TGS 2008: Microsoft's Schappert soldiers on in Japan

Despite the Xbox 360's limited success, corporate VP and Xbox Live chief says sales are increasing in the "very important" market.

Microsoft may have experienced significant success with the 360 in Western markets, but Japan continues to be a tough market to crack. Despite being in the country for two years and winning the support of several high-profile Japanese developers, the 360 often lags behind the Nintendo Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 in sales.

But things are looking up for the 360, according to John Schappert, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Live, software and studios. During a roundtable press briefing at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show, Schappert extolled the recent success of the 360 in the Japanese market, success which has directly stemmed from its recent price drop which made the 360 the cheapest current-gen console on the market.

"Frankly our biggest challenge right now is hardware availability. We've done so well that we are actually at a sold out situation in Japan. But we have more on the way every week," he told a group of reporters.

Schappert says Microsoft is still aiming to have a 1 million console installed base in Japan, but declined to give a firm target on when the company is hoping to achieve that. And when quizzed on whether all the time, effort, and money spent on wooing both Japanese consumers and developers has been worthwhile, Schappert was unequivocal in his response.

"Undoubtedly. I think what you see in Japan right now is the fruits of the labour of eight years' worth of cultivating relationships, forming those bonds, and working with these publishers. What they're happy about is that they've got a platform with the 360 that has great development tools at an affordable price point which allows them to go to the masses. So Japan is very important not only as a territory, but because of the games that come out of Japan," he said.

Schappert headed Microsoft's TGS keynote speech yesterday, unveiling the news that Tekken 6 was going multiplatform, fixing a date on the launch of the new Xbox Live, and confirming the existence of Halo 3: Recon. On the latter, Schappert would not be drawn on giving any more details on the newest adventure in the Halo universe, other than to say that it was indeed a stand-alone game and not simply a Halo 3 expansion.

Check out GameSpot's 2008 Tokyo Game Show page for more information.

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Discussion

32 comments
godzillavskong
godzillavskong

I agree swamptick. Glad to see they are pushing to get a piece of that market.Although I think whichever console is the most popular in North America and Europe will eventually steal out the #1 next-gen crown.These 3 heavyweights have been going at it for a while and it doesn't seem like either company is showing signs of giving up. I for one am glad to see a American company in the video game industry.

swamptick
swamptick

Good to see the American system gaining steam in Japan. It's also good to see the Japanese market shedding some of it's xenophobia. Traditionally, American electronics (outside of PCs) don't do well in Japan due to their natural disdain for American products. It's cool to see them shedding some of that pointless bias.

Trajectorize
Trajectorize

SR71halo: "okassar, I think it's "Blue Dragon" that you're thinking of." ========================= It's Tales of Vesperia. Blue Dragon was a long time ago and did not help X360 sales in Japan much.

DeltaSpirit
DeltaSpirit

Kanye West: Japan doesn't care about the Xbox 360 Mike Myers: >.> 0.0

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

The xbox360 will never sell more in japan than ps3

zacattack214
zacattack214

Gamespot is so bias. Seriously, I want to see you guys make a console and sell it as well as the 360 has.

CureForLiving
CureForLiving

"Undoubtedly. I think what you see in Japan right now is the fruits of the labour of eight years' worth of cultivating relationships, forming those bonds, and working with these publishers" --- And here I though it was because MS brought all them exclusives titles, payed for all that exclusive DLC and had to cut the price of the xbox, making it the cheapest console this generation. All to gain a slight advantage in the Japanese sales charts. Oh well even if you ignore the self promotion (and blatant lies) xbox is doing better in Japan. Guess this means I'll just be buying more JRPGs for my xbox then for my ps.

XanderZane
XanderZane

When the 360 ACTUALLY sells 1,000,000 in Japan, then talk to me ****************************************** When the PS3 actually passes the Wii in hardware and software sales in Japan, then we can talk. M$ is just trying to have a presence in Japan and sell more 360s then they did XBox's. Looks like they will achieve that goal and that's all the matters.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Just from that video I think recon looks sweet

xbriggs
xbriggs

recon will be sweet. here's hoping.

Antagonist8503
Antagonist8503

One of the main reasons why the 360 isn't doing so well in Japan is because those people like privacy. I don't see too many of them playing FPS games while talking to each other through live. Some Japanese developers said so themselves. Most of the them seem to be shy or somesort or just really really humble. Guess that goes with the culture. 2008 Fiscal year doesn't end till around feb or march 2009. So anything can still happen. Maybe the Wii will top sells again, or maybe the 360 will finally do well in Japan or maybe the PS3 exclusives might push the system ahead. Guess we'll just have to see...

allotheabove123
allotheabove123

im glad H3 recon is another game and not just an add on

SR71halo
SR71halo

okassar, I think it's "Blue Dragon" that you're thinking of.

dkdk999
dkdk999

pfft!!! console gameing!? um no i dont think so. if your talking about handheilds then sure in japan but not in us or europe. If you ment pc gaming then i wish it was doing well but it doesnt seem that way to me.

gnbfd
gnbfd

When the 360 ACTUALLY sells 1,000,000 in Japan, then talk to me

okassar
okassar

Man some of these PS3 fanboys just don't get it.The 360 would be selling better in Japan if the Japanese bought more international products...but the thing is,THEY DON'T!!!If you were Japanese,you would by default figure "hey,they're making game systems in our country,HURRAH,buy 'em up".Microsoft is trying to change that by APPEALING to the Japanese in getting Japanese developers to work for them,which really has been increasing the 360's sales in Japan so far--I forgot what game it was,but in August this one game developed by some Japanese dude sold the 360 out everywhere there--definitely making some progress.When FF XIII comes out,that'll do a lot for MS too,it probably already is because obviously everyone knows FF XIII is coming to the 360 now.

ronnet
ronnet

Microsoft is making those famous playstation exclusives multiplatform, they almost own the JRPG genre with all the excluvies and new multiplats. So at some point the Japanese will realize that 360 is a possibility. Ofcourse there will always be more Japanse that are loyal to Sony/Nintendo, but were seeing the same thing with Americans and their 360.

code305
code305

360 is finally doing good in Jaoan

king_bobo
king_bobo

Halo 3: Recon is a standalone game? I'm surprised, but this is great news. It could mean that it expands on the Halo multiplayer that we all love...

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

Until the casual Japanese gamer learns to embrace the F.P.S and online gamelpay; the 360 unfortunately won't out sell the P.S.3 in the far east.. Personally I think that within the next two years Japan will enter a craze concerning F.P.S titles.. Then our Japanese friends will be falling over one another to get hold of the 360.

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

You all fail to realise that Microsoft made it's cash back a year ago with the massive sales of Halo3, Gears of War, and Mass Effect. All 3 games gave Microsoft it's cash back that it lost on the Xbox360, and Xbox. So you all keep liveing in you fanboy world where your system is best. Those Nintendo figures don't tell you how many of those consoles were resold. In fact my local GameStop, and BestBuy say that for every Wii/DS they sell 4 come back and are resold per week. IE people buy them then give them up for better systems. IE PSP/Xbox360.

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

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

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

Well regardless of the writers obvoius PS3 fanboyish roots. Lack of noteing that the PS3 has been outsold 3 times in 3 months. First in September of this year, then this month in October, and it looks agian to do it in November this year as well. The quality of games on the Xbox360 is much better then on the Wii and PS3. The PS3 dev kit price tag is outragously high, over the $10,000.00 mark. While Microsoft just gives out their dev kit for free, and only asks that you support it's online system in return. Microsoft is all about developers. Nintendo seem to only care about hardware sales, (as these NPD nut jobs do here at GameStop) Microsoft is not loosing as much cash as you all think. They have made more then their fair share back in software sales. Halo3 when it launched sold 1million copies in Pre-orders alone, and another 1million in day one sales. Gears of War sold 1million in day one sales. Like Wise Mass Effect sold 45,000 in day one sales. No other company not even HOLLYWOOD can match those numbers. They may have movies that make half that much in ticket sales opening night, but they even can't compete with the software sales of the Xbox360. Over all Microsoft has made up for it's losses and reported last year it's first profit that was over a staggering 32million mark. They are in the Giness book of world records with XBL in that a new member joins every 5 seconds. If Nintendo keeps up their slugish pushing of units to retail stores, and Sony keeps loosing their shirt on the PS3 then Microsoft is the clear winner. BTW: those numbers where in units sold not cash made. IE each of those games had a starting price point of $59.99 So do the math that well over 43billion in sales for 2 years profit for Microsoft they only lost 12 billion on the Xbox360, and 4 billion on the Xbox.

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

I've had all 3 consoles until recently. The lack of good games on any console is quite lame imo. No mmo's or good Rpgs on any system. Maybe next gen will offer more..until then Pc ftw.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

As long as they keep getting great games from Japanese developers, I careless of the japanese user base, it's their loss. Somebody tell J consumers to stick their head out of the sand, and stop buying so many different versions of the Nintendo DS.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

Well, enoslives7, remember the 360 has had times when its outsold the PS3 too. I think if they can just get a decent (profitable) niche there, that'll be fine. Lord knows the Japanese support systems the western markets consider dead for years after the system was officially buried.

enoslives7
enoslives7

Talk about putting perfume on a pig !!! "the 360 often lags behind the Nintendo Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 in sales" is the understatement of the century! Heck the PS2 still outsells the xbox360. microsoft has been getting crushed in japan ever since they tried to push the 1st xbox on japan. microsoft really needs to give up on japan....it is hopeless. They cant continue to lose billions.

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

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