Sony’s making history with the PlayStation 4 by launching it in Western regions before its home territory. All previous prominent PlayStation launches – aside from the PSPgo – have deployed in Japan first, but the platform holder has decided to push the next generation console back until 22nd February in the technology-obsessed nation. Meanwhile, Europe, North America, and even parts of Asia will be playing the console this year. But why is that?
"Sony just wants to make sure that when the PS4 launches in Japan there is a good line-up of titles for Japan," lead architect Mark Cerny told Eurogamer.net at the Tokyo Game Show today. "Perhaps you could say that a few Western developers have been more aggressive in readying titles for the hardware."
It’s true that the console’s current offering is very Western-focused. Outside of Knack, there’s not a single Japanese title in the system’s launch window lineup. And while franchises such as Killzone and Call of Duty do have an audience in the Land of the Rising Sun, they’re never going to appeal to quite the same degree as a home grown project such as, say, Yakuza Ishin.
Unfortunately for Japanese gamers, though, Eastern studios are not quite as prepared for the next generation as their Western counterparts. “Japan is completely different [to the West],” explained Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida. “It’s a completely different picture of readiness compared to Western publishers.”
Of course, we have a sneaking suspicion that the delay may also be down to competitive reasons. While the Xbox One is likely to prove a very strong adversary in Europe and North America, the Microsoft brand has never taken off in Eastern regions. And with Nintendo’s own Wii U failing to light up the Media Create charts, it gives Sony a bit of breathing room. Naturally, it’s disappointing news for Japanese gamers – but, hey, at least they get a free copy of the aforementioned Knack to compensate for the wait.