The beginning of May is peppered with national holidays, which has led to it being dubbed “Golden Week.” Lots of people used to take the whole week off of work or school, though current social trends seem to be moving away from this idea, favoring more and more strictness and using only the exact holidays. The week is still a huge boost for retail and travel-based industries, but it seems to be taking a small step downward with each passing year. This year in particular, the week was divided up in such a way that made it more like two consecutive three-day weekends rather than a “week.” Because of this, 2013’s Golden Week didn’t quite give game sales the same shot in the arm it usually does. Oh, sales went up for sure, just not as much as they usually do.
My body picked Golden Week as the perfect time to develop a chest cold that later became bronchitis, so for me, it was more of a Green Week. The week after it, even more so.
But I wasn’t the only one dying in mid May; the PlayStation Vita dipped right back down near the sales levels that were its usual before the price cut. Sony’s new machine only shifted 20k during the first portion, and 21k during the second week of the divided holidays. One has to think that Sony suits are hoping for around 18-25 thousand to become the base line, meaning the goals for huge holidays like GW should be much higher. The week after Golden Week only had the Vita moving 12,000 units — not much more than the figures that earned it so many d00m comments in the first place. The week after that, it still only hit around 11,000. No matter where you’re sitting, that number is not enough. Making things worse, the system will end the month with only one new game in its library: Valhalla Knights 3, which shipped on the 23rd. (BlazBlue will move to the budget line, and some study software will arrive, as well as a love adventure of minimal impact. In terms of games that are new, VK3 is about it in May.) Can a new Valhalla Knights singlehandedly move enough hardware to make May a good month for Vita? Even if we do start counting study buddies and other miscellanea, Vita gets nothing until June 20th. Sony’s gotta get things rolling for this bugger.
~Famitsu’s Most Wanted~
Not surprisingly, Monster Hunter 4 is the most wanted game in Japan. It will hit sales in the multi-millions almost without a doubt, the only question is whether or not it will happen within the first month. Here are the top 10 most wanted, per Weekly Famitsu‘s regular poll.
10. God Eater 2 (PSV)
9. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3)
8. Toukiden (PSV)
7. Ace Attorney 5 (3DS)
6. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (PS3)
5. The Last of Us (PS3)
4. Pikmin 3 (Wii-U)
3. Gundam Breaker (PS3)
2. Pokemon X&Y (3DS)
1. Monster Hunter 4 (3DS)
~Face The Nation: Microsoft Edition~
You’re also surely aware of Microsoft’s recent reveal of America Box One, a game system designed for the one and only best country of all forevers: The Merica. The English speaking audience has given the Xbox One the nickname of “Xbone,” but what about Japan? Here in the far East, Microsoft’s new machine is being called two things, the “Hako 1” (Box 1) and my personal favorite, “Batsu Ichi” (meaning X and 1, but said together commonly to mean “divorced once”).
Not to say that Japan was ever married to Xbox in the first place. The system nabbed a few titles appealing to Japanese tastes, but not nearly enough to convince people to buy a console. Some angry Westerners like to cross their arms and claim xenophobia, but honestly, if you’re one of these people, open your eyes and stop being a fucking baby. Apple’s iPhone has now become the most popular type of smartphone in Japan, American movies constantly storm the box office, Starbucks and McDonald’s are among the most popular diners in the land, Halo 4 was the third-best selling game in the country during its release week, and you’ll commonly see people walking around wearing the American Stars & Stripes. Every country has some xenophobia within its culture somewhere. Americans who think the entire country of Japan hates foreign things are simply incorrect in addition being painfully ironic.
Back to Xbox One, Japanese game forums were littered with comments of confusion and apathy. Comments stated that the company basically forgot about Japan as a whole, with the entire focus of the conference being on football, TV, and Kinect. Many seemed to mirror their fellow gamers of the English-language, with questions about where the stinkin’ games were, and what this thing could do that a remote control couldn’t. Even those who expressed that they liked Kinect didn’t see why it was such a central feature.
If all the anti-used-game and online check-in requirement rumors about this thing turn out to be true, however, the Batsuichi might as well not even show up to the wedding. Its relationship with Japan is already over, and the system will fail here even harder than the first Xbox did.
Watch for more PlayStation JapanStyle articles for more news, media, and insight from Japan. Usually appears once a month.