Before I moved to Asia a few years ago I was apart of the legion of non-Asian residents who swooned and drooled over the limited edition PlayStation 3 consoles that were available in Japan, and then cried at the insane import prices and mailing costs. It seemed like every month a new PS3 was being released to show off cool artwork for a specific game, and even if you already had a fully functioning PS3 it made you want to buy another one.
Sony’s slogan for the next generation is ‘Greatness Awaits’ and with their increasing acceptance and listening to fans and devs, I am hoping they will listen to the masses of non-Asian residents and bring limited edition artwork PS4s over to North America and Europe. I know I am getting ahead of myself and a single PS4 has not even been released yet, but after seeing the reaction of forum members to the sweet looking custom PS3s Adam Boyes showed off on his twitter feed, it just makes this fan want to hope they listen.
From a business perspective it never made any sense for the non-Asian market not to get them. North America by itself is one of, if not the, biggest market in the world. With sales between the 360 and PS3 having been neck-in-neck for so long, something as simple and collectable as a custom console could have tipped the balance more in Sony’s favour this generation. It is even more perplexing considering South Korea, a traditionally PC-dominated market, got more of the custom love as the FFXIII-2 console pictured below was everywhere in Busan and Seoul when I was living in the country.
With Sony wanting to win the next console war decisively this is just another avenue they can pursue to help them reach that goal, and close the gap between the eastern and western markets. Despite the dead-on-arrival feel of the Xbox One, the next generation is going to be a real tooth and nail battle. Gaming is big business and if Sony wants to make a truer, better, more connected PlayStation nation, they need to look everywhere and implement more little things that in the long run can add up and make a difference.
Dane Smith is the Japan editor for PlayStation Universe. When not out on the streets of Nagoya wondering why no one is looking for a Yakuza-style showdown, he can be found cracking open the newest RPG to hit the shelves. You can follow him on Twitter or read some of his past musings.