PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says the platform will continue to support Japanese developers following suggestions that the company was more focused on western game releases. In an interview with Famitsu, Ryan said that all of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) studios are important to the company.
“We’re really happy and proud of the PlayStation Studios titles that have been released by Worldwide Studios. 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 said.
The Sony exec also said that his favorite PS5 game is the free pre-installed title Astro’s Playroom, developed by ASOBI Team, a division of Sony’s Japan Studio. In November, a report by Bloomberg insinuated that Sony Japan had been “sidelined” from the PS5’s launch and that its development teams had be reduced as the company focused on the US market.
In December, Ryan refuted these claims stating, “We have not been as excited about the engagement of the Japanese game development community as we are now for many years.” A month later, however, a Japanese research firm alleged that the PS5’s subpar launch sales in Japan showed that Sony was not “taking Japan seriously” and that the PlayStation brand was “in decisive decline” in the country.
Last year, the PS5 recorded the lowest ever console launch numbers in Japan as a result of limited stock being made available. In addition, Sony’s Japan Studio saw significant changes as Demon’s Souls producer Teruyuki Toriyama, and Gravity Rush creator Keiichiro Toyama left the company. Currently, Nintendo is outselling Sony in Japan, with Switch accounting for 87% of all consoles sold in 2020.
The head producer at the development division at PlatinumGames Atsushi Inaba recently told VGC that he hasn’t felt the impact of Sony’s supposed indifference the Japanese market. He also said that he believes that Sony is an international company that “doesn’t really belong to any country.”
“However, I understand from a user perspective that if we start seeing release schedules prioritizing 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’,” he added.
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