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Microsoft admits slow start for Xbox 360 in Japan

Company hopes to revitalize sales with releases of new games; hints unannounced titles to be revealed before E3.


Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been off to a slow start in Japan since its debut on December 10. According to figures from Famitsu, the console sold 62,135 units in its first two days, but only 107,800 units as of January 15. In comparison, the original Xbox reportedly sold 123,929 units in its first three days.

In an interview published in the latest issue of Famitsu, Microsoft Japan Xbox operations chief Yoshihiro Maruyama admitted that the Xbox 360's sales were lower than expectations, but that Microsoft aims to make a comeback with new titles targeted towards Japanese consumers.

"It was a lot more difficult than we had imagined. We couldn't prepare the launch titles that we had promised, and it made an impact," said Maruyama. He went on to explain that the development tools were late for release, and Microsoft will need to strengthen its support toward software makers in the future.

"We also received some criticisms toward our promotions, saying that people don't understand what high definition is. The Xbox 360's main appeal is high definition, but we couldn't successfully convey it [to the general public]," added Maruyama. The Xbox chief explained that Microsoft is still new to the game market and is missing many of the strengths that other more established first party manufacturers have, such as a wide library of well-known game titles, and the faith of consumers that popular games will come out in the future, even if there aren't any titles at launch.

Despite the slow launch, Maruyama says that Microsoft Japan will stay the course. The company will continuously release games that are targeted toward Japanese consumers, which Microsoft believes will help greatly. Maruyama said that Microsoft Japan has more titles than just Ninety-Nine Nights and Blue Dragon in the works, and hinted that they might be announced just before E3.

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