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PlayStation 5 Unveiled, But Will It Meet the Hype in Japan?




Sony Interactive Entertainment unveiled to the world on Friday, June 12, the much-awaited new PlayStation 5 console. With a futuristic design and other features, it represents a “paradigm shift” in the game world, according to SIE chief Jim Ryan.


Despite the reactions on the internet regarding the console’s appearance, the launch was undoubtedly a coveted event. However, reaction in Japan was not as straightforward as many would have thought.


What Was the Hype About? 


In a press release, the CEO explained, “With PlayStation 5, we are making a significant leap to deliver a truly new generation of transformative play experiences that will redefine expectations for what games can be.” 


A black box sandwiched between two white sheets featuring blue lights that emanate from the middle, the machine almost recalls an extremely futuristic building in Dubai. The audience has been split on the design, and certainly it has attracted more attention than the more standard black-box-approach taken by competitor Microsoft with Xbox X. This can be seen in the fact that the unveiling video has already collected more than 21 million views as of this writing.


The unveiling of the new hardware was accompanied by an announcement of exclusive and collaborative games for the PS5, all presented in an online streaming event of just over an hour called The Future of Gaming.


The event revealed exclusive previews of games, such as Marvel’s Spider-Man, this time showcasing Miles Morales, along with Gran Turismo 7, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon Forbidden West, Demon’s Souls, and Resident Evil Village.



The Japanese Reaction Online


The last time Sony unveiled a console was for PlayStation 4 in the winter of 2013, so naturally the anticipation was palpable in many of the posts.


The reaction of the Japanese audience has mostly been positive, with many expressing the wish to buy the new gaming hardware. 



One particularly entertaining Tweet commented on the aesthetic of the new console, comparing it to soldiers in Star Wars



A lot of the online debate has revolved around how much the new PS5 will cost, with many estimating that the console could sell for ¥60,000 to ¥80,000 JPY (between $559 and $749 USD).




The Japanese Media Reaction


However, not everyone was immediately impressed by the seeming hype on the internet.


IGN Japan editor Daniel Robson shared with JAPAN Forward his concerns that in the lineup released in the Future of Gaming, there were not any games that are hugely popular in Japan.


The PlayStation 5 is highly anticipated among gamers in Japan, but that doesn’t mean Sony’s success here is guaranteed. The PS5 lineup revealed last week was light on games that are huge in Japan, and this same issue badly neutered the early momentum of the PS4, which even now flags behind the Nintendo Switch here.


Does this mean that the announced titles will not be popular in Japan, we asked. Robson replied: 


Yes, the newly revealed Spider-Man, Resident Evil and other franchises will do well here, but the real killer apps (a high-profile RPG [Role Playing Game], or a new Monster Hunter or Yakuza title) were noticeably absent.


However, Robson also intimated that this shouldn’t leave fans in despair, as additional game releases are likely as the console approaches its sales start date at the end of the year.


There’s still plenty of time till launch, of course. And with the all-online Tokyo Game Show scheduled in September, hopefully we’ll see more PS5 games that cater to a Japan audience. 



Technical Details of the Announcement


Whatever the thoughts of Japanese audience, fans all over the world were in a hustle before June 11 for technical specifications of the new PlayStation 5.


When asked about the design in an interview with BBC, CEO Ryan explained: 


The PlayStation sits in the living area of most homes, and we kind of felt it would be nice to provide a design that would really grace most living areas. That's what we’ve tried to do. And, you know, we think we’ve been successful in that.


Another new feature is that PS5 will launch with two options: a standard model with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive, and a digital model without a disc drive. This second option reflects the trend that many users don’t use the disc function in their consoles, but rather prefer to download everything digitally. The console without the disc drive is slighter slimmer in design. It is also expected to be slightly cheaper, reflecting a trend already set by Xbox, although SIE has been remarkably tight-lipped about the price range.


Commentators at IGN were quick to point out the size of the PS5, which is expected to be taller than past and competing machines. This is thought to be a result of problems experienced with cooling other versions, especially PS4 Pro. Users of that version had commented that, especially with heavier games, the cooling fan in the machine was loud and resembled a helicopter.


The accessories to the PS5 match the console’s black-and-white design. Accessory options include:


  • PULSE 3D™ wireless headset, offering 3D audio support and dual noise-cancelling microphones;
  • HD Camera featuring dual 1080p lenses for gamers to broadcast themselves;
  • Media Remote, a remote control with built-in microphone to navigate movies and streaming services;
  • Two DualSense™ Wireless Controllers 
  • DualSense™Wireless Controllers Charging Station 


Considered noteworthy compared to features on previous models are the 3D audio, and the SSD (Solid State Drive) storage system, which has been updated and is set to decrease loading time significantly to improve the user experience.


The unveiling event, originally scheduled to be held a week earlier, was delayed due to the unrest taking place in the United States.


SIE is expected to announce more details at a later date, including the price and official release date, in time for the final release at the end of 2020.



Author: Arielle Busetto