Sony is selling a lot of PS5 consoles in its native Japan right now, but physical software sales are non-existent. In the latest Famitsu report, the manufacturer moved almost 100k units, but not a single boxed title could break the software top ten – and they only would have needed to sell over 4,480 units to make the cut. Even if more and more people are buying digitally these days, there’s a staggering discrepancy between hardware and physical software sales that’s impossible to ignore.
One theory suggests that a chunk of the stock may actually be making its way out of the country. The embedded Twitter thread, with photos, hypothesises that consoles are being snapped up in droves and shipped to China, where the weak yen makes this a viable business strategy. Sony does officially flog the PS5 in China, but it’s a locked version which is restricted only to software approved by the government there; Japanese units are, naturally, unlocked.
While it’s difficult to get a feel for just how widespread this practice actually is from the thread, it would help to explain why software sales are so weak on the PS5 right now. Then again, it raises interesting questions about the Japanese market: are gamers uninterested in the console entirely, or are they simply fighting a losing battle against exporters who are shipping all the systems overseas? It feels unlikely that tens of thousands of consoles a week are being sent to China, so then what’s going on with the system’s poor physical software sales?
why arent the Japanese getting the 'bundles' the west do?
seems unfair Sony want the west to pay more for entry... admittedly more non bundles are becoming available, but still.
It's certainly an interesting situation, but the bottom line is that we don't have all the facts. Like the article says, we don't really know how widespread this is.
Digital game sales aren't provided in Japan, either, which feels like a massive oversight when trying to explain the software charts.
Without concrete evidence, a lot of this is just supposition from people online. Sadly, we might never get to know the whole truth.
Na na na na ah hells no booooo! This is not good these consoles are built for fans to enjoy not horded and sold for more than their worth. I'm sorry but no I hope these gather dust and they'll be forced to sell em at rrp.
@stvevan I'm surprised there isn't more Gran Turismo 7 bundles. Especially with how well the series sells over there.
Most of the units have just been console only, no game included by the looks of it.
Before this article, I thought it would've been just buying PS5 in advance for stuff like FFXVI and playing their existing PS4 library and digital stuff in the meantime.
But it truly is a shame if PS5 scalping is still a problem.
Or maybe the Japanese bough a PS5 to play f2p games like fortnite and Apex??? Or maybe consider the fact that PlayStation sales are mostly digital now
I feel like part of the sales might also be due to upcoming games like ffxvi. Sort of like a pre buying.
@Mad001 In this situation I get it though. Like the article says the Japanese PS5’s aren’t region locked- unlike the ones’ in China.
If I was living there I would also like to play games I was interested in not what the Chinese propaganda machine thinks is ‘safe’.
You were right on the mark, ol' buddy.
I knew something was up. You don't ship that much hardware and have charts completely devoid of games for said hardware.
Rather than come up with a ton of "no way it can't all be from that..."
It is likely entirely that. Buying the consoles up and selling them in a market there is demand for a profit. Especially with China's native consoles being restrictive. Just profiteering across borders.
When it comes to Japan, I think the poor true performance of the console of late is down to taste and culture in the game space. The big games on PS5/PS4 and and some of the frankly... Unique.... Stuff coming outta Japan directly clash. There is a lot of cultural reasons for that, and some of it is unfortunately quite mysogonistic and gross. However that's another tangent entirely.
Either way the Japanese Playstation, has largely abandoned the idea of large scale catering to that niche in favor of doing so to the west and other markets where the risk is lesser and profits consistent.
The people criticising scalpers here are missing the point a little, it's not quite the same situation as in the West.
They're not buying up the items in order to sell them to the same people that are missing out because of their actions, but at a higher price.
They're shipping them to China to sell as an item that Chinese people are restricted from possessing by their own oppressive government and are happy to pay Inflated prices for. The PS5 sold in China is a strictly inferior item.
It would be nice if there was enough for both the export and home market but every one is ending up in the hands of customers, and no one is being ripped-off(too much)
Meanwhile China's charts show hundred thousands of software sales and 0 consoles.
@Ralizah I knew it! I had this hunch about it, the pieces all lined up!
Oh, thank god! For a second there I thought the “Sony hates Japan” crowd was going to have to rethink their narrative, but it turns out it was just this guy. What a relief.
Maybe actually release some PS5 software instead of just enhanced PS4 games
@TrickyDicky99 Do you just copy and paste the comments?
This is a pretty interesting market for Chinese consumers. They'd likely also buy digitally as well once they receive the unlocked consoles
Been saying this from the beginning that this was happening whenever their was stock over there.
Maybe in China chips are taken out and ‘given’ to Russia?
If true, what region is China more likely to be importing their region free games from then?
@Tharsman They’ll just register as Taiwan or something and buy games digitally
reference: PS Store chart 2022 by PS Blog（JP / US）
I'm sure this accounts for some percentage of the Japanese sales, but the reality of the situation is that it's probably much smaller than people are led to believe.
Scalping, while incredibly annoying, just really isn't that lucrative a business especially when you have to account for overseas shipping costs, import taxes, and transaction fees.
I would be genuinely surprised if scalping accounts for 10% of sales in Japan.
Edit: The only way I can see this happening at a large scale is if the grey market is being used as a way to avoid the many transaction costs associated with scalping. Even then, the unemployment rate in Japan is 2.5% — scalping is extremely time and effort consuming and there are better ways to spend your time.
I was already wondering why I still don’t see any PS5 here to buy easily.
Apparently the above is happening with many things with stuff being bought and sent to China, according to my Japanese wife.
People in Japan are buying PS5's to live in them, then play their Switch. Cheaper than an apartment I hear.
I’m calling it BS
Still not sure why Digital games get tracked or in this case not tracked so differently than physical. I know there must be an easy answer for it, but seems strange these numbers can’t be better reported. I only buy digital, i went into a gamestop today to kill time while i waited for my appointment to get my haircut. There were hardly any games to buy on PS4, PS5, and Xbox, switch had a decent tho not crazy selection. Heck if i did buy digital, i would order online, brick and mortar stores and physical media seems all but dead outside of new releases and some older used games.i did like the artwork on the inside of the GOWR case, never got to see that before. Anyways not sure why anyone cares what numbers happen in Japan all that much, we all know Nintendo is Japan. Going to take a BIG N sized mess up for anyone to crack the top 10 consistently against a handheld/Home console hybrid.
I honestly had no clue that China restricted gaming so much until now.
Things banned in China:
@ChrisDeku Wait what? I couldn't live without Google, YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, and Wikipedia.
That's nuts, feel bad for them.
@Green-Bandit Japan and Nintendo are a weird relationship. They dominate but in Japan the old adage that Nintendo fans only buy Nintendo games is mostly still true unlike elsewhere. It's largely bought for kids and largely only Nintendo published games. Companies like Falcom actually see better sales in games on playstation than on switch despite much lower install base, the people that buy ps actually buy 3rd party games more.
And of course the success of the Japan market influences the kind of Japanese games we get in the west. If it sells, we get games made for Japanese tastes. If not... We get westernized "Japanese" games.
Japan is all mobile these days, with Nintendo as a bubble market. But pc seems to be surpassing ps most likely. Wonder how steam deck is doing there...
@KidBoruto To add to the above, when we talk about what companies are buying companies in gaming and talk about Tencent being #1, much bigger than even MS even if they get Activision on gaming, much bigger than Sony, even bigger than Apple in gaming revenue, Tencent along with Alibaba are the makers and administrators of Chinas "social credit system" where everything is monitored and rolled into a "score" for a person, they're distilled to a number of their social value which can determine access to locations and services etc. And playing video games is a negative factor in that score...... And then they started selling consoles officially....
@NEStalgia It's no wonder anyone I know from China want to get out of there.
Wait so let me guess this straight.
The article is saying that 100K is reported from a site. But there is a Twitter link that shows scalping. And the article also points out that box game sales (so like Horizon, GT or GoW?) are way too low…. And Famitsu isn’t counting digital games (or PS+ extra or PS+ collection) So the Twitter must be the reason….
But the Twitter doesn’t have a single box game set in all of those photos ( they are also $60 more in Japan) so…… what is this article implying then?
I feel like the Chinese scalpers trying to get u locked systems into China is a way better angle then the confirmation bias of scalping being the reason Japanese game sales are down……
Wild speculation offered as news?
I firmly believe the bulk of sales wiil be digital. The switch is a portable, there are good reasons to ensure you have your game plugged in. Thats not the case for ps5.
Im speculating of course, but thats far more likely than this story, and bulit around just as many facts.
@Titntin there is certainly a case for some going to China, ps5 seems to have been selling around 40k a week recently. so theres a big Increase but doubtful someone is buying 30k consoles... imagine the logistics etc.
probably few k to China, people buying for Potter/VR
@NEStalgia i can see that, i mean it’s only nintendo game topping the charts. I am the same way, my Switch has not one 3rd party title on it. All Nintendo exclusives. Tho at the moment my PS3- PS5 is all sony games and no 3rd party. Japan is heavy on Mobile, that i did know. Makes sense, i have not the slightest clue if Steam deck is doing well in Japan, but my guess would be nothing worth getting to excited over. Didn’t know PC was doing decent in Japan either, normally i only think of Mobile first Switch second and then PS.
@Green-Bandit historically PC did terrible in Japan, but in recent years it's really shown an uptick. Which is why it used to be that pc had almost no Japanese games at all, it was PS or nothing, but recently pc has more comprehensive Japanese library than either ps or switch alone.
I get the feeling that since "core"gaming has become such a niche thing at all in Japan, where core games don't sell to the switch market, the remaining "enthusiast" market there has been shifting mostly into full pc master race and the ps market has really shrunk as a result.
Heck you had Sega years ago highlighting their focus on pc-first, and all their arcade cabs are pc based.
@Fight_Teza_Fight it reminded me about the time I was buying the ps5 couldn't get one. I rather the scalper to waste their time than buy it off one. Yea be your own critic don't listen to anyone else's take until you played watched or read the what ever it is you wanna see. I watched the excorxist when it was unbanned and rereleased in cinema I didn't see the point in banning it people always finds a way, back then it was VHS recorded and shared.
@NEStalgia Nice to see PC do a little better in Japan. I knew Sega was PC based in the arcade, and love some of the Sega Arcade games, they are so good at that. It’s the reason i won’t buy House of the Dead on Xbox. I just like to play those in the arcade. I am glad to see the Switch do well in Japan tho, i love Metroid Prime and i know that won’t do well there, but was happy for the shadow drop, been playing it all weekend. PS5 is so big and ugly, i am surprised it is selling in Japan, I’m sure FF16 will be huge there. Even the Dual Sense seems big for Japan.
@Green-Bandit FF will do decently but has never been as huge there as other stuff, it was always bigger in the West. It's grown, but I'd love to see the pc/ps split there. Seems like a game that Japanese enthusiasts with gaming rigs are more likely to buy. That's some of my worry over the game actually. Square knows they're selling to westerners and not Japan anymore, and I'm afraid they'll just make ff into more game of thrones for the western tastes.
Lol yeah the size of PS5 definitely doesn't suit tastes there. That, the controller and forcing the reverse of O/X to match western standard really is a middle finger (or bottom of shoe...). I'm kind of surprised it's doing at least somewhat well due to that, though, pcs are bigger and popular now.... It's hard to tell how much is real consoles selling for digital games and vr and how much is export, but I'd be willing to bet more than half is export. I'm surprised it took this long for something to turn up on that.
@patronmacabre If it's a large Chinese import effort I could see there being a more efficient business based approach to it, organized by an importer on the Chinese side. It wouldn't be new, China had mass importing of consoles long before consoles were officially sold there. They were never illegal, just not officially imported. So of course clearing houses for import popped up. Japanese participants would then only need to deliver the product to the export operation in Japan where it would be sent as a single large freight shipment to a Chinese distributor that would sell or wholesale them like a normal distributor. I'm not picturing an ebay spree of individual scalpers. Right now with the currency conversion that would be solid business and exist for more than just consoles.
@NEStalgia i have no interested in FF, and haven’t in years. Not my thing, but i am sure it will do well. PC gaming is only getting stronger, so it might continue to grow in Japan. Xbox won’t grow there and at this point i am fine with that.
@Green-Bandit I'm a huge RPG fan, both W and J, but FF really lost it's way even Sakaguchi left. The past 2 generations of ff have been iffy. The games have actually been ok. They're unique, memorable... But really broken messes. I have low hopes for an ultra westernized ff with a DMC battle system... We'll see... It won't be a power house in Japan though. It looks tailor made for the West with Western theming and imagery and it's not the strongest series there. And the mmo xiv, captures Japanese tastes better than this anyway (I still say that game is a boring pc MMO from 2001, but....)
Xb never seriously tried there and yes weird. Ps I think it's losing heavy ground there to pc and mostly mobile. Gaming in general just seems really depressing in Japan. Mostly an industry made for export now...
Hmmmm... I was wondering why the Japanese PS5 units are going at a LOWER price sometimes than the Chinese domestic ones on Ali platforms, I guess this explains it. Previously a Japanese PS5 unit would cost at least a few dozen bucks more but now that markup difference has evaporated.
As for the locking of titles, it's actually surprisingly easy to bypass the restrictions on non-approved games on a Chinese domestic PS5 unit, and it's a non-issue if the discs contain the games fully. Most vendors including Sony's own flagship store would teach you means to bypass that and hard bans on game sales i.e. removal of sales pages from ecommerce platforms are far and few inbetween, in fact only one game on the PS4 and one game on the Switch had gotten that treatment in my last five years of gaming in this country.
@NEStalgia i like western RPG’s, not so into the JRPG’s. Even with the western vibe of FF16, i find little to no interest in it, at least not at launch. Yes Japan is just not what it used to be to me back in the Super Nes and PS1 days. Ever since 360, i just seem to miss most of the games coming from Japan, outside of Capcom and Nintendo. Those i play and enjoy. Mobile will only continue to grow there as mobile is going to get better and better with time.
@Green-Bandit In a lot of ways I think there's been a blending between W and J RPGs of late. W RPGs are often a lot more focused on a linear type story (CDPR games for example), while J RPGs have mostly left turn-based design moved to an action format, and picked up the "Bioware format" questing design. They're still different from art style, thematic elements, etc, but the game structures have started blurring a lot of lines. I think the main difference in combat still lies in W RPGs mostly being open ended or systems driven to an extent, while J RPGs are focused on technical play.
The biggest difference I've seen is where western "open world action adventure game" has started to blur into WRPG to the point it's hard to tell which is which. Assassin's Creed Origins felt mostly like an RPG, but then became officially an RPG with Odyssey. HZD/HFW isn't officially an RPG, yet, I struggle to figure out what exactly makes it not an RPG since everything about it mirrors the Bioware format, and despite the "Ubisoft map with icons" everything about it plays like an action RPG, from inventory/resource management and crafting to vendors and questing. In fact HZD is far more an RPG than FFXIII will ever be.
IDK that mobile will get better and better unless we're talking cloud. Mobile seems fixed into a certain business model focused mostly in predatory money extraction and I don't see that changing much. Apple Arcade and the like has tried to break that model (speaking of FF and Sakaguchi, that's where he is these days), but I think the market on mobile actually likes that model for whatever horrifying reason. I don't see it getting better, ever, as long as the games are designed around the monetization model. I think Switch right now is the alternative for "real" gaming, portably (or cloud where viable) which is the key to its success, but, in Japan, that's still not where the adults are at in their tiny amounts of free time.
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