While Xbox is a gaming brand giant, but not in Japan. However, Xbox chief Phil Spencer says he wants to change that and for the Xbox One to become popular in the Land of the Rising Sun. To achieve that, much will have to change.
Just last week, we reported that the Xbox One was the top-selling console in the US for the third consecutive month. However, I also pointed out that other global regions are less kind to Microsoft's machine. This means that the Sony PlayStation 4 is still outselling the Xbox One globally and will continue to do so.
I used Latin American as an example that shows this, but Japan is a starker contrast. The country is Sony's backyard. Despite the Japanese electronics industry taking a global bashing in recent years, residents in the country remain loyal to their brands. There is the now famous story of the Xbox One selling just 99 consoles in a single week while the PS4 shipped 25,000.
This is nothing new, Microsoft's Xbox brand has tanked since the original console landed 15 years ago. Spencer is, of course, well aware of this and would like to change it. Speaking with Japanese game magazine, Famitsu, the executive confessed the difficulty in marketing Xbox in Japan:
“Sadly the Xbox One is not living up to the amount of sales I originally thought the country would put out, but with the Xbox One S we will release it in Japan and with the co-operation of many developers we're hoping to make a giant change in sales compared to the current climate!”
The problem seems to be Microsoft's marketing of the console and finding software for the Japanese market. The former has seen Microsoft embark on a lackluster marketing campaign that was endemic of the entire Xbox One launch. For the latter, it is important to remember that Japan is a very specific gaming market. The country has unique styles and gaming cultures, Microsoft has failed to tap into that.
“I think it's due to a lot of games that are released on the console, I feel that a lot of the games are not games that the Japanese public would play and get themselves into. A lot of Japanese gamers really seem to like games such as Persona 5 or Nioh and that is why we decided to get in touch with Japanese developers to create such games as Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey for the Xbox 360. If we plan on doing better in the Japanese game market we want to release games that the average Japanese gamer will really enjoy.”
“So far we have made friends with a variety of developers that then asked to create games for our system; such as Mr. Inafune Keiji with ReCore & Mr. Kamiya Hideki and the staff from Platinum Games for the development of Scalebound. We plan to talk with many other developers in order to bring more games to the Japanese market, we were happy to announce Final Fantasy XV on the Xbox One which made me extremely happy and as mentioned we plan on a lot more connections.”