Sony’s PS5 promotions appear to focus primarily on the US market and has noticeably pivoted away from Japan. Anonymous Sony employees who spoke to Bloomberg cite PS4’s relatively poor performance in Japan as the reason behind the shift.
Bloomberg’s article lays the math out: While Japan produces 10% of the PS4’s earnings, the US generates 35%, according to Macquarie Group Ltd. analyst Damian Thong. The PS4 also sold less than 10 million units in Japan, as stated by Famitsu, and performed more poorly than the PS3.
Sony disavows that it’s shifting marketing focus. Spokeswoman Natsumi Atarashi stated “our home market remains of utmost importance” and pointed out that PS5 is actually launching in Japan first.
However, company staff on the Japanese side have felt sidelined in PS5’s promotions and said they were “left awaiting for instructions from California.” An unnamed senior employee at PlayStation’s headquarters told Bloomberg they were “frustrated by the failure of the Japan marketing team to sell as many PlayStation 4 units as expected.”
Other signs also point to Sony’s shift in attention from the Japanese market: Reduction in Japan-based developer support teams, online promotional events that lacked Japanese subtitles at times, and a relatively small PS5 stock provided to Japanese sellers. Retailers have stated they’ve received only a few more units than they did of the PlayStation 3.
“It’s analyst consensus that PlayStation no longer sees the Japan market as important,” Morningstar Research analyst Kazunori Ito said. “If you want to know their take on the Japanese market, you need to ask about it because otherwise Sony wouldn’t talk about it.”
Sony’s marketing strategy for the PS5 looks like it will pay off. CFO Hiroki Totoki commented that the company could sell more than 7.6 million PlayStation 5 units in the first five months. Sony’s eventual goal for the PS5 is to match PS4’s lifetime sales and reach 100 million sales.
Check out our PS5 review if you want a first look on what you can expect from the next-gen console.