Microsoft Still Upbeat on Japan

Xbox 360 sales in Japan are, well, crap but Microsoft insists that it won't give up.

Shane Kim: "We don't expect to win in Japan"

The Xbox 360 is a hit in North America and Europe. It's only in the last few months that retailers have been able to keep them in stock, and Microsoft says it should sell 10 million by November. Japan, however, is a different story.

Sales of the Xbox 360 are not much better than the Xbox, which was itself shunned by most Japanese gamers. Despite a more concerted effort from Microsoft this time, the Xbox 360 has only sold around 150,000 units since it launched in December and it's regularly the worst seller on the charts. But Microsoft told Kikizo that it's not giving up yet.

Solid but not spectacular

"We're committed to Japan for the long run, and we're off to a solid but not spectacular start, and I think that's what we expected to happen," Microsoft's Shane Kim told Kikizo recently.

Kim pointed out that success in Japan is dependent on game makers making games specifically for the Japanese audience.

One of these, Ninety Nine Nights by ex-Sega developer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is already out, and sales have been underwhelming. The big games in the offing include Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey - both RPGs developed by former Square Enix developer Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Even still, this won't be enough, says Kim, to beat Sony on its own territory.

"I think our expectations are realistic," he said. "We don't expect to 'win' in Japan, but I do think we can 'win' the next generation."

For more on Microsoft's plans going forward, check out our full interview with Shane Kim, Todd Holmdahl and Rich Teversham.

Alex Wollenschlaeger
Editor, Kikizo Games

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