So much of this seems like an excuse to dunk on Americans. As an American, I do have my own fair share of complaints about my country, but as a rule generalizing entire societies/cultures is frowned upon here, but I'll let that slide for a minute to offer a rebuttal.
First off, Sony isn't so much "Americanized" as it is "Westernized," meaning most of the games they make are by non-Japanese studios, not just in America but also in Europe. And it's not like Sony's in-house output was overwhelmingly Japanese in previous generations. Only Polyphony Digital, Japan Studio, and Team Asobi are/were Japanese studios. Every other first-party studio past or present are/were either American or European. Sure, Sony published a lot of third-party Japanese games back in the PS1/PS2 days, but that's not the same as making those games. For example, FF7 may have been a PS1 exclusive and was published by Sony outside of Japan, but it was not by any stretch a Sony game.
Second, Japanese influence in video games has diminished a lot. While Nintendo is doing exceptionally well, Japanese third parties aren't even close to the level of dominance they once held over the market. Thirty years ago, the dominant third parties were companies like Capcom, Konami, and Square. Today it's companies like EA and Ubisoft. This transition began in the latter half of the 90s. Today, though Capcom is still doing well for itself, they're essentially carried by Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and Monster Hunter. Konami has almost entirely ditched video games in favor of gambling machines. Square still has FF and DQ, but FF has moved from its turn-based roots to embrace the action-RPG paradigm popularized mainly by Western RPGs like Elder Scrolls, while DQ still mainly appeals to Japanese audiences. While Souls-like games have increased in popularity and are made mainly by From Soft, they don't exactly fit the traditional JRPG mold.
Not only has the market share of Japanese studios diminished greatly when it comes to the third-party market, but even the ones still doing well are either making legacy titles with large, entrenched fan bases or series that are not overtly influenced by Japanese pop culture.
And just look at the state of the Japanese market. Nintendo utterly dominates it. Home consoles in general have been diminishing in popularity in Japan since Gen 6. While handhelds have continued to thrive, the home console market has imploded for reasons that aren't clear (I have my theories), and cracks were even showing on that front back in Gen 6. Combined PS2+GC+Xbox+DC sales were less than combined PS1+N64+Saturn sales, and while the PS2 did outsell the PS1 by itself, it was by a margin significantly less than what we saw in North America and Europe. Even for Nintendo, they haven't had a home console sell over 15M units since the SNES. The Wii set records for Nintendo consoles in the West, but in Japan its sales were merely good, enough to be #1 in Japan for Gen 7 but far less than those of the #1 consoles of preceding generations. In Japan, the Wii sold 26% fewer units than the SNES, while in the U.S. the Wii sold over twice as many units as the SNES.
Looking at the state of the market for non-Nintendo consoles, it's been a disaster. The PS3 & PS4 combined sold fewer units than the PS2 did by itself, and the Xbox brand has failed to gain any sort of mainstream success. Meanwhile, combined PS+Xbox sales have been consistently strong in the West, with total sales between the two brands consistently being well over 60M for three consecutive generations in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, Japan represented well under 10% of the combined PS+Xbox global install base in both Gens 7 & 8, with sales just barely passing 12M in Gen 7 and not even hitting 10M in Gen 8.
Looking at software sales, the situation is even worse. Tie ratios for home consoles in Japan have declined significantly from where they were 20 years ago. According to Famitsu, only five games in Japan have sold over 1M copies at retail across both the PS3 & PS4: Monster Hunter World, FF13, FF15, DQ11, and RE5 (add in digital, and FF7 Remake and possibly even Kingdom Hearts III might have passed the 1M mark). Of those, only MHW sold more than 2M copies. Meanwhile, the PS2 had 23 million-sellers in Japan by itself, including four that sold more than 2M. Series like Final Fantasy and Resident Evil have greatly diminished in popularity in Japan. Even the most Japanese of Japanese games struggle mightily in Japan, especially on home consoles.
This is just the reality of the market. And since game companies operate on a for-profit basis, they are going to tend to make what sells best, especially if they focus on the mass market, which console makers do. This means that Japanese publishers are either going to have to A) make games that appeal just as much if not more so to Western audiences than they do to Japanese audiences, or B) continue to make games that appeal more to Japanese audiences and deal with becoming more niche. Nintendo has been doing "A" for decades now, with their games having widespread appeal to global audiences. Sony is simply doing the same on their side.
Sony prioritizing the North American and European markets is good business. They are going to make games that appeal to as cosmopolitan of an audience as possible. Niche titles that appeal primarily to Japanese tastes are not going to be a priority for a company that makes games for its own platform. And this strategy has worked for them. While some people may detest some of Sony's output (often for superficial reasons that have little to nothing to do with the actual quality of the titles), those games consistently dominate the list of best sellers on PlayStation consoles. God of War on the PS4 has sold almost 20M copies, for example (probably over 20M by now, as the last sales update was 11 months ago).
If you don't like Sony's first-party output, well, that's a you problem. If their games aren't to your tastes, you're free to spend your money elsewhere. But the market has spoken: Sony's games do well, more than well enough to justify a continuation of several generations of focusing on the funding of Western game studios for their in-house software development.
Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 24 July 2022