As time goes, things change. That’s just the nature of the world after all. For instance, take Sony. Their output has shifted considerably in the last decade or so and has become far more focused on narrative driven single player experiences with a slathering of smaller titles to fill out gaps. It also hasn’t escaped many that their focus seems to be much more on their western studios with the likes of Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica and Sucker Punch producing their biggest titles lately with Sony Japan, their development teams centered in the region, mostly becoming a support studio or working on smaller titles. With a recent exodus of top talent from that branch and recent reports that Sony is shifting focus away from Japan as console sales continue on a downward turn, some see the platform holder has looking away from the land of the rising sun as a new console generation begins.
In an interview with EDGE (issue 353), PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan insists this isn’t the case however. He points to the release of the PS5 as an example as Japan was included in the first wave of countries to get the system, and also pointed to the various partnerships Sony had with Japanese publishers and developers for the PS4 and says that will continue with the PS5.
“We saw in the second half of the PS4 cycle a greater level of engagement from those Japanese publishers. That continues and strengthens yet again with PS5.
“I’d also observe that we’re making a statement by launching in Japan day and date with the US, and that is not what we did with PS4. So I read that stuff. A lot of that commentary is inaccurate, and Japan – as our second largest market and as Sony’s heartland – continues to be really important to us.”
What Ryan says here makes sense. After all, despite the Japanese market moving ever away from dedicated home consoles, a lot of Japanese publishers and developers are still very much invested in the PlayStation brand. The main sticking point for many seem to be Sony’s internal Japanese development decline in recent years, and whether that’s due to a lack of focus from the company or simply the inability to find a formula like their western counterpoints for international success is something to debate.