PlayStation boss reiterates PS5’s Japanese support: ‘We’re strengthening ties’
Jim Ryan assures players that Sony’s new console will continue to have Japan-made games
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has insisted the platform holder will continue to strengthen its ties with Japanese developers, amid continued suggestion that the company is focusing more on western releases.
In a new interview with Famitsu, Ryan stated that while he considers all of SIE’s worldwide studios to be important, Sony also plans to continue supporting Japanese PS5 game development.
“We’re really happy and proud of the PS Studios titles that have been released by Worldwide Studios”, Ryan said. “Some of them have already been announced, and others are in the works.
“SIE also has strong relationships with licensees in Japan, so we will continue to strengthen our ties with them and develop titles made in Japan for PlayStation fans around the world.”
Ryan also said that his favourite PS5 game so far was the free pre-installed title Astro’s Playroom, which was developed by ASOBI Team, a division of Sony’s Japan Studio.
A report by Bloomberg last November suggested that Sony Japan had been “sidelined” from the Playstation 5’s launch and saw its development teams slashed, amidst claims that the corporation was placing more importance on the US market.
Ryan rubbished this report in December, stating: “We have not been as excited about the engagement of the Japanese game development community as we are now for many years.”
In January, however, a Japanese research firm suggested that the PS5’s low launch sales in Japan were evidence that “Sony is not taking Japan seriously” and that the PlayStation brand was “in decisive decline” in the company’s home country.
Last year PS5 recorded PlayStation’s lowest ever launch numbers in Japan due to few consoles being made available. Its Japan Studio also saw several high-profile departures including Demon’s Souls producer Teruyuki Toriyama, and Gravity Rush creator Keiichiro Toyama.
Currently, Nintendo is dominating Japanese hardware sales, with Switch accounting for 87% of all consoles sold last year.
Speaking to VGC in a recent interview, Nier Automata developer Platinum played down suggestions that Japan was being overlooked with PS5.
Studio head Atsushi Inaba said: “To be honest, we don’t feel it that much, or at least I haven’t felt the impact of it myself yet. That being said, I do understand that the console industry in Japan is not what it used to be and when that happens the priorities of these big console makers will change, and that makes perfect sense to me.”
He added: “I don’t know if this is an opinion that’s out there, and I don’t have any personal investment, but just because PlayStation is from Japan doesn’t mean it should focus on the Japanese market. I don’t feel that way. At the same time, I don’t think it’s American now either: I think it’s international and doesn’t really belong to any country. That’s how I feel as a developer.
“However, I understand from a user perspective that if we start seeing release schedules prioritising the US over Japan, then that will be frustrating I’m sure. I’m not going to tell Japanese fans, ‘that’s how it is, deal with it’.”