This year's E3 turned out to be one of the more interesting and exciting conventions in recent memory. Unfortunately for yours truly, I was stuck across that pesky barrier, commonly referred to in geography classes as the Pacific Ocean. But that didn't keep me and other interested peoples here in Japan from checking in on the happenings online.
So, how did Japanese gamers feel about E3? Weekly Famitsu recently conducted a reader poll on the events and news from the convention. The results were mostly what you would expect: A lot of high expectations were set for Microsoft and Sony's new consoles. In terms of games, Titanfall – or as I've started calling it, "Tit-anvil" – for the Xbox One and Final Fantasy XV for the PlayStation 4 were the top of the reader "want" lists.
More interesting, however, were the responses to the console prices. While neither console has a set price in Japanese Yen at the moment, – or a Japanese release date for that matter – Japanese gamers put in their two cents (heh heh) on the dollar prices that were announced.
On a scale of Very Cheap, Cheap, Just Right, Expensive, and Very Expensive, 47% of responders felt the Xbox One was Very Expensive, 42.7% felt it was Expensive, while only 10.3% felt the price was Just Right. The PS4 fared much better, with only 3.6% stating they felt it was Very Expensive, 12% thought it was Expensive, 60% thought it was Just Right, with 14% feeling it was cheap, and 10.4% feeling it was Very Cheap.
Weekly Famitsu didn't just stop with reader responses though. Asking retailers what they thought of the console price tags yielded a much different, and perhaps more level-headed response.
Price tag impressions of retailers for the Xbox One were fairly close to gamer responses; most seem to feel the console was Very Expensive, noting that while the initial library looked robust, the high price tag and weak performance in Japan may drive away potential buyers. For the PS4 however, unlike the reader responses, over 50% of responding retailers felt the console was a little expensive for their tastes (48.2% felt it was Expensive, while 11.1% thought it was Very Expensive).
This is understandable: Unlike consumers whose only concern is singularly whether to buy something or not, retailers have to think about whether something will sell to an audience or not, and many retailers in Japan seem to feel that even at its cheaper price setting, the PS4 won't be able to properly permeate the market unless the price is lower. Some responding retailers remarked that they felt the console won't be able to really rake in the numbers unless it drops below the $300 mark.
I admit that initially the PS4's $399 price tag seemed more appealing when compared to the $499 Xbox One. But taking a step back, $399 is still $399. Not exactly chump change when you think about it.
Note: The lead image for this story originally indicated that the Xbox One would cost 499 British Pounds, not 429, which is the correct price. I apologize for the error.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
To contact the author of this post, write to cogitoergonihilATgmail.com or find him on Twitter @tnakamura8.