PlayStation 4 will launch in Japan after it launches in the West due to a lack of Japan-orientated games available this November, Sony has said.

Sony surprised many when it announced PS4 will arrive in Japan in February 2014 - three months after it launches on these shores.

Explaining the decision, senior Sony executives told Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show that February was chosen because that's when Sony expects more games to be ready for its home market.

"Sony just wants to make sure that when PlayStation 4 launches in Japan there is a good line-up of titles for Japan," the console's lead architect and Knack creative director Mark Cerny said.

"Perhaps you could say that a few western developers have been more aggressive in readying titles for the hardware."

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan executive Masayasu Ito agreed with Cerny's analysis, noting to Eurogamer that western developers had been talking about next-gen (or cross-gen) games before the next-gen consoles had even been announced - such as Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and Square Enix's Thief.

"A next-generation home console has been a strong request from western developers who were anxious to see such devices," Ito said. "That's why we decided to go ahead with the EU and US launches... because EU and US titles were ready."

In Japan, by contrast, handheld gaming devices rule the market. Consequently, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida added, Japanese developers have been less focused on next-gen.

"That's definitely a major factor when we decided where to launch when," Yoshida said. "The readiness from the publisher standpoint, and consumers and the media - everybody was ready. We were constantly told we should release new hardware!

"Compared to that, Japan is completely different. It's more portable-heavy, but the PS3 is catching up. Of course, after we announced PS4 in February, luckily publishers are showing an interest. But it's a completely different picture of readiness compared to Western publishers."

Sony is yet to announce the PlayStation 4 Japanese launch lineup - and whether it has a software trick of its own up its sleeve. The Last Guardian, anyone?

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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