After feeling a bit slighted by hometown Japanese gaming giant Sony, Japan’s console gamers are now finally getting their hands on the PlayStation 4 (PS4). Sony’s next-gen console has been raking in the sales – and soundly beating Microsoft’s Xbox One at it – with the Japanese console makers choosing to launch the PS4 to the United States and European market first before actually launching it in Japan. But on February 22, the wait was finally over for Japanese gamers – but this marks the first time a gaming console was launched in its home country last.
The much-anticipated Japanese launch comes after the PS4’s stellar debut in the US and European markets, with Sony announcing that it has sold more than 5.4 million units by the start of February, exceeding its own projections of selling 5 million units by end of March. Those who were hoping to be the first to get Sony’s newfangled next-gen console lined up at the Sony Building, located within the posh Ginza district of Tokyo, even two days before the launch date. Ryotaro Takanashi, an 18-year-old college student, waited for two nights in the winter cold to be the first in the pack to get hold of the PS4. “It felt so long. I couldn’t wait,” Takanashi said as he was in line with two friends.
At midnight on February 22, the first 100 customers were given the privilege to take home the new video game console, putting those who lined up in the cold ahead of a nationwide mass release just a few hours later. “Thank you for coming to this launch despite the cold,” Andrew House, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said to the first buyers. Hard core fans such as Ryo Watanabe, a 21-year-old college student, said that the long wait was worth it. “Personally, it wasn’t painful waiting. It was thrilling,” said Watanabe, who was outfitted as a Metal Gear character with an olive-green camouflaged jacket and pants. Watanabe officially became the first customer to receive a PS4 console, which was hand delivered to him by Andrew House himself.
At the same countdown event, Hiroshi Kawano, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia, denied that the reason for the delay of launch in Japan was that the Japanese market was insignificant. Indeed, most online tech blogs have assumed that Sony’s reasons were indeed financial in nature. “Ultimately, Japan was the last, but we were able to offer a good launch because we had prepared in advance,” Kawano said. He said a primary reason for the delay was to ensure that the software titles that are popular with Japanese consumers – including the ones in the launch lineup like “Ryu Ga Gotoku” (Like a Dragon) and “Metal Gear Solid V” – would be available. But whatever the reason was, it probably is moot point now. The next big question would be how the Japanese market would take to the PS4. (Next to that question, when would the good folks at JDP be able to try it out?)
[via Wall Street Journal]