Japan begins Xbox 360 countdown

Microsoft holds prelaunch bash thanking Xbox Live community members with speeches, tchotchkes, and cocktails.

TOKYO--Much like last month's Zero Hour event, Microsoft is holding an event for hardcore gamers on the eve of the Xbox 360's launch in Japan. While the official launch ceremony is scheduled to take place a few hours from now at the Shibuya Tsutaya shopping center, Microsoft is also holding party at its Xbox 360 Lounge solely for a few select members of the Xbox Live community. The party began Friday night, and will continue until about two hours before the console goes on sale Saturday morning.

About 15 minutes before the countdown party's 9 p.m. kickoff, more than 80 people had already gathered outside the Xbox 360 Lounge to get in. The crowd became larger as the hour neared, and it seemed that most of the 120 lucky gamers that won a ticket to the event had lined up before the doors opened.

Once Microsoft staffers let everyone in, the Lounge became packed--no surprise, as the building normally seats about two dozen people. Catering and cocktails were on hand, as were several Japanese Xbox 360 launch titles. Every Party, FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, Ridge Racer 6, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Perfect Dark Zero, and Tetris: The Grandmaster Ace were running on 11 Xbox 360 units.

The party began with a quick opening speech from Koide Masahiro, Microsoft Japan's Xbox marketing chief. "We sincerely thank Xbox Live members for their support. We really look at the Xbox Live community as something very important. It's like a treasure to us. We would've really liked to invite everyone from the Xbox Live community and thank them, but unfortunately, that's not physically possible," said Koide. "With the launch of the Xbox 360 tomorrow, we'll be launching a new version of Xbox Live."

Following Koide's speech, Microsoft Japan's Xbox Live marketing manager Tsurubuchi Tadashige took a 360's wireless controller and showed off the new Xbox Live on a large, 200-inch screen on the wall. The crowd went wild when he played a classic game of Gauntlet downloaded from Xbox Live to show how users can invite friends to play games together.

The gamers were a bit stunned when Peter Moore, the man behind the Xbox 360 project, made a surprise visit to the lounge during the middle of the party. "It gives me great pleasure here, less than nine hours before the launch in Japan of the Xbox 360, to speak to some of the most loyal fans in Japan," said Moore.

"The last two weeks have been an incredible success story for Xbox 360 throughout North America," he continued. "On the evening of November 22nd, four and a half thousand retail stores in North America opened their doors at midnight to welcome hundreds of thousands of fans to be the first to get their hands on the Xbox 360. As I'm sure you know, the Xbox 360 in North America was sold out within the first two hours of sale."

Moore then addressed the console's European launch. "We then moved to Europe on December 2nd at midnight, thousands of stores across Europe, from the UK to France to Germany to Italy, opened their doors to the Xbox 360 fans, and the Xbox 360 was sold out within 75 minutes."

Finally, Moore came to the Japanese launch, saying "and so here we are now in Tokyo, just a few hours away from bringing the Xbox 360 to Xbox Live subscribers, some of the most loyal gamers that have stuck with us throughout the years. There have been some difficult times here in Japan, but I think this next generation will pay off your loyalty, and then some."

As a further thank you, everyone in attendance was given a set of blank business cards bearing the Xbox Live logo, which they could use to write their gamertags and exchange them with other people at the Lounge. There was also an event where owners of popular Xbox fan sites challenged each other via Every Party minigames in front of an enthusiastic audience. Those present also were given an Every Party board game.

GameSpot will bring more coverage of the Xbox 360 launch in Japan in the coming hours.

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Discussion

52 comments
Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

god microsoft cant get anyhting right on a technical level ... but when it comes to forced '' cool '' among friendless wonders , aggressive marketing, cheesey publicity strokes and outright theft ( see Apple ) they got it sussed ... japan waits for the REVOLUTION ( as do we all )

brim4brim
brim4brim

"We really look at the Xbox Live community as something very important. It's like a treasure to us" haha, yeah because of all the $$$ they get out of those users.

blueday
blueday

Yeah sold out since not may were made

mithund
mithund

the X360 is definitely gonna do better than the XBOX this time around. the lauch isn't gonna be impressive & i'm sure its not gonna be a sell out...but in a couple of years time, with the release of more japanese titles on it, Japanese consumers are gonna take the 360 more seriously. Microsoft has done a good job of signing up japanese developers this time around.

petegrrrr
petegrrrr

Incidentally, I mean that the launch day isn't even done yet (only like 3 hours in). I miscalculated the time zone difference in my other post :)

heidelun
heidelun

....I just read an article that all the stores in Japan are saying they have PLENTY Xbox360 when asked how much they are after the launch. The only place over 100 ppl was Shibuya Tsutaya which is the place that is described above at the news. And they disappeared 1 HOUR after the launch of xbox. Everyone in the WORLD are saying this is total failure. now lets compare with other spaces in the world. US - total sellout time 2 hours. Europe - 75minutes. Japan - PLENTY LEFT.

petegrrrr
petegrrrr

XHOT, the 360 HASN'T EVEN LAUNCHED YET GENIUS. How can it be "a big hit" when it isn't even on sale yet, LOL

xhotgamer
xhotgamer

The 360 was a big hit in Japan because even tho they are nintendo and sony fan's they dont feel like waiting and MS made a good decision by relasing the 360 before both of the companies

a0me
a0me

Just went and checked Xbox website again and the backward compatibility list has been upgraded to 30 titles and is now including the best selling Xbox game ever in Japan (about 100,000 units) DOA3.

patcoolchenko
patcoolchenko

I think that having such an early release, and building up the hipe really helped out Microsoft's sales of the Xbox 360. The 360 is becoming a hit and I'm wondering if the PS3 is going to be able to compete almost half a year from now with the Xbox 360's foundation on Next Gen gaming growing so rapidly (even though they have a lot of fan loyalty). Microsofts stratagy was ingenious. They built up an enourmous hipe and got their system out first. But I still don't have one : ( .

mezonesxbox
mezonesxbox

i think the japanese are getting some FRESH air after all that RPG and Mario stuff.......

ghostadv
ghostadv

I have to agree with a0me, the lack of launch titles, and only 12 backward compatible games for japanese gamers will go over well for MS

Thailfish
Thailfish

woah, my question isn't about how successful 360 is going to be in Japan, but is about Moore's comment. Selling out in 2 hrs a success story, I'd say a big disappointment. Clearly he doesn't see that selling out in 2 hrs means he didn't have even close to the number of systems needed and because of that he ruined a lot of peoples christmas. Ditto with the UK. Get the facts straight, 75% of us out here are still waiting for pre-orders and shelf 360's. My 400 dollars is sitting right here, now put a 360 in front of me plz.

a0me
a0me

You seem to forget what's the Xbox 360 launch in Japan: - No core system available - Only 6 (six) titles at launch, the best one being "Ridge Racer 6" - Bacward compatibility is limited to only 12 (twelve) games nobody cares about

SnowFarmer
SnowFarmer

The 360 will be a larger success than the Xbox, you'd have to be blind or miguided to not believe that to be true. MS seems like they really listened to what kind of games the Japanese gamers want to play and they have studios working on delivering those games. I would not be at all surprised in MS managed to quadruple their hardware sales this generation. But that said MS managed to sell less than 500k Xboxes in Japan over the last 4 years, so even quadrupling sales would only give them 2 million units on the ground 4 years from now. That is not enough to sway any developers that the 360 is a viabe platform in Japan. If MS weren't willing to shell out big bucks, the Japanese support for the 360 would be as bad as it is for the Xbox. The only way for MS to win the likes of Square or others is to subsidize the low sales they would likely see. The Japanese user base simply won't be big enough. Want a prediction? The DS (and possibily the PSP and PS2) will out sell the 360 launch week.

ghostadv
ghostadv

I still don't see how getting just 120 people in that building isa good sign. Shouldn't there be more if it's something to get excited about?

classiczelda
classiczelda

Japan is Sony's and Nintendo's territory, they will never have the same level of succes.

petegrrrr
petegrrrr

Can none of you people read or count??? IT"S ONLY A HUNDRED AND TWENTY PEOPLE. THATS IT. THAT IS IN NOW WAY IMPRESSIVE AT ALL. As i mentioned before, that is about 0.000029% of the console players in japan. Whoopty Dooo. Grasping at straws guys....grasping at straws....

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

I imagine that most of the people that DID buy the Xbox in Japan are at least somewhat happy with their purchases, which will ensure a small bit of success initially. The big problem is how to get the Japanese gamers who didn't care about Xbox to care about the 360. Personally, I don't think it's possible, unless the Revolution totally tanks.

remaGloohcSdlO
remaGloohcSdlO

Sure doesn't look like those people are ignoring the 360... hmmm

ste90
ste90

and i am also wondering how sony people got owned (im not a fan boy im ust wondering y) it dont affect any one else but microsoft not you the game players just the company if people dont want the console they wont buy it same for any console so nobody got owned here dude not nintendo not sony not even u it only affects microsoft if they dont get alot of sales they loose money ure still playing halo or gta or mario NOTHING has affected any 1 it is a game players choice not any 1 elses so thats the end of that chapter (simpsons reference :P)

ste90
ste90

who said that japan dont want the revolution? The japanese will eat up the revolution because its something new and unique why do u fink the ds is doing so well over there? And the xbox 360 will do better than the xbox did but not amazingly better. it all depends on the type of games being released because the american and european market is totally different to the japanese market so maybe microsoft will get some games out over there that suits to there tastes then maybe the xbox can get a larger fan base in japan.

ArmoredAshes
ArmoredAshes

Im all for it going big in japan and the rest of asia...but i dont want square Enix getting too buddy buddy with microsoft. I dont want them ruining the Final Fantasy series on me...

Cheroqui23
Cheroqui23

I like the Moore comment "As I'm sure you know, the Xbox 360 was sold out within the first two hours of sale..." for North America and UK. Whatever. How hard is it to get rid of 8-20 systems per location? Come on now. Your talking slick, make it quiiiiick!!!

younggotti
younggotti

I have a 360 and I am a sony fan aswell. I would also like to know how us Sony Fans got owned?

bossjimbob
bossjimbob

Given that the 360 has better Japanese developer/publisher support this time around and Xbox Live Arcade gives them more options for low-cost, fun and quirky arcade games perhaps this time the Xbox product line will do better. We'll have to wait and see, but that's cool that Koide-san and Peter Moore had such nice things to say to the crowd and appreciated their loyalty and support.

jhockey9
jhockey9

M$ fanboys crack me up. I already have a 360 and could care less. It's fun and all. But seriously, who cares if Japan buys these things. What's important is that we as individuals get the consoles we want and play the games we like. Let M$ deal with the Japanese and the business. Go play Halo 2 or something.

silverjiken
silverjiken

teh japanese look so happy with X360

iwannarockagain
iwannarockagain

UnlivedPhalanx "Sony fans just got OWNED. " Well, im a sony fan, how did i get owned?

bonzotasm
bonzotasm

I don't know.... the fact that they seemed interested in old arcade games is something that MS could use to their advantage.... suddenly they start making deals with all of the companies that made these old games in order to strengthen their position... Then again.. I would think that most of Japanese gamers would know about emulators :P It will be something to watch...

daddo-splat
daddo-splat

I think all 360's are the same in the setup it ask for language with about 15 or so options Japanese one of them so if there are left over units they could bring them back here! perfect dark zero and call of duty 2 are great launch titles but like they say those might not sell the system there. The only problem with ps3 is it should be more expensive then xbox 360! so that might help.

the_smell
the_smell

What do you want to bet it was a bunch of Americans living in Japan that turned out for this thing?

LordOfMidnight
LordOfMidnight

I've heard that the Japanese community may not be in such a lather over the Xbox 360. I'll be curious to see what degree of madness ensues over there.

Sandman100
Sandman100

Come on Japanese the 360 is a great consles. I think the 360 will sell out in Japan even with out those kill hit that the Japanese like.

ghostadv
ghostadv

how could more say the 360 was a success in the states when there's been problems with the hardware and lack of 360s at launch?

petegrrrr
petegrrrr

Wow, you guys are predicting the success of a console based on 120 PEOPLE, lol. Of course they showed up, they were the only xbox live players IN JAPAN. Don't use less than .000029% of the japanese gaming populace ( 120 taken as a percentage of the35 million console owners in japan) to cry victory over seas. Or to be fair, don't knock microsoft for not trying either. They're making an effort, but this tiny, statistically insignifcant number of peopel shouldn't sway you either way. And as for my opinion, I doubt the 360 will ever sell a million units in japan...the xbox didn't sell 2 million IN ALL OF ASIA (including the Koreas, the Vientnams, china, indonesia....etc etc)

ashmantle
ashmantle

Im hoping that the 360 flops in Japan, so this is actually not good news for me :D Oh, well, I will have to wait until after the weekend for the launch aftermath.

TruePrime
TruePrime

RunnerGunner480 What makes you say they don't want Revolution quite a few developers over there have already confesd love for the controller and some even have stated they are going to make games for the system such as Hideo Kojima Square-Enix. Maker of Killer 7 has stated he really enjoyed and is trying to come up with game designs and Mario and Zelda is huge in japan so what makes you so sure as to say they dont want it

Munkwunk
Munkwunk

With the emphasis that MIcrosoft put on Japanese developer support being taken up a notch for the 360, it's sad to see that none of those Japanese games are launch titles in Japan. Still, I hope the 360 goes over relatively well with them.

bluntist
bluntist

It will be a success, not as much as in the US or Europe but it will sell out and if it doen't it will come DEC 22 when DOA4 is out and when that happens that's when everyone in Japen that din't buy one will feel left out and eventually buy one. Think about it PS3 comes out in spring or summer 06 that's plenty of time to save up for one.

ViViORO
ViViORO

I hope the japanese people enjoy the 360 despite the nationalism and lack of support for foreign products in japan

OPOLO
OPOLO

I sure hope things work well in the long run, so I don't have to use my Playstation for RPG game play

kindredmachine
kindredmachine

I hope it will be a hit in Japan. The success of the 360 over there means that more Japanese developers will jump on the Microsoft bandwagon... which means more xbox 360 RPGs and such over here in the USA :-) Square Enix hinted that they might make "the next final fantasy" for both 360 and PS3... but arn't sure yet. I'm sure the level of success for the 360 in Japan will be the driving force for that decision. :/ *fingers crossed*

RunnerGunner480
RunnerGunner480

Maybe since Revolution isn't what Japan wants, Xbox 360 will get their customers, being the first next-gen system and all

reallaughingman
reallaughingman

well i still dought that it will be big in japan, but mabey bigger than the whole 4 counsoles it sold last time around...lol