If there is a market territory that is resistant to the Xbox brand, it is undoubtedly the market Japanese. Despite attempts by the Redmond company to gain a foothold in Japan, this is an audience traditionally considered to be it is difficult for him to leave national brands. Hideki Kamiya himself, creator of sagas like Bayonettahe said in one recent interview What Xbox products seem “foreign and strange” the. This point of view may be wrong, since for example around 55% of smartphones used in the land of the rising sun are from Apple. The preferred operating system on Japanese PCs is Windows. So what’s the real problem with Xbox consoles in Japan? What is this demanding audience looking for?
The first attempts
Well, from what we can see, quality and confidence in the product and in the companies that develop it. Of course, Xbox consoles have always been an article of more than proven quality, and Xbox 360 was the best-selling branded console in Japan. But we all know what happened something that upset all good intentions previous. Yes, friends and friends, we talk about it damn xbox 360 red lights, a setback which was a big expenditure of money and resources for the brand by having to replace many machines, and also to face the bad public image that could cause
Despite the attempt with 360 to conquer this market with launches such as Odissey lost O Blue dragon, great jrpg developed with this market in mind, the shadow of the red lights was too heavy. So much so that in the next generation the Xbox had syour worst selling result In Japan. Fast forward in time, the Xbox One is out, with the Kinect group, TV, TV, TV, sports, sports, sports, and the “always connected”. And the truth, right now I can’t think nothing that could be further what the Japanese public is looking for.
We know that the Japanese he is very jealous of his privacy, the idea of permanent connection is not his thing. As for Kinect, we have another problem, this time architectural if you want to call it that. Japanese houses in big cities, they are usually small, and that might not be what suited them the most. But man, what about the Wii? It’s almost the same, isn’t it? Well yes, in terms of motion control almost yes, but with a clear differentiation in terms of catalog. We know Mario, Link and the company are sure sellers for their own national cultural identity.
“It is extremely important to our strategy that the amazing Japanese creators know that the Xbox is a platform on which they can be successful.”
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox
And is this culture shock is palpable in all respects: the way of telling, of telling the stories, of working, the stories, the rhythms … sare completely different from westerners. This culture clash must translate into an attempt to create products that appeal to the Japanese public, and at this point in the Redmond business it appears that they have completely deviated from an attractive model for this type of market.
Gamepass as a spearhead
And then came Phil Spencer, Microsoft lead Xbox teams to the US executive, which admitted that bad decisions were made during the development of the Xbox One. The current Xbox “boss” came up with his own ideas and a clear goal:get into video games and gamer servicess. And with it came GamePass, with all its perks and ability to reach all devices, and more and more titles developed in Japan.
In recent months we have been able to see how they add to the GamePass catalog sagas like Final fantasy, specific Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, XII and XV. In the wake of the classic jrpg, we have Dragon Quest XI, a game more niche than Final fantasy. And that same week he came to us Octopath traveler, other super jrpg so far exclusive to Switch on consoles. And we can’t just talk about jrpgs too games from other great sagas have arrived with great success in Japan: the saga Yakuza, Monster Hunter World, Automatic Deny…
The new generation
With the launch of the Xbox Series X / S, a new opportunity presented itself to reach the Japanese market. Phil Spencer made several trips to Japan, both for present the new consoles, and also have a presence in the latest TGS. The brand intends to enter the Japanese market with its new machines in combination with Gamepass, and Phil Spencer’s intention is for Xbox to have one or more studies developed from Japan. The recent acquisition of Tango Gameworks, study of the mythical Shinji mikami, prove.
“The Xbox situation in Japan is unacceptable to me, but things will change with the launch of the new consoles”
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox
Again It’s too early to judge the role of the Xbox Series X / S in Japanese territory, but according to Famitsu As of March 14, 2021, Xbox Series X sales stood at 29,076 units, while the S Series also increased to 7,725 units. We will have to wait a few more years, although given the large catalog that is yet to come, the future is bright and at this point the Xbox can only grow in the Japanese market. If you liked the article, you can find other very interesting ones on our website, Xbox Area.