Yesterday Komodo, the distributor of the Steam Deck in Japan and some other parts of Asia (Korea and Taiwan), has announced that the Steam Deck will start to be sold in stores in Japan, starting on April 29th with EDION in Osaka, in Namba, which is a very popular quarter for young people in that city.
EDION is a relatively famous chain of stores in Japan that sells a bunch of stuff for your home (TV, Hi-fi, washing machines, air conditionners, and of course consoles and games, too) while it’s not one of the biggest ones (BIG CAMERA and Yodobashi would be much bigger department stores, and who knows, they may be next on the list).
From the news post on Komodo’s website:
KOMODO, an international game company and official distribution partner of Valve’s Steam Deck in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, is extending the retail availability of three Steam Deck models and Docking Stations into Japan beginning April 29th at EDION Namba Main Store (Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka).
Venue: EDION Namba Main Store Products: Steam Deck 64GB/256GB/512GB & Docking Station (Quantities are limited.) Sales start: Saturday, April 29, 2023
Note that April 29th is not an innocent date at all, it’s the start of Golden Week in Japan (a series of national holidays which usually amounts to a full week off if you take a couple of days off) which means that people will have a lot of free time during that week to shop around and try things in stores.
In Japan, it’s essential to have physical presence to move any significant amount of electronics. This is something that is well known if you do business here, and why retail stores partnerships are essential to ensure market penetration: it’s not good enough to sell on Amazon. Having a physical presence means a lot more people will be exposed to it, will be able to try it out (Japanese chains lets you try real units with real games in demo booths, and pretty much nobody damages them or tries to steal either) so this works very well to spread the word. A bunch of people also shop for everything in such chains, and therefore accumulate points over time that they can use to buy new stuff cheaper.
The launch will be marked by a launch event, as mentioned on the EDION Website as well:
with the following description:
話題で、なかなか手に入らない『Steam Deck』… ついに、日本国内初！エディオンなんばにて取り扱いが決定！ ネットでしか買えなかったので、手に取るとこも出来なかった… 今回は体験実機も用意します！ 体験者・購入者様には素敵な特典もご用意しております！ ぜひ、この機会にご来店ください！
Which I can translate roughly by:
It’s difficult to get your hands on the recent sensation that is the Steam Deck! But we are now starting to sell it for the first time in Japan in Edion! It was only available online until now, and you could not try it by yourself until now… This time we are preparing demo units so that you can have a hands-on experience! We will offer some goodies for those who come purchase and try them out! Plase make sure to get this opportunity!
What’s unusual is that KOMODO is based near Tokyo and yet they have decided to start with a launch event in Osaka, which is in Kansai (West Japan) area. Well, in any case, it’s good for me, because you can expect that I will be going there to see what’s up on the 29th!
Stay tuned for a lot more details.