February 25th, 2014, 00:05 Posted By: wraggster
The first three customers to buy a PS4 without a preorder, at Akihabara’s Yodobashi Camera store.
Three months after its release in North America and Europe, PlayStation 4 is finally available in Japan. On Saturday February 22 it was greeted across the nation by the after-effects of the heaviest snowfall in decades; while stores in the major cities were unaffected, blocked roads in some parts of Japan meant that Amazon was unable to fulfill its preorders on time, emailing customers to inform them that their consoles would not arrive on launch day.You might think this would only make for heavier demand at bricks-and-mortar stores. But at close of business Sunday, after two full days, most of the major game and electronics stores we contacted in Tokyo and Osaka said they had had plenty of stock still available – a far cry from the scenes in Europe, where PS4 consoles are still scarce months later.The day before the February 22 launch, major retailers such as Sofmap and Yodobashi Camera were still accepting preorders, and those who queued through the night in the bitter cold found that other customers without preorders could easily stroll up to the counter and buy one of the two available models (with or without camera).The first customer to walk away with a preordered PS4 at Akihabara’s Yodobashi Camera.
Whether this reflects a lack of interest or a comfortable surplus of stock will become clear when the first sales figures are published by Media Create. A spokesperson for Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia declined to give sales figures when contacted, instead simply quoting PS4′s global sales of 5.3 million units, though this figure excludes Japan.The official midnight launch was held on Friday night at the Sony Building in Ginza. Some gamers queued through Thursday night to be among the lucky 100 to receive an invitation to the countdown event, held from 10:30pm until midnight, when one customer was picked by lotto to receive the console he had paid for that morning.The event was broadcast live on Ustream and Niconico and boasted a certain amount of star power, with guests including Hideo Kojima, Yakuza series producer Toshiro Nagoshi and Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida, as well as the cast of TV show GameCenter CX and other local celebrities. Video messages included Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono making an apology for the delayed release of Deep Down, as well as words from Sony-signed J-pop stars such as Scandal and Fujifabric. A round of applause greeted Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida as he entered the lobby before the event.Japanese media trained their cameras and microphones on the waiting invitees, some of whom turned up in cosplay that rivalled that of the professional cosplayers parading in front of a giant PS4 box outside. One punter came as a Move controller, perhaps a plea for compatible PS4 games, and had trouble sitting down, while another, Ryo Watanabe, was decked out in military gear. Watanabe would later win the lotto to become the first customer to buy a Japanese PS4.
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