It appears that PlayStation is heading West. According to recent news, the main headquarters for the newly merged Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment (now under the banner of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC) will be in California. That’s huge news, but fans of PlayStation’s Japanese lineup are understandably concerned by the move. However, perhaps the recent development is not as big a deal as it might seem.
On one hand, if console sales in Japan are low, and most of PlayStation’s revenue does come from outside of Japan, then it does make sense to place Sony Interactive Entertainment’s headquarters where there is more business. Also, it may not be wrong to say that Sony’s most profitable teams are probably more of the Naughty Dog and Santa Monica Studio variety than say, Japan Studio.
On the other, it’s worth noting that Sony is not closing up shop in Japan. It will still have a branch in Japan, and still administer to Japan’s market. There will undoubtedly still be Japanese software support, which has always been more third party than anything. The bottom line is, PlayStation has not pulled the plug on its Japanese branch.
If sales are indeed higher in the West, perhaps we can expect more localisations. That is mostly conjecture on my part, but if we no longer live in a world where localisations are seen as money pits, but one where they’re seen as necessary to recoup profits in a bigger market, then maybe there’s hope that more quirky Japanese titles will make their way over here.
Besides, let’s not forget that we are talking about Sony; a company who not too long ago partnered with one of the greatest Japanse developers of our time to form a new first party studio. A company who went to great lengths to secure such a prominent dev most likely won’t sever ties with his country of origin anytime soon.
Sure, it seems evident that Sony will focus more on its Western first party studios, but Japanese third party support for the PS4 is as strong as ever. Its lineup for the next couple of years already looks great, with the latest in the Final Fantasy, Ni no Kuni and Persona series set to release in NA in the near future. Let’s not forget that long anticipated titles such as the FFVII remake, Shenmue 3 are set to release exclusively on the PS4 in due time. The Last Guardian is a long awaited first party effort from Sony, and it’s also on the way. It is doubtful that these titles will make up more than a fraction of what we will see from Japan.
Regardless, Sony’s systems still have a steady lineup of Japanese software, and that’s not going to just up and vanish because of a business decision to relocate to California. We can expect Sony’s first party studios in the West to benefit from this refocus on the Western market, but the future does not look bleak for Japanese developed IPs.
What are your thoughts? Are you worried about Sony’s decision to move PlayStation to California? As always, leave your comments below.