Although it will go on sale on Nov. 15 in the United States and Canada, and on Nov. 29 in Europe, Sony's next-generation video game machine, the PlayStation 4, won't go on sale in Japan until next year, meaning it won't be on time for the key year-end holiday or New Year's shopping season.
Hiroshi Kawano, Sony's chief of the game business in Japan and Asia, said Monday at a Tokyo event that the PlayStation 4 will go on sale on Feb. 22 in Japan.
Why so late? Kawano said Sony wants to be fully prepared with game software at its launch, and orders will be taken starting next month. But the product will miss the critical Christmas and New Year's period when Japanese children can count on gifts.
"We plan to have powerful titles at the launch date," he told a hall packed with guests and reporters.
"We are asking for some time before we can offer it, but please look forward to it."
Sony will instead sell in Japan, before other nations, the $90 PSVita TV, a small device that attaches to a TV set so that users can enjoy music, TV shows, movies and karaoke. The PlayStation 4 will cost $400 in Japan and $399 in the United States.
Nintendo, which makes the Pokemon and Super Mario games, started selling the Wii U console last November. But Wii U sales have suffered, and only 3.61 million of the machines were sold through the end of June. Nintendo is still targeting sales of 9 million Wii U units over the fiscal year through March 2014.
Microsoft Corp. is planning the Xbox One, debuting Nov. 22.
Hopes have been high in the game industry that the three new consoles will revitalize the sector, which has lagged from competition from smartphones and other mobile devices that have wooed users with their own games, as well as social networking and other pastimes.
Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, the Tokyo-based company's game division, said demand has been strong so far for the PlayStation 4, with 1 million advance orders.
Sony has not given a PS4 unit sales target for the fiscal year.
The Japan sale date was held off until next year because Japanese game developers have required more time to develop games for the PlayStation 4, he told reporters.
"We wanted to make sure that there was a game experience that resonated with the Japanese consumer," House said.