A recent Bloomberg report claimed Sony’s home territory has been increasingly “sidelined” in promotional planning for PS5 and seen its development teams slashed, as the corporation places more importance on the US market.
And the newly launched PS5 broke with over 25 years of tradition in Japan by switching the circle and X controller buttons to make the latter the default select button, bringing the interface in line with the west.
“The Sony stance is that the Japanese market remains incredibly important to us,” he said. “We have not been as excited about the engagement of the Japanese game development community as we are now for many years.”
Ryan said there was a five-year period between 2010 and 2015 during which Japanese game companies mainly focused on mobile gaming in line with the market’s tastes, but that they have become more engaged in console development again in the years since.
“That continues and strengthens yet again with PS5,” Ryan said. “In our two launch shows – which featured a reasonable amount of games, but not a huge number of games – there were eight Japanese-developed titles there, many of which are the subject of collaboration and partnership between PlayStation and the Japanese publishing community.
“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 homeland – continues to be really important to us.”
Earlier this week Keiichiro Toyama, director of Silent Hill and the Gravity Rush series, announced his departure from Sony’s Japan Studio to form new company Bokeh.
Toyama has established the company along with Junya Okura, lead designer on the Gravity Rush series, and Kazunobu Sato, lead designer of 2013’s Puppeteer, who have left Sony following nearly two decades of service.
SIE Japan Studio, which co-developed games such as Bloodborne, Astro’s Playroom and The Last Guardian, has seen the rolling contracts of many of its creators not renewed, former employees recently told Bloomberg, and developer support teams have also allegedly been reduced by as much as a third from their peak.