Xbox 360 launches in Japan

[UPDATE] Next-gen console sells out in half an hour at event location--full premiere party coverage with photos inside.


TOKYO--The Shibuya Tsutaya Shopping Center has always been a popular location for game companies to launch a new product. It's where Microsoft unveiled its original Xbox to the Japanese in February 2002. The company decided to use the same location for today's Japanese Xbox 360 launch ceremony. The center is located at an intersection right outside the Shibuya train station, which is one of the famous landmarks in Tokyo.

Gamers planning to buy an Xbox 360 at Shibuya Tsutaya didn't have to worry about lining up early, as the store gave out numbered tickets to ensure order. Nonetheless, there were already more than 80 people lined up outside in the cold an hour before the console went on sale at 7 a.m.

An additional crowd of curious pedestrians also gathered around the building, wondering what all the fuss was about. Some of the attendees from the previous night's countdown party at the Xbox 360 Lounge were also on hand. The number of customers at the Shibuya Tsutaya event eventually totaled 250, according to Microsoft.

The Shibuya Tsutaya Xbox 360 launch event was hosted by Hisanori Yoshida, a famous DJ from the Nippon Broadcasting radio station. Yoshida, an owner of the original Xbox, expressed his excitement over the launch of the Xbox 360. He also confessed that he couldn't stop playing Halo 2 the previous night, when he should have been resting for his big job this morning.

Fired up by Yoshida, the crowd went wild when Yoshihiro Maruyama, Microsoft Japan's Xbox operations chief, came up on stage. "Thank you all for coming so early to the countdown ceremony today," said Maruyama. "We've finally been able to make our way to the Xbox 360's launch here in Japan. We've all been doing our best to respond to everyone's expectations, and we're finally going to be able to deliver it today. We're anxious to see if everyone will enjoy it."

When asked by Yoshida about his own gaming tastes, Maruyama revealed that he likes racing games. "I've played a lot of Ridge Racer 6," said Maruyama. "I keep on racing the courses in time trial mode to see if I can score below one minute. It takes me a while to get used to racing games. I try to memorize the courses and figure out where to drift."

Maruyama also recommended another racing game. "Microsoft will release Project Gotham 3 in January [in Japan]," he told the crowd. "I think we've already said it before, but it re-creates cities like Shinjuku [in Tokyo], Las Vegas, London, and New York, in a very realistic fashion. You can really check out the billboards and other objects as you drive around. I've rode around the city of Shinjuku a lot [in the game], and I could see the pubs and stores that I go to, which is pretty cool."

After Maruyama finished his speech, Microsoft corporate vice president of worldwide marketing and publishing Peter Moore (who also had stopped by the Xbox party last night) came up on stage. He received a huge cheer from the fans at the Shibuya Tsutaya after telling them "Ohayougozaimasu!"--"good morning" in Japanese.

He then continued in English. "Thank you for getting up so early in the morning here to welcome the new era of gaming with the Xbox 360," he said through a translator. "On November 22, just a few weeks ago, we were very proud to introduce the Xbox 360 into the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people were able to buy the console that night and have been playing great games ever since." said Moore, who went on to explain that the console has also been a big hit in Europe.

"But as exciting as those two events were, nothing is more exciting for me personally than to be here in Tokyo this morning, with seven minutes to go to the launch of Xbox 360 here in Japan," continued Moore, who has been committed to penetrating the Japanese game market, where the original Xbox never gained major popularity.

"I want to give my thanks to the hundreds of people who work at Microsoft here in Tokyo that have labored the last two and a half [to] three years to enable us to get here," Moore said. "And perhaps equally as importantly, my thanks to the fans of the Xbox here in Japan, who have been so loyal to us though our difficult times in the first generation. Your loyalty will pay off with incredible gaming experiences in the next generation."

After Moore finished his speech, a large high-definition monitor on the stage began counting down the last remaining six minutes--360 seconds--until the opening of the store. Then the anxious customer waiting in line to purchase the first official Xbox 360 in Japan was pulled on stage. The customer, a 22-year-old graphic designer, had come to the Shibuya Tsutaya on Thursday morning but was turned away because the numbered tickets for the event were not yet being handed out. Today, he got in line at 4 a.m., long before trains begin to run in Tokyo. Fortunately, he works in the area, so he decided to spend the night at his office.

Surprisingly, the first customer revealed that, despite his eagerness to pick up an Xbox 360, he doesn't own a current-generation Xbox. "I'm especially looking forward to the graphics," he said. "I heard that the visuals will be extremely beautiful with the shift to high definition. I really got interested in the Xbox 360 after I checked it out at the [Xbox 360] Lounge."

When asked by host Yoshida if he'll be playing with his girlfriend, the customer quietly mumbled and dodged the question. Later on, Moore teased him, saying, "I'd like to tell our lucky winner that he's guaranteed a girlfriend with every Xbox 360."

During the last 60 seconds of the Xbox 360 countdown, a short video played where various people, including game developers, shouted the console's name. When the clock struck zero, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates appeared onscreen to holler "Xbox 360!" in Japanese. He did not, however, appear at the event in person as some had hoped.

From a purely retail perspective, the event was a resounding success. Half an hour after the launch began, all the Xbox 360 consoles at Shibuya Tsutaya were sold out. There wasn't even a unit left for Moore and Maruyama to pose with for press photographs.

Following the lighthearted ceremony, the two Microsoft execs got serious, issuing some stern comments about their company's competitors. "History tells us that no great empire lasts forever," said Moore. "In the case of the Sony PlayStation, obviously it has been a great empire. But when a superior culture comes along, typically it means the end of that empire. We believe that the superior culture is the Xbox 360 games experience, particularly the Xbox Live experience, which will bring communities from around the world together through gaming."

Moore also said he believes that the Xbox 360 will help Microsoft become a leader in the Japanese game market. "The most important thing is that we have the support of every major Japanese publisher…and I'm very proud that we're able to get that support from the Japanese development community."

Moore concluded with even grander statements. "This is not a sprint. This is a marathon. Life cycles of consoles last for many years, and it's now a global business. We're the first company in the world to launch globally in the United States, Europe, and then Japan in 18 days. We think that gives us phenomenal momentum against our competition. We're very optimistic about our numbers. Obviously on a long-term basis, it's our goal to drive towards complete market leadership around the world."

Maruyama talked more about the current status of the Xbox 360 in Japan and revealed that some additional surprises should be waiting during the remaining few weeks of 2005.

"As you may all know, we've had an uphill battle with our current-generation platform," conceded Maruyama. "Our approach this time is to consistently provide good titles to the Japanese users and make everyone acknowledge that the Xbox 360 is different. We believe that doing so will make our business flourish. We see Sony as a rival, but we think that the most important thing is to deliver [good] entertainment."

"We've already said that six titles are being released today, and four additional titles are coming out within the year," continued Maruyama. "During the year, we'll also announce several new titles that are being developed for the Xbox 360. We will also release details on a number of other games that are already announced, especially Blue Dragon, which is being developed under Microsoft. We should be able to show off some new footage."

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Avatar image for JAREDJR

Neat! The 360 should do better this generation in Japan....

Avatar image for Cloud737

"History tells us that no great empire lasts forever." Does this also apply to the PC OS market where M$ is king for almost 10 years?

Avatar image for Havoc19


Avatar image for Cronaroth

Funny how everyone calls selling out in one store in a country that without a doubt has more than one store a success-im not a sony fanboy-the truth is that this is marketing at its finest and the Japanese are NOTORIOUS for buying into big marketing-like this-the best selling models of xboxes were all the limited edition ones-you know why they made so many of them over there-to get them sold-Japan LOVES limited edition. I have both Xbox and PS2 but in reality observing both- I see more of the same happening to MS that happened this round-sorry but unless MS is suddenly no longer a non-japanese company-they arent gonna do well over there-plain and simple.

Avatar image for blacktwister

Good for MS bad for Japan. Tough Market indeed.

Avatar image for SHADOWSTRYK3R

Since the Japan isn't sold out of Xbox 360s, why don't take some over to the UK and US?! We need them!

Avatar image for MegaBeau

Nintendo DS - 299,328 [2,754,777] units PSP - 86,403 [1,858,048] units PlayStation 2 - 45,893 [1,737,383] units Xbox 360 - 43,970 units GameCube - 12,212 [206,106] units GameBoy Advance SP - 10,456 [625,403] units GameBoy Micro - 8,326 [370,161] units GameBoy Advance - 396 [23,638] units Xbox - 164 [11,961] units

Avatar image for crokis


Avatar image for mickel_darmawan

Is it?? (^^) !! Then why you sounded so desperate?? HA HA HA!! (^^) !! Well we just play wait & see about that!! (^^) !!

Avatar image for selphie8

Amen to that Haklong, Amen to that..

Avatar image for IChangedMyName

hahaha, wow abel, so sad how i inderstood that but the forum doesnt know german so words arnt blanlked out, LoL, well sum more news newly discovered for ya PS3 fans, sony has pulled one over on you guys as well, im a lil pist off now, so heres whats planned with PS3, ok, games are gonna be priced from 70-80 bux and the console itself is of course 599, but get this, now they made the PS3 so u cant play games!..... now wait iz not like it seems u can play games, but.... only on the 1st PS3 it was played on, i guess sony doesnt wants itz ppl 2 sell them, meaning we wont be getting used PS3 games. so 80 bux game, u betta know what ur in for b/c i show as hell am not play'n killzone 2 and having it suck, now th q-tion iz, does this make a stand on the nex gen war consiting of of X360 and PS3? since nintendo doesnt conisder themselves in a "war" then who outta the 2 clearly have an upperhand with that knowledge known? oh an abel no i dont if that answers ur disgusting q-tion......and i hope u feel smart for typing in german and mispelling sum of the words u idiot LoL...Specailly b/c im fluent in Italian,German and French...... Condom Slaps and hit the tip of ur dick hahaha, LONG LIVE SEGA!! MUAHAHHA..... Im Done

Avatar image for paulitzothemonk

so can you get away with saying curse words in german in these forms? well, my ESEL!!!!!!

Avatar image for paulitzothemonk


Avatar image for mike4realz

it would be awsomely cool if Microsoft dropped it's price for 360 once Sony launches PS3

Avatar image for abelmaestro

hey changed my name .du bist schwull ich haasseee slampen wie du du verdammte schwein deine mutter ist eine hure und du leck mein arsch schei

Avatar image for mickel_darmawan

I'm still goes to PS3!! But, like to see about the PlayStation Live, just like you said, it will be interesting, maybe we can download free Movies, or Musics from SONY's huge library, that will be awesome!! (^^) !! Yeah, I know what are your games, Halo, Doom, Quake, Serious Sam, CoD, MoH, FSW, etc ...., and MADDEN, ofcourse, sorry.

Avatar image for mp5b

i love LIVE, its the the greatest thing ever, even though ps3 will be online, it wont be centraly organized ike XBOX LIVE is. if ps3 comes out with PLAYSTATION LIVE and its an organizzed like XBOX LIVE is,it all about the quality of games from there on in. If you ask though, XBOX had way better games than PS2, and im not talkin just about Halo. I have a ps2, xbox and a xbox 360, i had ps2 first, after i got my xbox 2 years ago its just been collecting dust. xbox360 market place is also amazing (already lots of stuff, but still needs more demos, movie trailers and music concert stuff).

Avatar image for dillon_o4

YAY THEY GOT THEM, and they all went on sale on e-bay shortly after

Avatar image for jbling0313

I just want to take this time to say that Sony rocks and Microsoft sucks. thank you

Avatar image for mickel_darmawan

I don't care, SONY rule!! Did you meant Pearl Harbor??

Avatar image for ufopuller

It would Hiroshima (of the head) all over again

Avatar image for IChangedMyName

not as much fun with out Xbox live :P any1 whos has 360 know what that means...... Sony wont lose, iz 2 early 2 tell who has the upper hand, but for you 2 say X360 has crappy games, iono where u get that from, u german shaiza idiot. u must not pay close attention or at least ur a blindsided fanboy who jes terrorizes forums, Condemmed iz awsome, Tony Hawk iz better then iz current gen crap, the only game on X360 i see as crap right as of now iz Gun, b/c the devolpers did nothing what so ever 2 change it, it iz a port of the current gen,other wise there no bad title out, King Kong iz hella fun :) and ridge racer iz beatiful, though i reall wanna MGS game, soooo.... still 2 early 2 tell, but my money iz with MS b/c halo still hasnt been leaked and Fable 2 iz a given also i heard Brute Force iz making a fantastic return compared 2 iz crappy begining

Avatar image for mickel_darmawan

And, I'm sure of it, yeah just take your time (SONY), no need to rush, we still having fun with the PS2!!

Avatar image for pipohathout

waiting for the ps3 to come take your time sony you`ll beat them all :p

Avatar image for FFdawg

Why are there fanboys everywhere? XB360 will have its ups and downs so will PS3. ...There will be, ups and downs, smiles and frowns... Okay PDZ, Kameo and PGR3 may be exclusive. But PS3 has its share of awesome exclusives. Whoever wants a 360 go get it. Whoevers patiently waiting for a PS3 has one hell of an advantage though. If indeed the PS3 indeed sucks like the XB Fanboys claim, then ppl who were gonna buy a PS3 can buy a 360 at a lower price and they have many more games to choose from. I, for one, am just waiting for the PS3 to come out so i can compare it with the 360. I most probably will get a PS3. (I flipped after i saw the current prototype in black... aah) But in the meantime, PS3 and XB360 fanboys stop fighting like immature brats. Neither Sony or Microsoft are paying you for it. BTW KompressorV12, im lookin forward to the Boomerang controller if they keep it. Is that a crime?

Avatar image for mickel_darmawan

Kameo is for the children at age of 15. PGR3?? I choose Burn Out 3 instead. CoD 2?? I will play it on my PC, that's it. (^^) !! I don't have to buy that 360. If Sony want to release their systems on next year, or maybe a couple more month later, I don't care, I'm still enjoying my PS2 with the TEKKEN, Dragon Quest, and the FF series!! (^^) !!

Avatar image for garrysutherland

If that is the case you are missing out on at least 3 fantastic games in the meantime: PDZ, Kameo and PGR3 are all amazing, and 360 exclusives as far as I can tell. If your PC is powerful enough however you will get COD2, which is the best of the launch titles in my view. Don't belive the spring next year rubbish - there is not much chance of Sony getting the hardware on the shelves until at least the fall, and as has been pointed out earlier in this rather lengthy string, there aint any real in game footage of any decent software on show - the development cycle for next gen games is very lengthy. In particular I would refer to the PS3 Metal Gear video demo: do you recall how long it took for MGS 2 to finally arrive after the playable demo was available for the PS2? We won't be able to buy the new game until 2007. Do youreslf a favour and pick up a 360 with second hand copies of the three games I mentioned above in spring when they are readily available and probably cheaper. You won't be disappointed.

Avatar image for MEDA

I'm going to keep playing my PC and PS2 game and when the PS3 comes out, that's when I'm going to buy a new console.

Avatar image for mickel_darmawan

I absolutely goes with you man!! ha ha ha!! (^^) !!

Avatar image for abelmaestro

f MS and F XBOX oh,and its not only in japan were XBOX = CRAP dosen

Avatar image for KompressorV12

the people that think PS3 is coming out in spring are fooling themselves, I want to see the look on their faces when may comes around and the only information you have on PS3 is that they are keeping the boomarang, leaving the size as is, bigger than the xbox360 and even the original xbox and keeping their AMAZING online service :) anyone find it funny how sony tries to push technology that never makes in the world? how much longer do you think UMD movies will be around? I'll keep my $800 and wait until PS3 can actually prove something

Avatar image for IChangedMyName

ya know, i feel us ashjohnson, but the thing is PS3 and 360 are very eqaul in power, the difference iz PS3 is pullin a PSP on us, well u buy a 500 dollar console(which is the price for the PS3, according to my companys computers) and well, has any1 seen the price of 360 games? 60 bux right, iz that alot? yes, well PS3 games will retail at 60 2 80 bux so when u look at it, the consoles ar very much alike, they each have the 1 or 2 unique attributes but then, why would u pay for jes the name "Sony"? well i dun care im get''n all 3 nex gens, i jes wish we had left over 360's in the U.S. b/c here the 360 iz like crack candy and 2 hear from fellow posters japan has Sh*t loads left make me hella mad that MS would betray iz own country jes for power of global devolopers.... ~shakes fist angerily~ we had 2 have security walk us 2 our cars after u sent us 30 units u bastard Bill Gates! and we still have 149 reservations paid in full and havent gotten any in since then......

Avatar image for ashjohnson

Its not that amazing that ms sold out just 250. The psp and and ds crowds were much larger and ps3 launch will be much larger than that as well. However there are very few hardcore xbox fans in japan and only a few of them would wait in the morning to get a 360. But i know that there were a lot of pre-orders as well so there wan't any reason to wait at the launch hq at 6:30am or whatever. Also the xbox 360 is NEXT-GENERATION and does not play like the original xbox now and certainly wont in the future. Developers haven't yet tapped into the true power of the 360 which at least 10 times more powerfull(at least) then the xbox. The ps3 will is more powerfull than the 360 but 360 has launched much earlier than the ps3 will. This means the ps3 launch games will not look significantly better than the next wave of 360 games. Also buy a hd tv folks (even though i dont have one).

Avatar image for FFdawg

Since everything is so off-topic here id just like to add something completely random. Whatever happened to Psi-Ops

Avatar image for JoeKing9mm

getting japanese developer support means better games for xbox fans...Im all for global expansion!

Avatar image for copper59

I'm a bit disappointed the 360 was so difficult to get this Christmas but it won't stop me from getting one in the new year along with a ps3 and a revolution when they come out .All the systems have their strengths as well as weaknesses,I'll enjoy them all.

Avatar image for Towly

before the 360 launch in the US i didn't care about all this hype talk but seeing that it is Dec 13 and i still dont have a 360 i just want to tell MS to stop hyping a counsol they can't provide ps im geting a ps3 and a revolution but to those of you who cant afford it good luck do your research and dont be a fanboy

Avatar image for XenonHID_VQ

360 did well at the launch event, but from what i'm reading, the remaining 360 consoles didn't sell to well at the other electronic stores...

Avatar image for chrisdojo

what's with those green balls in the oversized gumball machine? they must be important since there is a guard watching over them....

Avatar image for jaefrmbk2k


Avatar image for jaefrmbk2k

so i guess the US is snotty cuz we don't want to buy N-Gage's...but i feel your pain and i agree M$ should be targeting like India and definately like Africa where baby-makin' is like a hobby

Avatar image for patamon93_basic

friggin i dislike the "snottiness" of the japanese market... they are so critical of things. i mean if you look at the number break down of currrent console sales. they have all sold way more in the U.S., Japan isn't that important, so don't understand why its such a big deal to sell well there, if anything you want to sell well in Chins( mad people).

Avatar image for jaefrmbk2k

and my mom is totally hot

Avatar image for jaefrmbk2k

i love PS3 more than my mom

Avatar image for curry684

At whoever suggested that Sony is learning from the "mistakes of the Xbox 360": you'd better hope they don't. You cannot change a product of this size in 3 months. Designing a CPU or GPU costs 3 years and billions of dollars. Sony cannot change anything even if they wanted to. And if they want to make spring release (which would be april?) they need to start producing units in january at the latest to get a decent supply available or they'll have less on launch day in Japan than MS had in the US. It's too late for changes now. On another note, saying that Xbox Live is inferior to every developer providing his own half-ass implementation is just plain stupid. Think before you write.

Avatar image for TrueIori

The only reason i did not get the 360 was becasue they delayed ghost recon and Elders scroll. Btw saying that the Ps3 will have better online service than 360 it just stupid. I rather pay 6 bucks to play every game than paying $6 for one game $17 for other and so on.

Avatar image for whirlwik88

Hey right now the xbox is selling very poorly because they oushed back the launch dates of their premier Japanese titles like DOA 4. But in all honestly it wont make that big of a difference. Also there are a few things you have to remember. May 2006 Sony PS3 will be released in Japan first, allowing all the bugs and glitches of the hardware to be worked out. Then when it launches here it will just leap and bound over Xbox 360. By the way Sony also stated Famitsu magazing that they will NOT BE HAVING A CENTRALIZED ONLINE COMPONENT, BUT RATHER LEAVE IT UP TO INDIVIDUAL PUBLISHERS. Its not that bad of an idead becasue you still will get all the essentials like clans, friends listm leaderboards, wbsites, voice, video chat. You dont have to put up will those jackasses on Xbox live.

Avatar image for TrueIori

I could care less how much MS sold in japan. The whole Ps3 vs X-box 360 it will just come down to the games. The big question mark is nintendo. Its nice they want to try new game but what the point if developers dont want to make those games for a far less powerful system. Plus the Hideo Kojima seeing the light like the guy that makes DOA is stupid. He himself said he only cares about power, so if the Ps3 and the 380 are so similar why has he not said he going to support the ps3. We all know that he their for the $$$