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Will the PlayStation 4 Be Called “PS4” in Japan? PSLS Investigates

I went on a journey of discovery today. I learned the real name of the alleged PS4.

What set me on my way is all the speculation about what the fourth PlayStation system could be called. PS4? PS-Next? The Gaikai…Station? Its codename, Orbis? We don’t know yet. Some have completely ruled out PlayStation 4, because of an old Japanese cultural superstition about the number four. You see, the digit 4 can be pronounced “shi,” but when written with a different kanji, “shi” can mean “death.” Culturally, one might compare it to the use of 13 in the West, where some hotels won’t mark the 13th floor because it is considered to be unlucky. Here in Japan, it is indeed sometimes considered uncool to give a wedding gift of money in an amount that includes a 4. I wondered, today: is there any truth to this?

I see 4’s all the time in phone numbers, prices at stores, and everywhere else. And previous PlayStations were never called by their Japanese numbers, but English ones, like how the PS3 is “Puree-sutee-shyon-tsuri,” (there’s no “th” in Japanese). I expected to go out and find all kinds of evidence thwarting the theory that the next PlayStation would be called the PS4, but quite to my surprise, I found that there’s no chance in the world that it will be called “PS4.”

I found at one building, a parking space number 4. I thought that its existence proved a lack of fear for this number, until I realized, no car was in this space. Where could a car owner possibly be on a Sunday afternoon? Spoiler alert: there never was any car.

In fact, space number 4’s emptiness has a domino effect into all other spaces after it. A domino effect…of death.

Asked why this place closes at 4:00, the owner of this place said “It gets really dead around then.” You don’t say.

The plague was even in my own house. Just look at these Japanese comics, or “manga” with that number on them. It’s no wonder book stores are dying.

What this place doesn’t tell you is that those hands are gonna chop you right to death.

You…you don’t wanna know what they’re doing to these poor cats:

I found these iPhone 4 accessories on the super discount shelf of a phone shop:

Isn’t the iPhone 4 successful? I would have thought so, but here we are watching its accessory prices drop like rocks. I asked the shop manager if iPhone 4 was the best selling smartphone and he said that it had been, for a straight year or two, but lately people had moved on. Sony runs marathons, not sprints, and a mere two years at the top of the charts will not do. I asked, “How many iPhone 4s do you sell in a day?” He said, “iPhone 4? We service them but don’t carry them. Everyone wants the new–” I had heard enough. It was time to go to the game shop, the place where the name “PS4” would really be put to the test.

Expecting to find evidence to the contrary, the game shop only served to prove that Japan has no tolerance for the number 4. Look at these obscure, unsold games. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of them; no one else has either. They’re going for budget prices and I imagine will never be localized due to poor market performance in Japan.

Notice here how there’s Bomberman 3, and then it skips right to 5? Obviously this is because calling one of them “4” would have really…bombed in the marketplace.

You would not believe how many times I had to re-take this picture. It’s like there’s a ghost in the shot, ruining all my photo attempts.

Baseball is dead, let’s just be honest.

And so are JRPGs. Coincidence?

I’ll bet the solo version of .hack 4 wasn’t selling enough, and that’s why they had to bundle it with part 3. Because you know, 3 is called “san” in Japanese, just like Daniel-san from The Karate Kid, and Japanese people love karate and are all black belts.

And here, notice how Disgaea 3 is in a “Best” box but Disgaea 4 isn’t? Well gee whiz, who could have imagined?

The “4” won’t be in the name of the new PlayStation is confirmed even more when we look at two things: the best console of all time and the best handheld gaming device of all time.

Every September 9th, gamers all over the internet remember the release of the Dreamcast and fondly discuss their nostalgia for it. You know why that console was such a runaway hit that smashed all kinds of sales records? Well, certainly in part due to the fact that it didn’t have a 4 in its name. It used the word “Dream,” which is respected and treasured in virtually every language and culture; Sega did such an amazing job and sold so many Dreamcasts, that they just said “Well, no one will ever do better than this. We may as well retire,” and stepped out of the console business.

Vita, meanwhile, means “life” in Latin. Whenever I ask about sales online, no one gives me any data because they tell me the sales don’t matter; and I believe them, because these fans are quick to tell me about the countless great games available for the machine. Sony, too, will tell you that Vita has definitely breathed new life into the company’s lungs. Truly, Vita really does mean “life,” and there’s no way Sony will support one system whose name means “life,” and another whose name means “death.”

Meanwhile, who can argue with the success of Nintendo’s “Wii” brand, popular because, of course, it sounds like “We.” Xbox has enjoyed success with its innovative “Kinect” technology, and notice, it sounds an awful lot like “Connect.” These words resonate with people. Sony would obviously following the marketing and choose a pronoun in its new name.

Life…Dreamcast…Wii…We…Driimy, Driimcast, Wiicast, Wecast… Kinect… connection.


Connected…Connecting us…Connected to U…Youcast….


We R Connected…Casting, Dreamcast, Together, Connected, Linked…Linked! That’s a good one. Um…We Cast Together… We Connect Dreams…Wecast Our Links…

I’ve got it!

The We-Kast Link! The We-Kast Link! That will be the new name of the PlayStation 4! “The We-Kast Link!” Now there’s nothing in the world that can backfire with a name like that.

Content with the results of my search, I went home with a glowing feeling. One more thing caught my eye:

Oh those ignorant gaijin. Don’t they know that their sign could be taken as “to death?” I predict this silly American restaurant will fail hard here.