Is the Xbox dead in Japan?
Along with the recent loss of exclusivity of the Idolmaster series in Japan to Sony’s PS3 and dwindling sales in the region, it was sadly not too surprising to read Edge Magazine’s report that many Japanese retailers in the industry have finally started to give up on the 360. As of June, Microsoft has announce their total system sales in Japan at 1.5 million. While the number seems to insinuate a positive marker for the company, this total comes six years after the initial release of the console.
As of late, the handheld market in Japan has grown in popularity significantly. This rise has led both Nintendo and Sony to focus heavily on their own platforms; taking full advantage of Microsoft’s lack of a handheld platform and further distancing the company from the public eye.
Some retailers have even gone so far as to start placing 360 games, accessories, and console products in bargain bins or “wagon-sales.” As it stands, Microsoft’s estimated release of their next console on 2014 does not look like it will be received by the Japanese gaming community as warmly as initially planned.
But Microsoft is not giving up on the region. “No, of course we’re not pulling out. It’s a challenging market. We are up against very strong competition there. We’re very respectful of what Sony and Nintendo do, and where they’ve come from, and what they bring.” says Chris Lewis; Executive VP of Interactive Entertainment in Europe during his interview with Edge Magazine. “Japan remains important to us. We’re very committed to that market. The development community there is very important. Tokyo Game Show will be a notable element in the year as usual.“
As reported by Microsoft, the company is up 27% compared to last year so this issue has not seemingly affected the company as of yet. However, one would certainly hope that their future plans for the Kinect and future releases hit home with the Japanese market as it is indeed an important community in the current video game industry. Only time will tell.