Japan is Hesitant to Adopt PS3/360


Have you been watching Media Create’s top 30 software sales charts in Japan? From a platform/publisher perspective, it’s consistently populated by mostly DS games and slightly fewer PS2, PSP, and Wii games. PS3 titles are very sparse on the list and 360 games are even rarer.

It’s surprising that even today there are so many more PS2 releases and software sales than those on the PS3 and 360 combined. In the west, developers and the media completely lost any interest in the PS2 many years ago. I remember in late 2004, most of the western media outlets started to proclaim the PS2 era as over and many new game development was being started on next-gen systems. The media definitely jumped the gun by at least a year or two, but in the west, there was such an eagerness and excitement to move on the next generation of hardware back then. But in Japan, here we are in late 2008, and the PS2 is still far more popular in terms of software sales and quantity of popular new game releases than the PS3 and 360 combined.

Anyone have any good theories for why this difference may be? Is it a consumer issue such as cost or size of the hardware or fancy graphics and online features that are perceived as adding more complexity than entertainment value? Or is it a developer issue? Are the developers slow to change production practices, slow to invest in new technology, or hesitant to jump to a newer and financially riskier platform?


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by Paranoimia on November 1st, 2008 [ 1285 Points ]

    I don’t mean this in an insulting way, but I think the Japanese are more easily satisfied than most of the West. They’re not graphics whores, and are more interested in a good story, whereas some Western gamers will play absolutely _anything_ as long as it looks pretty – which is one of the major selling points of the PS3/360.

    I mean, only in Japan could something like this sell…
    http://www.giantbomb.com/news/call-your-congressman-ban-this-sick-filth/447/

  2. #2 by Gary on November 1st, 2008

    The Japanese love their gadgets. Small is definitely better and neither the PS3 or 360 fit that categoryl. It’s why the DS and PSP consistently sell quite well.

    Also, their gaming tastes are drastically different to the majority of Western gamers. Microsoft have tried to appeal to Japanese gamers by adding a lot more JRPGs to their line up. This has worked to some extent but I think portable gaming is the ruling force in Japan.

    I have been surprised at how shockingly bad the PS3 has done in Japan though. I don’t know if Sony will ever be able to shift a sizeable amount of units week after week.

    FFXIII and White Knight Chronicles will give the PS3 a boost but just like every other big game that was supposed to boost sales, the spike will be short term.

  3. #3 by Darrin on November 1st, 2008 [ 17143 Points ]

    Paranoimia, I agree that a lot of the big selling Japanese games are garbage, but I’d say the same thing about America and Europe: it’s just a different type of garbage.

    And of course, Japanese do like smaller stuff and both the PS3/360 are fairly large.

    I’m still surprised that the PS2 has proven to have such longevity over there.

  4. #4 by fleakitten on November 1st, 2008 [ 26489 Points ]

    I don’t think WKC is going to boost the PS3 any in Japan. If all gamers over there are waiting for are rpgs then Sony was right not to bet all of it’s aces in Japan alone this gen.

  5. #5 by mpz on November 1st, 2008

    Maybe it’s just the software. xbox is going much better now they have some games that suit the market, and there’s still few on ps3 – and plenty on ps2.

    The wee is still just a ‘fad’ – but ‘fad’s in Japan seem to define whole market segments …

  6. #6 by SL33PY on November 3rd, 2008 [ 2371 Points ]

    This actually was talked about by a senior management dude of Sony. The problem at this moment is that there are practically no developers that have the capabilities to develop for PS3, as in : “They don’t have the knowledge”.

    Most Japanese developers didn’t invest in the next(current) generation platforms and thus are way behind compared to western countries that started developing on the PS3/Xbox as early as 2004.

    Since Japan has a strong PS2 developer community that knows the inner works of the platform on the back of their hands, they still keep making incredibly popular titles for the Japan market. I wonder if we’ll ever see them over here, but I sincerely doubt so.

    I heard that Sony is now actively pushing the Japanese developer community to start pushing the PS3 and migrate to the next platform.

    @paranoimia: I wouldn’t put it that way, I can agree however to “They have different tastes and needs when it comes to computer gaming”
    @mpz: I can’t agree to your statement that the ps3 software library is in a way inferior to the xbox library. I just had 7(!) games imported from the us (cheaper :/) for the PS3 and I know that next month there will be other games that I really want to own… on my PS3 … ok maybe I’m a freak, but at least I’m liking it :)

    Have a good one!

  7. #7 by Office Ninja on November 3rd, 2008

    I have actually heard that before, that there are fewer developers in Japan.

    The PS3 is still the overall dominate console in Asia. The 360 has recently enjoyed a sales spike in that market due to the price cut and some exclusive RPGs. Final Fantasy XIII is still a PS3 exclusive in the Asian market, also White Knight Chronicles is due out in Asia before years end. Overall the PS3 has lost some ground to the 360, but will end up emerging as the over all victor.


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