Why It Take This Long For PSO2 To Be Launched In The West?

1. There is a lot of adjustments need to be made for the west release.

Yuji Naka, the producer of Phantasy Star Online, once said in an interview, "We aren't able to roll it out in the same way we did for the Japanese release, but we are open to cross-collaborations in the U.S., as well. We probably won't be doing the cross-promotions with convenience stores and drinks, as we did in Japan, but we are interested in doing some cross-promotions with other anime programs or franchises. In Japan, you have convenience stores on every corner, but in the States, everything is so much more spread out — so in terms of [those] collaborations, probably not. But in terms of people or branding, we would be interested in doing that kind of sponsorship."

 2. The Western servers need to be separated from the Japanese servers.

Sega decided to put PSO2 on a different server for the U.S. release was to control the rolling out of the stories and also due to server capacity. The ease of play is one of the selling points of the game, and the distance of the servers to the players affects latency, so Sega wants to have the servers physically closer to players in North America. And although there are hardcore fans [who will play regularly and explore all the content] in the North American region, there are still many who are not familiar with the franchise.

3. The microtransaction system and in-game purchases are very different between the two regions.

Sega wanted to release PSO2 in North America shortly after the release in Japan, but the reason for the delay of the U.S. version was the structure of the operation team necessary to operate an online game. Sega couldn’t risk releasing the game in a new territory without the right infrastructure in place, so it took some time to set up operations for North America. Things like a way to communicate service updates, policies for in-game promotions, communication tools for maintenance notifications, having a team in place for monitoring both the servers and users, as well as a customer service team. These operational tools were not in place or were below the standards of what was offered for PSO2 Japan.

4. A lot of people think that there are some technical reasons for the delay.

Yuji Naka believes that the issue was not technical and in terms of the localization, it was completed recently in preparation for this release. The biggest problem for Sega was that they weren't able to facilitate all aspects of the operation. 

Yuji also added that when the original PSO came out, online games weren’t established yet. PSO changed all that. With PSO2, playing games online now is practically the standard, so now that we did the hard work in pioneering things 20 years ago, we could focus on the design of the game. The first thing that we expanded in PSO 2 was in the character creation system that wasn’t previously possible in MMOs. The next focus was that we wanted to make it as easily accessible to players as possible. As mentioned earlier, since there are a lot of solo players in the game, we wanted to make the communication features as seamless as possible so that players could join other players with ease and not have to spend a lot of time gathering a party. In PSO 2, we’ve created a “party area” where you can just join parties in progress without the downtime spent organizing a group that you might have had with the original game.

Another area that is new with PSO 2 is the cross-platform play. The Japanese version already has it — on PC, PS4, Vita, and Switch (and PSO 2es, which is the mobile version), you can play the same character across these different platforms. Nowadays this might not be so unique, but eight years ago, it was quite revolutionary. For the U.S. version, we’ve just announced the Windows 10 version in May and that you’ll be able to play across Xbox and PC, and we hope in future platforms, as well.