There’s been intense conversation, of late, regarding PlayStation’s status in Japan. Sales statistics show that, launch aligned, the PlayStation 5 is performing worse than the Nintendo Wii U – although the console is sold out worldwide. Some think that the small hardware shipments signal a lack of interest in its home territory from the Japanese giant, and this sentiment has been compounded by a spate of high-profile departures from its Japan Studio development team.
PlatinumGames’ boss Atsushi Inaba feels differently, however: “To be honest, we don’t feel it that much, or at least I haven’t felt the impact of it myself yet,” he told VGC. “That being said, I do understand that the console industry in Japan is not what it used to be and when that happens the priorities of these big console makers will change, and that makes perfect sense to me.”
He continued: “I don’t know if this is an opinion that’s out there, and I don’t have any personal investment, but just because PlayStation is from Japan doesn’t mean it should focus on the Japanese market. I don’t feel that way. At the same time, I don’t think it’s American now either: I think it’s international and doesn’t really belong to any country. That’s how I feel as a developer.”
However, in the same interview, Devil May Cry designer Hideki Kamiya pointed to Sony’s decision to break tradition with PS5’s default controls as a sign that things may be changing internally: “My pride isn’t hurt as a Japanese person – it’s just more that there are two camps who had two ways of doing things, and I think they’ve short-sightedly leaned one way. I don’t understand the reasoning behind that.”
He added: “It’s just a little bit of disrespect towards the gaming cultures that have existed for decades now as part of so many peoples’ lives. I feel like PS5 has disrupted that and I don’t know if it was meaningful to do that.”
But Kamiya concluded that he doesn’t foresee “a shunning of Sony from Japanese [game] makers at all”. He said: “It’s so hard to get a PS5 right now that I feel we don’t have enough accurate data on how it will ultimately fare in Japan yet.” Unfortunately, stock shortages are expected until late into the year, according to AMD.