Pre-TGS '07: Microsoft lays out latest Japan plan

Console maker prepares for the shopping season in island nation with new titles, budget reprints, and additional hardware.

by

TOKYO--At the Xbox 360 Briefing 2007 in Japan today, Takashi Sensui, general manager of Xbox Japan, disclosed Microsoft's upcoming holiday strategy for the retailers and game dealers in attendance.

Takashi Sensui proudly displays the Xbox Messenger chatpad.

Addressing the current statistics of the Xbox 360, Sensui noted that there are 170 titles available for the console in Japan, including those on Xbox Live Arcade. The library will grow to 250 titles by the end of the year. Sensui emphasized that Microsoft won't be pulling its punches for this shopping season in Japan and is readying a significant lineup of games as well as new hardware.

The major titles for this shopping season are similar to those anticipated elsewhere in the world, including Project Gotham Racing 4, Halo 3, Beautiful Katamari, Ace Combat 6, Viva Pinata: Party Animals, and Lost Odyssey. Microsoft will also be adding new best-selling Xbox 360 games to its discounted Platinum Collection beginning November 1. Tecmo's Dead or Alive 4 and Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, Microsoft Game Studios' Blue Dragon and Gears of War, D3 Publisher's Chikyu Bouei-gun 3 and Onei-chanbara, and Square Enix's Project Sylpheed will be released at 2,940 Yen ($26), while Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition will be offered at 3,990 Yen ($35). A special bundle featuring Dead Rising and Gears of War will also be available for 5,240 Yen ($46).

Japan is seeing blue.

Microsoft also plans to release in Japan the same lineup of hardware that's offered in North America. As previously reported, Japan will be getting the Xbox 360 Elite bundle and black wireless controller on October 11, with the light blue and pink wireless controllers following on November 1. The Xbox Messenger Kit, which includes an attachable chatpad and a headset, will also be released in Japan, although no date was announced at today's briefing.

Sensui also revealed the latest figures for the worldwide use of Xbox Live. Microsoft's online service currently has more than 7 million users, and the publisher is aiming to boost that number to 10 million worldwide by the end of June 2008. He also said Xbox Live users have spent a total of 2.9 billion hours online so far, and the approximately 9,000 bits of content have been downloaded more than 220 million times.

Discussion

214 comments
Conscript26
Conscript26

We buy all their products and send all kinds of money to Japan.. and they return nothing. Japanese do not like American entertainment, however we devour theirs. Some time all of our debt with them and other countries that we love products from will come back to haunt us. The only thing that made it over there is WoW! I guess the Ipod too, but who doesn't have an Ipod?

Ninja-Vox
Ninja-Vox

Anyone trying to claim that Japan refuses to buy anything which isn't japanese can simply take a glance at the little fact that the iPod is the best selling mp3 player in japan. There goes that arguement.

lanista
lanista

"phoenix2raven: if you guys really think the reason for lagging 360 sales are cause the japanese dont buy american then thats ignorance at the lowest level possible." Hmm, not sure I agree with your rejection of this point - see below "imperial_agent: Their economy is based on electronics exports, not imports." I agree with this and it's a fundamental point. And I think history shows it applies more widely that electronics too I'm not going to write a long post here, but think about stuff invented by the west: cameras, automobiles, motorbikes, televisions, games consoles (Atari) They may have bought European or American products to start with, and may still do occasionally, but very quickly they seem to create their own versions of those products, improve them until they are really good - and in many cases better than the originals - and then re-export them They have valid reason to believe their products are better (because they have been many times). Who can argue with that, I don't have a problem with it but in which case it must be realised that Xbox may have a problem in Japan Second is the type of games made. But this no longer applies solely to Japan rather is a worldwide difference of cultural tastes. Clearly there will be a few people who like foreign culture in any country, but for widespread success in each area on the games front, MS will have to create games for each region that suit their preferences before they will sell well Just my two-penny worth

bunnyman14
bunnyman14

They should make a Jade Empire 2 with a deeper leveling up system and make it so the west is evil. The Asians should be all over that fighting+rpg+Asians=Pure Jade!

Phoenix2Raven
Phoenix2Raven

if you guys really think the reason for lagging 360 sales are cause the japanese dont buy american then thats ignorance at the lowest level possible. if all the 360 had was japanese rpgs and than put out some average boring 1st person shooter thats not halo but some 1st time game and then no one in the usa bought it, would that mean americans just dont buy japanese. dumb. japan has like blue dragon and eternal sonata, both got bad to average reviews here why should people who like final fantasy type games buy a system that has devoted no attention to them until recently . thats right none, but since the 360 is finally paying some attention to other people maybe they can build their brand up like sony and nintendo whos had games going for over a decade. BTW japanese buy american and others for other categories just not gaming cause the games on 360 have thus far not interested them doesn't make them stubborn about buying american. considering were the people who renamed french fries to liberty fries (or was it freedom fries, whatever) we shouldn't be calling out any other country about being openly biased to another country.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

Japan is very stubborn. They won't buy the Xbox360 no matter how good it is because it's an American product. Their economy is based on electronics exports, not imports.

Ahsan_Jadi_1
Ahsan_Jadi_1

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Ahsan_Jadi_1
Ahsan_Jadi_1

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NDegree
NDegree

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Username289
Username289

Bradley7777 I heard that Dead Rising is coming to Ps3 Where did you hear this exactly?

Bradley7777
Bradley7777

I heard that Dead Rising is coming to Ps3

p00phead
p00phead

the Japanese prefer the Nintendo and playstation but Microsoft is making progress with getting exclusives like dead rising and lost planet maybe the 360 will dominate gaming over there soon

ghost89x
ghost89x

ya i agree with ctg867, honestly foreigners never buy american products even when they are better than there products. american games will never sell in countries like japan and china and othres

ctg867
ctg867

Sorry, but I really don't think there is any sense in trying to market the 360 to Japan. Just use TGS as a way to talk about games that appeal to North American and European gamers, rather then trying to use it to market in a place they you will most likely never sell in. That's just my opinion anyway. But I think most people would agree.

rety5
rety5

I wasnt that impressed with any of the consoles at E3 this year, xbox 360 suddenly becoming as bad as the ps3, so I think that to really get japan on the xbox 360 they are going ot have to do something a little more special and original than releasing a best sellers budget list.

osxgp
osxgp

Microsoft needs to do something in Japan. They need a serious RPG to keep their head above water. Blue Dragon wasn't it; even though it sold well there.

flashn00b
flashn00b

Microsoft might need to resort to one thing they haven't done yet... A Moe anthropomorphism... imagine seeing microsoft using their own version of 360-tan as a means of advertisement

fax555241
fax555241

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fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

nathris, I also agree to what you're saying...but i doubt now they are trying to gain masses in Japan that they are trying to Dethrone Nintendo; Cause they are smart enough to know that's a suicide mission. But bringing sony to its knees that's going to take work cause Sony is somewhat strong there as well but doesn't hold as much Bite as nintendo so it can be brought on its knees if not cripple the competition. But in the end, whether they have Japanese gamers or not they are still doing a pretty good job setting up at least JRPG games and if they don't want to take it cause Microsoft is an "americanized" company then if that's the case they might as well pack up those PC's they have at home, and at work that are "windows based" get rid of those Mac's being that apple is an "americanized" company as well and just throw those pc's in the pacific and call it a day. Sure we are not like in some of the free world.....when it comes to MILITARY and WAR purposes (and a president that don't know the difference between Soverign nations and tribes within them) but damn this is the video game world/business and if they can't look at it from a business stand point and not from a aspect of being that this is a american company...then maybe they have an issue they need to work out personally. But at least they are trying if the efforts are being looked from a distance with possiblities for future endevors.....maybe!

nathris
nathris

Microsoft is trying to establish itself in Japan because they have nowhere else to expand. The 360 has already conquered North America and Europe so the next logical step is Japan. They can't hope to dethrone Nintendo, but they can at least try and bring Sony to it's knees.

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

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beckit_beck
beckit_beck

i cant ever see the 360 selling well in the east

Samurai_Rocket
Samurai_Rocket

Xarcand, My guess is video game journalists and news sites like to keep tabs on the japanese market because it technically plays a huge role in the video game industry as a whole. Geographically it may not be the biggest country in the world, but their influence over the gaming industry is rather large. As far as Microsoft is concerned, it's more or less an untapped business opportunity that has yet to be utilized effectively. There are huge profit margins to be had if an american based developer manages to hook in a global audience.

Figcardi151
Figcardi151

If microsoft made an xbox version of Dragon quest swords: the masked queen and the tower of mirrors, Ganburu watashi no kakei diary, kirarin revolution, rockman zx advent or anything pokemon. Then and only then will microsoft stand a chance over there. Until them screw em. No use in even trying. Keep games like GOW, COD, GTA , Me and every other warm blooded american will be happy and fork out 60 bucks a pop.

PoisedYeti
PoisedYeti

japanese people probably don't want to buy an american product for the same reason they don't want to refeul american navy ships in the gulf, cause they hate america simply put what self respecting country doesn't think your a bunch of jerks now :) thats right, i brought politics into gaming culture

raghraghragh
raghraghragh

@Big_Jay_Mann: Isn't that a LITTLE obvious? Japanese people just don't want an American console anyway.

Big_Jay_Mann
Big_Jay_Mann

If Microsoft start to take over Asia with the xbox 360 overtime it will become the most dominant of the next-gens

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

Its been really rough with Microsoft and Japanese gamers but dispite of it they are still trying their hardest and hopefully it will succeed but all that is in due time. I have to also agree with Samural_Rocket, the differences are wide and in-between but dispite of it...it seems that gap is coming closer and together..i mean hell even Square_enix is seeing the potential for good JRPG on the 360 so there is hope after all. but MS shouldn't give up on the Japanese gamers i think they are seeing the 360 as well....its just one thing though.... PLEASE CHANGE THE ADVERTISMENT cause, "do, do, do" REALLY doesn't work...LOL i heard the theme for it....its not cool...LOL otehr than that...they are making some pretty good waves there now..so they shouldn't give up on them.

manapsal
manapsal

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Xarcand
Xarcand

Samurai_Rocket good comment.. But why does everyone talk about japan? We dont really need to hear about how the Xbox is doing in Japan unless we are employed with MS or live in the country.. so why?

Samurai_Rocket
Samurai_Rocket

Hopefully Microsoft doesn't throw in the towel with Japan. It's a great system in its own right, along with the other next gen consoles currently available, with the huge potential to create some incredible game experiences that both a western and eastern gaming audience can enjoy. But the fact of the matter is, the cutural differences between east and west divulge so greatly that the type of media they find over there may simply not be as entertaining to other countries... And Vice Versa. It's difficult trying to create games that an international audience can enjoy because of all of the variables involved with different cultures, beliefs, media and so on. For example, IDOLM@STER is one of the best selling 360 games in Japan, with huge profit gains from the japanese XBLive marketplace due to gamers constantly buying anything on the marketplace related to the game. But in America, a game like IDOLM@STER simply would not sell. At all. Likewise, in the western gaming audience we have games such as the Call of Duty series, Bioshock, Gears of War, Halo, GTA and so on. Most western audiences eat this stuff up and proclaim it as being some of the best games they've ever played. However in Japan, that genre simply doesn't have as much appeal. Another example are the visual novel and dating sim genres that populate both the PC and PS2 by droves. In fact, visual novels outnumber other PC games in Japan by 70%. But in America, the only visual novels and dating sims that are released here are of the X-rated variety, with little or no focus on the actual story. I think the biggest hurdle Next-Gen in general needs to overcome is to maintain the fine line between western and eastern audiences, and to create a game that everyone can truly enjoy regardless of cultural differences...

tootiejeans
tootiejeans

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tootiejeans
tootiejeans

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Mikhael-Valcrox
Mikhael-Valcrox

i think world is not in war,but imagine it folks,ALL of us together fight to conquer evil,and put aside ours grudges away,So think ...it will be good if all of us just forget about war and make it into the make,show the world that 2 wars has been evil to much ....Lets make BERSERK,Lets sing together ours nation songs and together build a better future that will dont have in past,Honor Ours father and granmps ...Lets Dream whit the Oblivion better and better,and dream they finally understand that we need japan and america together for this to game true

rebelross
rebelross

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flashn00b
flashn00b

Well, what they're gonna need to do to get Japan's attention is that they're probably gonna need a crapload of good anime-based games with high replay value.

-expletive-
-expletive-

um... is the time leading up to xmas even "shopping season" in japan? xmas is like a glorified valentines day at best...

searingSKITSO
searingSKITSO

idk y ne1 over there dosent likes the xbox? what does ps3 and the wii have that is so great? dont get me wrong, the wii rocks, but u still miss out on the live play. the ps3 is cool to but no games. what r these ppl playing over there that is so good that u dont even wana play GEARS, HALO, or R6V.... i know rainbow came out on the ps3. is it because it is an american product?

vass86
vass86

when it comes to consoles, they're just plain xenophobic. they need to get over it though or they will continue to miss out. i'm glad to hear microsoft aren't giving up so easy

gozyaj
gozyaj

Nah, its not gonna end like Xbox. At least they're doing something there for their games. In my opinion - in japan, they are less people who like western style games but it doesn't mean they really don't hook up the western style games. I am a versatile type of gamer, i played almost everything. but i played occationally... that means i belong to the cusual gamer world. hehehe.. In my experienced, I grow up where nintendo is the console before the PS, Xbox or the PC. I played almost japanese games for 8 years and dont even understand the language they have. 8 years imagine and I've manage to finish they're games, most of it. Well im trying to say that even though is japanese and even though is easy. The thing is you having fun with it. So this is a matter of people's choice or taste... a matter of what they like or love... what kind of genre. As long as you have fun.

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

The guy below is on fire - mostly agree with him but not on everything (without being specific). Still a great read and laugh though.

keyhunter
keyhunter

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flashn00b
flashn00b

I can only hope that the Xbox 360 doesn't become the next "Batsu Bako"

lamprey263
lamprey263

@McGregor - actually, Blue Dragon was released in Japan in December 2006, and Eternal Sonata since mid June 2007.