After all the hullabaloo surrounding the PlayStation 5’s launch in Japan – stock issues mean that it was trending behind even the Nintendo Wii U at one point – the next-gen console is now selling faster than its predecessor the PS4 did in the region when launch aligned. It’s worth remembering that the PS4 didn’t arrive until February domestically meaning the two devices are on different schedules, but the PS5 is still practically impossible to purchase around the globe.
According to Famitsu hardware sales data, the PS4 had an install base of 643,912 units by the conclusion of its 24th week on sale, whereas the PS5 has now notched up 658,778 units. Golden Week is fast approaching in Japan, which could give the next-gen console another bump – assuming, of course, Sony can effectively get stock on shelves. It’ll also be promoting Resident Evil Village hard over the coming days.
Unfortunately, the console just isn’t moving software at all. The week ending 25th April saw the release of Judgment’s remaster on the PS5, and SEGA dropped the price of physical copies to just ¥1,800 (~$16) in order to help push it. However, it managed to sell just 5,539 units according to Famitsu sales data. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 did surpass 108k units on the PS4, and we’re curious whether PS5 owners decided to purchase that instead.
Exactly what’s going on with PS5 software sales is still unclear. Obviously, the industry at large is shifting more towards digital on the PS Store, as referenced by Sony’s financials. But the drop off for PS5 releases like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – especially after its predecessor did so well in Japan – has been enormous. What exactly are local gamers playing on their next-gen consoles? Is backwards compatibility affecting the sales of new software? Is the hardware being bought up and exported to other Asian nations?
Resident Evil Village should give us some indication, as while it’s also available on the PS4, it’s the next tentpole PS5 release with real Japanese consumer interest. If it flops, though – and we don’t expect the numbers to be extraordinary by any stretch – then real questions need to be asked about what is happening in the region. Sony’s selling more games than ever globally, of course, but its physical software sales are practically non-existent domestically right now.