers and developers," House said. "I view that as temporary."
"We're conscious of the fact we have not had yet the sort of groundswell of Japan native content from Japanese publishers and developers. I view that as temporary" -- Andrew House
"There's definite developer and publisher enthusiasm for the platform, especially having seen the overarching success it's had in markets outside of Japan, and again this outpacing of the PlayStation 2," he added. "We'll see that come into games people in Japan will get excited about, but unfortunately a little bit later than has happened in other markets."
House went on to explain that when Sony was "evangelizing" the PS4 on the road to release, the company was experiencing a "tougher sell" with Japanese publishers and developers.
"There was a comfort level around PS3 that was playing into that," he said. "There was a slight level of concern around the viability of the console market in Japan."
Another reason the PS4 is struggling somewhat in Japan could come down to something outside of Sony's immediate control: the nature of entertainment streaming services in Japan. Simply put, streaming services are not as popular in Japan, House said, which removes a secondary reason to buy a PS4. "If you look at the Japanese market, for a variety of reasons, you have not seen a dominant player in streaming services happen," House said. "You see an inherent conservatism around film and TV content holders that doesn't allow for the rise of these brand new services. I think that's another factor."
"We'll see over time great games coming from Japanese publishers and developers. That's point number one. Point number two, which is hampering us a little bit, is for a variety of other structural reasons around the entertainment industry in Japan, we're not seeing that secondary usage," he added. "Those two are colluding together."
But it's not all bleak. Japanese developers' apprehension for creating PS4 games has lessened of late, House said. "We've really turned a corner on that and demonstrated that if you're a publisher that wants to reach a global market with good and immersive games then the PS4 is definitely the place to be."
Eurogamer also spoke with PS4 lead system architect Mark Cerny, who said you'll likely see the PS4's fortunes in Japan improve as time goes on. "It's because the products are not there to compel the people to buy the console," he said about why the PS4 has not been an instant hit in Japan. "We'll have a much better read on that a year or two after the Japanese publishers start releasing those interesting titles."
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|
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