In November of last year, two new consoles were launched – the PS4 and the Xbox One. Both were dubbed as the “next-gen consoles,” even though they both do not surpass the stellar specs of most PC’s. So far, both consoles have been going very strongly in the West, but not so much in Asia. Sony has announced that they have sold more than 10 million PS4’s worldwide, with Japan only selling over half a million. It is said that the Xbox One, which is launching in September of this year in Asia, will be the table turner for console sales. However, the PS3 dominated sales in Japan, but why the drastic change for the PS4?
One of the reasons for this change in Asia is due to the increase in mobile devices. In Japan, over 90% of its people use smart phones, particularly the iPhone. Cell phones these days carry all the functions that are needed – from making phone calls to jotting down notes and even playing games. The mobile market has made it hard for console sales. Why buy another thing when one can do everything?
The other reason is the housing in Asia. What people are used to seeing in the West are big houses, but it is quite different in the East. Instead of building them wide, buildings in Asia are built to be tall to conserve space. People in Asia usually live in condos or apartments, leaving them with enclosed spaces. This leads to a person to be indecisive of whether or not to buy something. Questions like “will it fit?” or “do I really need it?” will spontaneously come into mind.
Moreover, a lot of gamers in Asia do not play games on consoles, but rather on computers. This is caused by the fact that a lot of consoles do not offer free online multiplayer. The PS3 was known for offering it, and applying as a member would get consumers free games once a month. As a result, the PS3 sold exponentially in Asia, specifically Japan. However, everything changed with the PS4. Sony decided not to provide free online play. Without these services, developers like Sony or Microsoft are coming up with new and innovative ways to make up for these losses. For example, Sony has announced they are working on a virtual headset dubbed Project Morpheus, which is said to be the revolution of gaming. On the other hand, Microsoft is blending home entertainment with gaming.
Another factor for a higher preference for the PC in Asia is that gamers are used to the WASD control on the keyboard. Multiplatform games are usually played on the PC, such as franchises like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Gamepads rely mainly on the thumbs, while playing with a mouse and keyboard requires almost all ten fingers.
In addition, one of the most popular games is in PC platform. League of Legends is the most popular game in Asia. It is the most talked about and even broadcast on the news in Taiwan.
Will the Xbox One prove otherwise for the console market in Asia? Only time will tell.