Xbox Japan chief: Microsoft "will succeed"

Takashi Sensui reconfirms his company's commitment to crack his country's game market; unveils new plans for Xbox Live.

TOYKO--Microsoft's Xbox 360 press conference in Tokyo today started out with a greeting speech from Takashi Sensui, the new general manager of Microsoft Japan's Xbox division. While it wasn't until the beginning of this month that Sensui replaced former manager Yoshihiro Maruyama, he is actually one of the oldest staff members working in the office. The 42-year-old, who holds an MBA from Columbia, joined Microsoft Japan in 2002 when the original Xbox launched in the country, and he has been working as the head of Xbox marketing since then. In 2005, he also began working as the head of Xbox content promotion.

Sensui started out the press conference with some strong words of confidence about the Xbox 360. "Since the launch of the original Xbox in 2002, there was one thing that we have consistently said: Microsoft will inevitably succeed in Japan['s gaming market]," said Sensui. "I believe that this year will be the stepping-stone to that success. The Xbox 360, which was released last December, is not just the only next-generation console available in the market, but it will also continue to be the best console for years to come. The Xbox 360 is a well-balanced console with high hardware capabilities. Furthermore, it is easy to exploit its capabilities to produce high-quality next-generation games."

"Xbox Live, which we have been operating since three years ago, has developed into a service that expands the user community for the Xbox 360," Sensui continued. "We plan to continuously make new additions to its capabilities. The Xbox 360 and Xbox Live will keep on evolving, and together, they will continue to be the best gaming platform."

As one example of how the Xbox 360 outperforms the other consoles, Sensui talked about Konami's baseball title, Pro Yakyuu Spririts 3. The game was simultaneously released today on the PlayStation 2 as well as the Xbox 360, but Sensui pointed out that it could only be enjoyed in high-definition on the Microsoft console. "When you play this game on the Xbox 360, it feels as though you're actually standing on the mound of a real baseball field, or sitting in the benches," said Sensui.

Sensui then showed off a photo of yesterday night's Xbox 360 promotion, where he threw the opening pitch at Tokyo Dome stadium where the Nippon Ham Fighters faced off the Daiei Hawks. He commented that the atmosphere of the dome was exactly like how it looked in Konami's game on the Xbox 360.

Sensui expressed his understanding that a high-end console is no good unless there are games. Using a slideshow, he explained that there has been 25 games released to date in Japan, and the lineup will grow to 40 games by the summer. By year's end, he expects the total number of available titles for the Xbox 360 to double, meaning there will be about 80 games available for Japanese consumers around Christmastime.

Aside from retail games, Microsoft Japan also has some specific plans for expansion of Xbox Live services. According to Sensui, 95 percent of Xbox Live users have taken advantage of the Xbox Live Marketplace since the console's launch on December 10, and there have been 520,000 downloads up to date. To further promote Xbox Live, Microsoft will begin distribution of a high-quality trailer for Tatsunoko Production's 40th anniversary commemoration anime film, Karas. The eight-minute trailer will be available for free download starting today. While the download will only be an opening animation, Microsoft plans on offering various other forms of entertainment content in the future.

Microsoft Japan is also beefing up its Xbox Live Arcade content. The company announced that Namco Bandai Games will be providing two of its classic 1981 hit arcade titles, Pac-Man and Galaga, as downloadable games for the service. Furthermore, Microsoft Japan also unveiled a list of new partners that have signed on as publishers for Xbox Live Arcade aside from Namco Bandai Games. SNK Playmore, Konami, Hudson, Yuke's, and D3 Publisher will also be providing games for the online service.

Near the end of the conference, Sensui reminded the press that Tetsuya Mizuguchi's long-awaited title, Ninety-Nine Nights, will finally be released on April 20. He showed off the game's packaging to assure everyone there will be no more delays in its release. The game was originally scheduled for January 12, but it was pushed back due to quality-improvement issues.

Sensui closed the conference by once again stressing that Microsoft is very serious about the Japanese market. "As Microsoft's worldwide Xbox division manager Peter Moore has said, Microsoft believes that it isn't a true success unless we succeed in the Japanese gaming market. We will be fully committed to the Japanese market," sand Sensui. "As everyone may know, the Xbox 360 has taken the European and American markets by storm. As the chief of Japan's Xbox division, it will be my duty to realize the same kind of success, here in Japan."

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Discussion

331 comments
Mike_Gold
Mike_Gold

Well, but Revo will just have another bunch of games for children, like a photo realistic mario or some other stupid titles like that. Anyway it's tottaly not my taste. Thats why I've sold my DS after one month. I've got PSP at the moment (100% satisfaction) and X360 which I consider as a Dreamcast 3. I've bought X360 only for new DoA and for Oblivion. I hope that one day they'll release Shenmue 3 on it and I'll be fully happy with this console. Probably we'll never see any good JRPGs on X360 (probably reason why this console won't sell in japan), but for this kind of games I'll buy PS3. It's as easy as that.

PsyMX
PsyMX

An optimistic little fellow if you ask me. Japanesse people are nacionalists. They despise M$ and mock their entry in the market. M$ should forget Japan and get the not-going-to-sale 360s back to America right now, but oh well! One think too! "When you play this game on the Xbox 360, it feels as though you're actually standing on the mound of a real baseball field, or sitting in the benches," Meh! Revo IS gonna feel like you

narmi819
narmi819

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

narmi819
narmi819

i see many titles that can peak japanese interest, so the 360 may succeed. theres already Dead or Alive, but soon theres ninety nine nights, blue dragon, FFXI, etc etc

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

nintendo owns japan when revolution comes theyll also own usa , more 3rd party support isthe key to success and revolution has it sonys been losing exclusivity left and right since ps2 launched ps3 is going to do the same

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

final fantAsy is no longer going to be exclusive to ps its already appeared on gbA gc and 360 soon revolution and ds

cluelesspunk
cluelesspunk

Is it just me, or does this guy from Microsoft seem sorta like the George W. Bush of video games? This guy's explanation of Xbox 360 sales in Japan is just like Dubya's explanation of bringing democracy to Iraq.

solidsoldier1
solidsoldier1

I hope that M$ doesnt fail in Japan. But if they do they still got Europe, North America, About 1/4 of asia. Ohh and Australia (they did well over there)

bobreturns
bobreturns

"I love anyone who has said "MS is just after my money," and especially the guy who said "down with Microsoft" afterwards. When was the last time Sony wasn't after your money? Oh right, that time they called you up personally and said "Hello, Fanboy, would you mind telling us exactly what you want? Oh, you want us to delay the PS3? Ok, anything for you. Hell, why don't we just give you a free one instead of you paying $1000, because we don't want your money." Perhaps you should return to our world, and realize that ALL companies want your money. Grow up, and stop getting mad at Bill Gates because he's rich beyond your wildest dreams. Oh and call me a Microsoft fanboy all you want, but I'm buying a Rev: PS3=expensive, and Microsoft left my Xbox to rot while they rushed into the next gen. Bring on an inexpensive console that brings more to the next gen than improved graphics." Vyse_The_Daring has a good point people say that nintendo want to make people happy by giving them a console but they too want to make money and that is it. He/She also comments on exactly what will make the revolution sell very well

bobreturns
bobreturns

the xbox 360 was released early to get a lead on the competition but microsoft haven't done much with that lead they have wasted the opportunity

kewell06
kewell06

haha....i don't think so.... because japanese people have appetite differing from westerner appetite.....

ThatMan07
ThatMan07

MS could drop the price tag on the 360 by $100 in November, and they should, especially if the PS3 starts off at $500....the XBOX 360 is $400 right now plus $50 for live and $20 for the play and charge kit, so the prices really aren't that different seeing how PS3 online will probably be free.

Anthriel
Anthriel

Nintendo has a serious opportunity to steal market share away from Sony in Japan. Microsoft however ... don't make me laugh. It could take decades until they manage to get a market share big enough to actually start making profits. And it would cost a lot of cash in the meantime. I suppose Microsoft is the one company which can afford to make such longtime investments, but as Nokia proved, if you are doomed from the beginning, it's sometimes better to not even try.

GTKyle5
GTKyle5

You guys do realize that baseball games in Japan is like the Madden series and NFL is to us.

Vyse_The_Daring
Vyse_The_Daring

I love anyone who has said "MS is just after my money," and especially the guy who said "down with Microsoft" afterwards. When was the last time Sony wasn't after your money? Oh right, that time they called you up personally and said "Hello, Fanboy, would you mind telling us exactly what you want? Oh, you want us to delay the PS3? Ok, anything for you. Hell, why don't we just give you a free one instead of you paying $1000, because we don't want your money." Perhaps you should return to our world, and realize that ALL companies want your money. Grow up, and stop getting mad at Bill Gates because he's rich beyond your wildest dreams. Oh and call me a Microsoft fanboy all you want, but I'm buying a Rev: PS3=expensive, and Microsoft left my Xbox to rot while they rushed into the next gen. Bring on an inexpensive console that brings more to the next gen than improved graphics.

pro_
pro_

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Pashton
Pashton

Microsoft should stop saying "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY" then and only then will it succeed!?!? Go Linux, Go PlayStation 3 Down with Microsoft.

k-diddy66
k-diddy66

sonys too strong in japan.microsoft have an immense amount of work to do if they want to compete

GaaraZanta
GaaraZanta

GaaraZanta xboxruler007 Ha, you say that MS is just wanting our money? How about Sony and Posted Apr 8, 2006 9:44 pm PT Nintendo, huh? God, you guys are all fanboys...ignorant fanboys. Even as a flaming xbox fanboy yourself you have to admit that microsoft is after our money. Plus you spelled MS without the $ sign, so you are either smarter Posted Apr 13, 2006 6:27 pm PT than you appear or just a MS fanboy, take you pick. After all what company isn't after our money.

GaaraZanta
GaaraZanta

xboxruler007 Ha, you say that MS is just wanting our money? How about Sony and Posted Apr 8, 2006 9:44 pm PT Nintendo, huh? God, you guys are all fanboys...ignorant fanboys. Even as a flaming xbox fanboy yourself you have to admit that microsoft is after our money. Plus you spelled MS without the $ sign, so you are either smarter than you appear or just a MS fanboy, take you pick.

ioioe
ioioe

I don't think they care about anyone...all they care about is cash...if they had a chace to kill sony they would..

diego_sc_1
diego_sc_1

Probably in Japan they still remember that microsoft also makes Windows. That's a very good reason not to buy anything with the MS logo on it.

VicMackey
VicMackey

Xbox was 3rd in the US? I always thought it was GC that died a sad death here. Maybe not fair to judge by the fact that my Xbox collection is probably 4 times the size of my GC collection and my PS2 library is even bigger than Xbox.

X_Box_Killer
X_Box_Killer

They should just give up, like everyone else said, they're NOT going to penetrate the Japanese market. Do American/European made games even sell well over there? Aside from Grand Theft Auto being a hit, I can't think of any game that I know of that sells well. They should also remember that no system until PS1 did well in all regions. (S)NES/(S)Fami dominated the Japanese and North American markets, while Sega Master and Genny reigned supreme in Europe and Aus. Something to think about. I hope that Square tries a new FF on the system, that would sell copies in the U.S and Japan putting 360 on the map. No it won't. The PS3 or Rev version would outsell it. If it was an exclusive, it would tank. Much like how Capcom's Resident Evil 0 and 1 on Cube didn't live up to expectations, despite the latter being utterly ****ing awesome. Zero was alright as well.

volumesoxxs
volumesoxxs

I hope that Square tries a new FF on the system, that would sell copies in the U.S and Japan putting 360 on the map.

SnowFarmer
SnowFarmer

The simple fact is that the 360 will end this generation in the same place as the Xbox did. Third behind the Rev and PS3 in Japan, and a distant 3rd at that. The real question that MS should be worried about is will they end up 3rd in the US as well. They look like they are concentrating too much on aq market they can't crack and not worried enough about maintaining their standing at home. The Rev is going to do better than the GC this gen. And with the Rev being the cheapest of the 3, Nintendo could become a strong contender for 1st or 2nd in the US market. MS is foolish for saying that they won't consider the 360 a success unless it does well in Japan. That thinking has blinded them to what could be a huge upset here at home.

X_Box_Killer
X_Box_Killer

lol. The XBox 360 is already dead in Japan. I mean the GBA and even the 10 year old PS1 were out-selling it not too long ago. If MS were smart, they'd modify the unsold Japanese consoles for the North American market. I can't imagine it'd be that hard seeing as we're on the same tv system as them.

Fantact
Fantact

Japan only wants wierd, complex and unconventional games anyway. Anything less complicated than rocket science gets the boot.

MagnusGman
MagnusGman

since its japan ill say gj, u be the underdog. If it was over here id say shut up bill gates, go back to yer home thats as big as New York

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

Sorry mhder, I wouldn't call PGR3, Burnout,GRAW, Oblivion,Condemned,COD2, and some other game titles crap.

mhder
mhder

One of the XBox's main selling points is Xbox Live. Japan doesn't many internet, especially broadband users. Most Japanese access the internet via Cell phones because it is a standard feature. So with the "live" feature not as compelling to them, is it a surprise it's not selling. I think Japanese gamers also prefer stylish graphics as opposed the realistic. So with the push on realism by MS, is it a surprise it's not selling? Finally, if the gaming market was taken over by one company, say microsoft as some people on this forum suggest, it would mean open season on bad games. Everyone needs competition. But then again, when MS screws up in the US, no one holds them accountable and keep waiting and buying.. So that might mean that MS could take over and develop nothing but crap and US buyers will rejoice.

bulldog7
bulldog7

Well, it'd take a miracle for Microsoft to be a real contender in Japan.

skylinedude05
skylinedude05

i hope they succeed in japan and take over the market.

masskilla334
masskilla334

wut is so important about japanese sales? y dont they sell it to china or something?

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

I want MS to succeed! It will make the console market more competitive, more quality games, and more variety for us gamers to choose from. It's a WIn, Win situation for us OR can't some of you dumb-a$$es see that!

ferrarimanf355
ferrarimanf355

I bookmarked this page so that when Ninety-Nine Nights and Blue Dragon make 2006 the Year of the 360 in Japan, I can come back and say, "TOLD YA SO!" :)

peterzhao333
peterzhao333

Microsoft... you will succed... in being kicked by Sony and Nintendo... Understood??

ChiefHunter1
ChiefHunter1

I already have a 360 but most of my friends don't and they want one. They need to bring the 360's from Japan here because they are GUARANTEED to sell here!

superkhy
superkhy

"Microsoft is on a mission. . . for money." well, why the hell ELSE would they do it? to bring peace to the middle east?? i wasn't aware other companies were investing in videogames for the sake of benefiting medicial research. god, i'm tired and bored of people ripping on Microsoft for making money. Bill Gates rock.

Kfoss
Kfoss

i want that soccerball hes holding!..

20Minutes
20Minutes

while i understand what they're TRYING to do (and will not be able to) i do think it makes a lot more sense to put some of those 360's here where there is a demand. money/business wise that makes more sense. put MORE in the area where people ARE buying and want a 360 instead of putting too many where people AREN'T buyting and DON'T want one. I'll just sit here and wait for the PS3 release. lol.

patton101
patton101

I agree that the 360 wont win in Japan, but does that mean they should just completely shut out the Japanese market? NO. And people still complain about a shortage of 360's here in America. I went to Wal-Mart last week and they had like 10 of em. They are everywhere now in my city. So quit the cry babying.

foxhound421
foxhound421

PS3+Rev=disaster for the 360 in Japan. MS is fooling themselves.

karzon89
karzon89

"Microsoft... succeed... in Japan? How many oxymorons can you spot?"---------- I can see two!

joeinverted
joeinverted

A lot of people still don't seem to see the bigger picture. Microsoft, as far as I know, hasn't made any crazy claims of dominating the Japanese market with this latest generation. They see this as an ongoing battle to slowly win over gamers in that region. Will it happen tomorrow? No. After a few years of putting out exclusive content catered to Japanese tastes, will they have made a small, but respectable, dent? It's not impossible. In fact it's quite likely, if they keep at it. They're slowly making in-roads with Japanese developers. If the right developers are on board, it's only a matter of time before the gamers follow. The generation after 360/PS3/Revolution, I would be surprised if MS didn't have at least 25 percent of the Japanese console market. At any rate, they're not going to just give up on that market.

Higamason
Higamason

Stupidness, it'll never work.