Xbox 360 passes one million units sold in Japan

Microsoft celebrates hardware-sales milestone with "thank you" campaign; plans to give away one million Microsoft points in Japan; Japanese 2009 release schedule outlined.

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In February this year, the Xbox 360 outsold the Wii and PlayStation 3 in Japan for the week of February 16 to 22, when the Xbox 360-exclusive role-playing game Star Ocean: The Last Hope launched. Even with occasional sales spikes, Japan is hardly the poster child for Xbox 360 console sales globally.

At a media conference held in Japan today, Microsoft announced that it had finally surpassed the one million unit hardware-sale mark in the land of the rising sun, and will celebrate the occasion by giving away one million Microsoft points and a dashboard theme locally as part of a "thank you" campaign.

The announcement was made by Microsoft Japan president Takashi Sensui alongside announcements about upcoming retail and downloadable games for its Xbox Live Arcade service from various local industry luminaries.

Among these, Namco Bandai's Yoshihisa Kanesaka announced that the company will be bringing SoftMax-developed fantasy role-playing game Magna Carta 2 to the console with a slated Japanese release date of August 6.

Via video message, Capcom producer Jun Takeuchi again confirmed that Lost Planet 2 will feature four-player co-op support, and Dead Rising 2 producer Keiji Inafune discussed foreign developers handling the game's progress. He also aired a trailer for the game that showed the protagonist attacking zombies in a casino setting using various objects as weapons.

Tri-Ace's Takayuki Suguro took the stage to discuss new RPG End of Eternity, which is scheduled for release in winter 2009. A CG and short gameplay trailer were also shown, detailing the game's combat.

Microsoft Xbox marketing spokesman Joji Sakaguchi used the latter part of the briefing to detail and date upcoming Xbox 360 and XBLA games, including 2D fighting game BlazBlu: Calamity Trigger, which is due out June 26, and a new 3D Samurai Shodown game. Lode Runner is due to land on the service tomorrow, April 22, whereas Banjo-Kazooie sequel Banjo-Tooie and Virtual On will each be available from April 29. Mega Man 9 is due out in June for 800 Microsoft points and will include a new boss.

Space Invaders Extreme and four-player puzzle game OD Beat Drop were also teased, though neither had release schedules outlined, except for a promise that they would arrive in "spring." Bubble Bobble Neo and SNK Playmore's Gorou: Mark of the Wolves were name-checked for an estimated spring/summer launch window, whereas The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match is due in 2010.

Microsoft finished the presentation by announcing that Square Enix games Project Cube, Yosumin Live, and 0 Day Attack on Earth were all destined for release sometime in 2009.

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