According to a story by the Wall Street Journal, the Xbox One will be heading to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and India in late 2014. A later update regarding Japan was even less specific, stating that release dates and details will “be announced at a more appropriate time.” The 360 sold so poorly in Japan that there was question as to whether its successor would ever make the jump.
Microsoft’s Alan Bowman, regional vice president for sales and marketing in Asia, described the approach to the other countries listed as a “staged approach.” The company plans to offer localized content for each region. The regions listed are considered high-growth markets for Microsoft. According to the Journal’s story, the Xbox became the top seller in the Asian console market last year.
One interesting thing to track in the future will be to see how Microsoft’s policies regarding game licensing and always-sometimes on-line authentication will fare in Asian markets. While America isn’t at the top of the broadband spectrum, India struggles with broadband access (according to Wikipedia, 1.2% of India has permanent broadband access). By sheer size alone, India has potential to be a massive market for the company. A strict broadband requirement could severely hinder those efforts. Hong Kong on the other hand has slightly better broadband access than the U.S., while Taiwan and Singapore are a bit less, though not substantially so.