Playstation 4 has finally launched in the Philippines as of January 14 but the more intriguing side of the story is what else is in store for the Philippines? We are certainly excited about the next product launching (PS VITA TV for South-East Asia) and while we wait for that, we at 30lives were able to spend some time with the Group Head of Home Entertainment Product Marketing from Sony, Zhorida Lipayon to give us a bigger picture on what Sony Philippines has in store for us.
30lives: One of our primary questions is: What has changed in the strategy of Sony? They are now targeting South-East Asian countries where online games are more prevalent than console games?
Zhorida Lipayon: The good thing about our situation right now is everybody can see our (Philippines) potential but not just in the Philippines but all the other countries mentioned (Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Sinagpore). The Philippines has a very young working population so there is a lot of room to cultivate the market in terms of brand appreciation and loyalty.
30lives: So this is more of a Global strategy?
Zhorida Lipayon: This has always been the strategy of Sony to identify potential markets and then invest in them.
30lives: Granted that before there were any official console launches, there has been a long-standing “grey-market” for retail/console games. Is this an issue with Sony?
Zhorida Lipayon: At the end of the day, it’s a Sony sale (when our products are bought from these channels) but what we are focusing on a channels where we know we can sell. Sony Philippines is primarily an A/V (audio/visual) hardware distributor. So at the moment we are focusing on that as we have our special channels: Sony Centers and Gadget Shops. For us it’s quite different.
30lives: So basically it’s not an issue?
Zhorida Lipayon: No it is not.
30lives: Even if they import their consoles from say, Hong Kong or Singapore?
Zhorida Lipayon: That’s okay but there are certain disadvantages. For one, Hong Kong is not covered in our regional warranty service. But for us in Sony Philippines, it’s all about the whole package. When someone wants to try the Playstation 4, we don’t just have them try the console as is. We want them to try it with our brand new 4k TVs because it’s a totally different experience.
30lives: So you’re all really more focused on the game hardware sales than software?
Zhorida Lipayon: Well we do have certain goals to make sales of specific volumes but we really are focused on what we can sell well because we have to do business smart.
30lives: There have been ventures to distribute game software such as X-Play. You’re not really going down that road?
Zhorida Lipayon: There are some ways for us to secure game distribution as we can get from distributors signed by our Singapore office.
30lives: I guess that would be more for first party (Sony) games, right?
Zhorida Lipayon: Well that would be the preference but we would like to expand it more but we would like to give our loyal Sony Playstation fans what they want.
30lives: On to the packaging the Playstation 4s and the 4k TVs there isn’t really a (video) format for it yet and the only thing that can cater to 4K resolutions are PC games. What is the advantage of adopting a 4K TV now?
Zhorida Lipayon: Our 4K TVs are able to upscale non-4K sources to 4K resolutions. So PS4 games and Blu-ray shows will be upscaled to 4K level resolutions.
30lives: Will the Vita TV be a localized or regional service?
Zhorida Lipayon: It will be a regional service.
30lives: I think one of the concerns regarding PS Vita TVs being sold in the Philippines now is the fact that they are Japanese units. Will these units be usable for the upcoming regional service for countries under South-East Asia?
Zhorida Lipayon: Our demo sets are Japanese PS Vita TVs. We will have a different version from the Japanese Vita TVs.
30lives: So I guess it’s safe to say that Japanese Vita TVs won’t work for the Asian regional service?
Zhorida Lipayon: Yes.
Our takeaway: it looks like Sony’s Philippine arm has big plans for the well-entrenched local PlayStation fanbase. The days of pirated PlayStation discs brazenly being sold in local department stores are long behind us, and it appears that Sony has finally seen potential in the Philippine market as one of potential growth.
Watch this space for more coverage on Sony Philippines’ upcoming launches; the Vita TV’s launch is just around the corner! In the meantime, please enjoy this non-musical montage of moments from Sony Philippines’ PlayStation 4 launch!
Ms. Zhorida Lipayon
Mr. Tomoyuki Haba