We all expected that the Xbox One would have a rough time finding a foothold in Japan, but we had no idea it was going to be like this! The Xbox and the Xbox 360’s performances were bad enough, but the Xbox One’s launch last month was the worst in fifteen years! And if you thought sales were going to pick up from the first 23,562 it sold in its first week, then prepare for the shocker.
In its third week of availability, the Xbox One only sold 1,314 units. After three weeks, the console has failed to break the 30,000 unit mark, and not until Scalebound, which has no foreseeable release window, is there anything remotely resembling a Japanese exclusive that could push the audience into buying one.
In response to this, Xbox Japan boss Takashi Sensui has issued a statement on the status of his console to Famitsu.
It’s not as though we’re satisfied with the current sales state. We hope to continue through taking user feedback and improving [the Xbox One] and offering content that everyone can enjoy. We are also aware that reaching out to let more people know about the Xbox One is vital. However, the current console generation has become very long. We hope to lay out a long-term vision and to focus on publicity for our console. Taking the first step was very important, and as for how to permeate the market from here, we hope to continue to do our best.
Phil Spencer also stressed in the interview how important Japan and Japanese developers were to the success of the Xbox One, but it has a long road ahead of itself making it a success.
How genuine is that, though? Does Microsoft really need Japan to survive? Before the Xbox brand name became a serious contender on the console scene, Japan had roughly a majority of the video game market share wrapped up under its companies like Nintendo and Square Enix. PC gamers kept to themselves, and console gamers kept to their own.
Once the Xbox 360 came into play and Western style PC games started to take hold in the living room, Japan started losing that ground to a new generation of console gamers no longer attracted to Mario, Final Fantasy, and the usual suspects. Who has the last laugh now?
Microsoft can appeal to Japan all it wants, but the two are like oil and water. The Xbox can’t succeed in Japan, and Japan continues to struggle in a world where the Xbox has changed the standards for console gaming. Something tells me these two need an overnight lock-in party at the local rec center. I mean, come on!