As recently as last week, we touched on the possibility of a decline from PlayStation’s share in Japan. An observation marked by the release of the PS5 which was not pushed by Sony on its territory. One more sign among the many signals of recent years.

Today we find out Sony’s sales figures in Japan for the year 2020 and we can only see the sad facts. PlayStation has just had its worst year since 1994 and the launch of the brand in the land of the rising sun. More than ever, the divide and the decline of the firm in Japan seem to be confirmed.

PlayStation struggling on its land

PS5 event in early September?  Promotional videos ready?

© PlayStation

With less than one million consoles sold over the whole of 2020 (PS VITA, PS4, PS4 Slim, PS4 Pro, and PS5 combined), Sony is having its worst year in its history in the land of the rising sun since 1994 and the launch of the first PlayStation on December 3, 1994. This table produced by our colleagues from Famitsu sums up the situation well.

PlayStation Japan sales 1994-2020

© Famitsu

In 2019 already, PlayStation had had a complicated year with just over a million consoles sold. But the year 2020 remains the worst in its history, far from the 5 million years 2000, 2007 and 2008 thanks to the PS2, the PSP and the PS3. Also far from 4 million in 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2010 thanks to the PS1, PS2, PSP and PS3.

Since 2011, PlayStation has been on the decline with numbers plummeting and the incredible success of the PS4 around the world will not help the brand in Japan. Of the 120 million consoles sold, only 10 million PS4s have found buyers in Japan.
The golden age of PlayStation therefore seems far behind the firm, but how to explain such a trend? Microsoft is still failing to woo gamers with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S who seem to be struggling to find their audience. The PS5 was very quickly out of stock when it was released. So how do you explain this decline?

Since the end of 2019, the PS4 has suffered from some supply problems causing many inventory problems. For its part, the PS5 was launched in very small quantities, again causing problems with stocks and supplies. So it seems that Sony is depriving Japan of its consoles at the expense of other countries in the world. And obviously, given the growing success of the brand, this is unlikely to change in order to let Nintendo rule alone on the archipelago.