Microsoft’s Xbox One X has been available to purchase since November 7. Since then, the world’s most powerful console has sold well, matching its promising pre-order numbers. However, it has gone over like a lead balloon in Japan. In the Land of the Rising Sun, the Xbox One X has tanked.

Before getting into the why, let’s see the details. Media Create has sent out sales figures for gaming hardware during the last week. The company shows Xbox One X sold units at 1,344. For perspective, the Nintendo Switch topped the market with 79,958 and the Sony PS4 was second at 20,021.

In terms of position, the new Xbox was eighth, also losing to the Nintendo 3DS, 2DS, and PlayStation Vita.

If we consider the Xbox One S sold just 121 units over the same period, it perhaps highlights why the Xbox One X sales are not really a shock. Simply put, Japan has never warmed to Microsoft’s console. From the original Xbox through the Xbox 360, the Japanese market has been dead for Microsoft.

  1. Switch:  79, 958
  2. PS4: 20,021
  3. New 2DS XL: 10, 323
  4. New 3 DS XL: 7,296
  5. PS4 Pro: 6,037
  6. PS Vita: 3,210
  7. 2DS: 1,484
  8. Xbox One X: 1,344
  9. New 3DS: 266
  10. Xbox One: 121
  11. PS3: 41
  12. Wii U: 36

Nintendo and Sony are based in Japan and always do well with the country’s loyal consumer base. So, Microsoft should certainly not take the isolated conditions of Japan as a gauge on the success of Xbox One X.

It is, however, worth noting that pre-orders for the console reportedly sold out in Japan. Clearly Microsoft knows the market is largely a dead end and only allocated a limited number of units.

Xbox head Phil Spencer has previously discussed the company’s efforts to ignite the Japanese market. Last year, when the Xbox One sold 99 units compared to the PS4’s 25,000 over one week, Spencer said the company is working to bring more Japan-developed titles to the console:

“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.”

Success in Key Markets

In core markets in North American and Europe, Microsoft has reported high demand and strong early sales. I will continue to point out that Microsoft has stated it does not expect the X to be its sales driver.

The company knows the bulk of Xbox sales will come from the Xbox One S. Xbox One X sales getting off to a fast start is a good bonus, of course.