FF X-2 launched in Japan

GameSpot was on hand for the release of Square's new Final Fantasy game in Japan.

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Tokyo - Final Fantasy X-2 has been released in Japan. In the popular electronics store Yodobashi Camera, lines were already forming as early as 6am, while the rest of the town was completely empty. Yodobashi and a number of other shops opened around 6:00am-6:30am to service fans before the start of the workday and for hard-core fans eager to get a copy as soon as possible. Yodobashi Camera's competitor, Sofmap, which was scheduled to open at its normal time, did not have as many people in line in the early morning. Only one customer could be spotted in this well-known shop located in Shinjuku.

Square hosted its opening ceremony for Final Fantasy X-2 in Shibuya, the mecca for new Japanese trends. This is the same district where Microsoft had its Japanese launch ceremony for the Xbox, so the area is widely seen as a promotion tool for appealing to a much broader audience as well as hard-core gamers.

Incidentally, both companies also held their ceremonies in the same shop, Tsutaya, which looks like a gigantic monolith and stands out from the rest of the buildings in the area. Tsutaya's line, in contrast to all the other shops, was tremendous. The customers lined up from the beginning of the shop all the way to the end and curved around the building, with small gaps providing entrances to other shops. Inside the building, the old and new presidents of Square greeted the first customer, who had been in line since midnight , as well as the second customer, who had been there since 2am.

One well-known shop, Bic Camera, strived to get customers in the same area where Square hosted its ceremonies. A number of employees wearing shirts in the company's color were shouting out to pedestrians, handing out leaflets, and advertising with poster boards. But despite all the effort, Bic Camera did not seem to receive a single customer.

Either because shoppers are getting smart or FFX-2 isn't as big as some other games, it seems that shoppers are beginning to refuse to line up in stores unless there are particular reasons for doing so. Another reason shoppers don't line up as they did a few years back is that convenience stores have begun to sell video games. The convenience stores know that major game titles are a good source of income, so they put their efforts into promoting sales by adding convenience-store-only bonuses and running major national advertisements on TV. For the consumers, purchasing from convenience stores means that they can buy games anytime they want, without the hassle of traveling to a faraway shop, and in Japan, where there is a convenience store in just about any two-block area, that strongly affects the sales of contemporary stores.

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