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?