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Microsoft moves to fight lagging sales

Microsoft has had a hard time gaining any traction in the Japanese console market with its XBOX and XBOX 360 consoles. On Japanese soil, Nintendo and Sony are the kings and Microsoft is an also-ran. According to Reuters, Japanese XBOX 360 sales have only accounted for a small fraction of worldwide sales:

Xbox 360 sales in Japan reached 158,654 units as of early this month, while 5 million units had been sold worldwide by the end of June, the paper said, quoting data from game marketing firm Enterbrain Inc.

The Redmond, Washington-based giant is looking to make some inroads in the Japanese market by offering the XBOX 360 Core System available to consumers.

The XBOX 360 Core System has been available in the United States and Europe since its Q4 '05 launch. In the United States, the XBOX 360 Core System forgoes the 20GB hard drive, chrome trim, wireless controller, Ethernet cable and XBOX Live Headset. The Core system also features a Composite AV cable instead of the Component HD-AV cable.

Japan's Nihon Keizai reports that the XBOX 360 Core System will retail for 10,000 yen ($86 USD) less than the XBOX 360 System which currently sells for 39,600 yen ($340 USD). As an added bonus, IGN is reporting that Microsoft is also including Project Gotham Racing 3 and Ninety-Nine Nights in with the package.The XBOX 360 Core System is due to be available in Japan starting November 2.



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Forget the Japanese!
By VIAN on 9/8/06, Rating: 0
RE: Forget the Japanese!
By abhaxus on 9/8/2006 11:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
their disservice at basically creating the entire market for video games?

the 360 just doesn't have any games that appeal to them. if they want to get into that market they need to sign a big deal with a big japanese name.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By mendocinosummit on 9/8/06, Rating: 0
RE: Forget the Japanese!
By stubeck on 9/8/2006 12:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
Walmart is an american company.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By mendocinosummit on 9/8/06, Rating: 0
RE: Forget the Japanese!
By Kuroyama on 9/8/2006 12:37:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I actually blame this on the New England culture, all they care about is money; just watch the news


This doesn't make any sense. Walmart is an Arkansas company, rabidly anti-union, etc. Likewise, oil companies are largely based in Texas. So, what do any of these have to do with New England?


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By robber98 on 9/8/2006 2:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Please explain why Levis and IPod selling extremely well in Japan.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By dice1111 on 9/8/2006 3:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
Country music is also huge over there. That is because it's a fad. Like all societies, fad's are ever present. Current fad's include Levis and iPods. Microsoft is definatly NOT in the fad category. Maybe it's an approch they should take...?


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By robber98 on 9/8/2006 5:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
Question is, why Levis and IPod can be part of the so-called "fad" and XBox 360 AND Xbox aren't? That's gotta be something wrong with XBox BUT not the country.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By tophat on 9/8/2006 6:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
That's the first thing I thought of when XBox first came out. The only thing I knew about MS was that they were in a big anti-trust suit back when the first XBox first came out. Every time I thougth Xbox, I thought MS and that is not a brand synonomous with entertainment nor quality video games. Sony and Nintendo are.

If we're talking about fads, it would be in MS's best interest to alienate itself from Xbox and brand it as an entertainment center solely. Let's face it, we all have worked with MS products and have had frustrations with their suites at one point or another. Do we really want to bring that frustration home and into our livingroom while associating that frustration with a product we wish to enjoy on our luxury time? Probably not. There's a disconnect there and it just isn't consistent. Spin it off, give it a schnazzy name, brand it and compete. Clearly the name Xbox is trying to gain points with the gen-x crowd but what could be more 'uncool' than the parent company who is, figuratively speaking, 'the man' in the OS arena?

MS != fun.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By Tsuwamono on 9/10/06, Rating: 0
RE: Forget the Japanese!
By nangryo on 9/8/2006 12:17:37 PM , Rating: 4
They'll be in trouble if the japan market was left out.
Coz majority of big game console publisher/developer is from japan. And they really counting about the console market in japan. So more consoles in japan = more games from japan developer = more games for worldwide.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By tophat on 9/8/2006 6:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
How is MS in trouble if they don't enter Japan? The article states that just a tad more thank 150k units were sold whereas over 5M units were sold worldwide. I doubt that those sales helped MS in any significant manner. Additionally, how many japanese game developers are willing to invest time and resources to attract a domestic Xbox market of only 150k units? It makes better sense to join the rest of the developers in creating a FPS title to attract the other 5M units out there who buy FPS like there's no tomorrow.

If I was a japanese game developer, my resources would go to the PS3 and Nintendo purely for the domestic consumer market alone.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By Kuroyama on 9/9/2006 10:21:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I was a japanese game developer, my resources would go to the PS3 and Nintendo purely for the domestic consumer market alone.


I think that's the point. If the Japanese game developers don't make many XBOX 360 games, then it'll hurt XBOX sales in the rest of the world too, because some people might want those games.


RE: Forget the Japanese!
By nangryo on 9/8/2006 12:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
They'll be in trouble if the japan market was left out.
Coz majority of big game console publisher/developer is from japan. And they really counting about the console market in japan. So more consoles in japan = more games from japan developer = more games for worldwide.


culture
By cciesquare on 9/8/2006 11:23:29 AM , Rating: 2
It is a cultural thing. Japanese simply will not buy gaming consoles outside of Japan.

The only way for Xbox360 to win is if PS3 is completely crap. Even then Microsoft would have to publish about a million Japanese style RPGs, and they have to be GOOD. The type of games Japanese gamers mostly go far.

Its going to take a huge cultural shift in the way Japanense people looking at consoles from outside their country. Microsfot is trying for mount everest with this endeavor.




RE: culture
By jskirwin on 9/8/2006 1:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Its going to take a huge cultural shift in the way Japanense people looking at consoles from outside their country. Microsfot is trying for mount everest with this endeavor.


Agreed. The Japanese are living proof that protectionism works - at least when your trading partners are hooked on your products and unwilling to retaliate.

I lived there for 5 years, and the idea of actually buying a foreign product that was "better" than a Japanese-made product made absolutely no sense to them.


RE: culture
By bigpow on 9/8/2006 5:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree.

1st, they love imports (like anywhere else in the world, imported goods/cultures are considered lux/exotic/premium/etc)

2nd, unlike their american counterparts, the japanese WILL NOT buy something simply because it's cheaper! They don't care if PS3 is more expensive, if it's better (features) then they'll buy it.

Sony PS2 (and soon-to-be-here, PS3) has so many japanese games (RPG & what-not).

Compare that to XBOX (and XBOX360)'s limited japanese games.

Again, they're not like americans who are known to be suckers for EA freaking sport games (NHL, NFL, Tigerwood, etc etc).


RE: culture
By MrDiSante on 9/8/06, Rating: 0
RE: culture
By ChronoReverse on 9/9/2006 12:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
It bugs me when people automatically label them crap too. It's just a name. While it's obviously not like a real PnP RPG or even a CRPG, in the purest sense, it's still roleplaying.

Furthermore, I don't see how inflexible story automatically makes it crap either. Why can't a jRPG be a story-telling medium?




In any case, let me ask you this. If the 360 launched with only Nintendogs in North America, do you expect it to do well? That's the real reason the 360 isn't doing well in Japan. Just ask Apple how to properly sell something there.


anti-japanese?
By Kuroyama on 9/8/2006 12:56:36 PM , Rating: 3
Considering that many of you were kids in the 80's and 90's, why are you repeating old ideas. In the 21st century Japanese are mostly focused on size (small is good), features (cell phone without a camera? that is so 5 years ago), and price (cheap things from China and Korea sell like hotcakes).

How about cell phones. A few years ago Vodaphone bought one of the top Japanese wireless companies and did just fine. No one cared that it was a European company, but when they started giving the same crappy phones we get in Europe and Japan then the Japanese abandoned them in droves.

American cars (even sedans) never sold well in Japan because they are too large, the steering wheel was on the wrong side through most of the 80's and the manual was often in English only, fuel economy was awful (you'd care if your gas was just as expensive), and so on. My homestay family in Osaka had a Jeep and had to park it in a lot down the road, because it couldn't even drive down their tiny street!

Yeah, many cheap imports in Japan have some generic Japanese sounding label on them, but everyone knows they are made in Korea and China, and no one seems to care as long as they're cheap. Loyalty to Japanese companies is fairly weak nowadays; it's just that when it comes to electronics (or cars) the smallest, best quality products with best games/features are usually Japanese brands, so of course they buy Japanese (as do many of us). And if the games don't cater to their taste then (naturally) even matching their quality won't be sufficient.




RE: anti-japanese?
By VIAN on 9/9/2006 11:05:16 AM , Rating: 2
Then if this is true, they're just waiting for the Wii. Since the Xbox 360 is smaller and cheaper and already available compared to the PS3.


RE: anti-japanese?
By Kuroyama on 9/9/2006 10:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, but the PS3 includes a BluRay player so if you want cutting edge toys then the PS3 would be both smaller and cheaper than buying an Xbox 360 and a BluRay or HD-DVD player.

In any case, the games are probably the most important bit. I don't game so I don't know anything, but based on comments above it sounds like Xbox is lacking in the games the Japanese like.


Japanese Market
By tophat on 9/8/2006 1:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
We have to realize that the japanese video game market is much larger and are able to support much more titles than that of the international market. Specifically speaking, the video game market in Japan includes a myriad number of cultural titles and RPGs that most of us in the US would never even consider. Do you think the US has the same game titles for the Sony and Nintendo as that in Japan? Most definitely not. The western gaming titles are merely a subset of the game titles available to the japanese consumer. Think of it this way, a japanese company produces a RPG (a very popular genre in Japan) and makes a smash hit in Japan. The game is done and all that is necessary is to translate it into English. This is relatively trivial for a japanese company to do. Now reverse the roles and imagine a western company trying to translate into japanese taking into the nuances of the japanese language. The resources to do that are much scarce. Not only that, not many developers are even looking at translating their titles for the japanese market let alone consider cultural differences.

The point I'm trying to make is that the japanese consumer buys the console with the larger library of titles that appeal to them. In this case, Microsoft lacks in a big way and the cost and technology may be great but the title support, the real driver of the hardware sales, leaves much room for improvement.




RE: Japanese Market
By vtohthree on 9/8/2006 3:03:50 PM , Rating: 3
MANY HAVE MISSED A BIG POINT!!!!

Yes there is some nationalism involved, supporting domestic products, blah blah blah, but that aside...there are no real appealing games on the xbox360 for the Japanese market(I'm being general, maybe give one or two titles).

FOR EXAMPLE, SNK/Playmore games were rather popular throughout Japan back in the day. Why??? They made a lot of fighting games and 2D shooters. NOW TRY THAT IN AMERICA...though there are some fans of it here in the states, it is not that popular or appealing to Americans.

XBOX360= SPORTS, FPS.
PS SERIES= RPG, FIGHTING

yeah there's tons of other things to add to the list, but those are very DISTINCTIVE...FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS are dominant in the US(heck we kind of sort of created them, its our trademark)...hence US players love their HALO..

I could say...what if Japan released a system in the states with only Japanese style games/tastes, how many Americans would buy it? But it wouldn't apply because the Japanese have served/introduced us to such games for the longest time, heck, for practical purposes they pretty much made the console popular[no, i didn't forget atari](after all, lets be real, since the 80's the Japanese were the only real makers of console system, sega, nintendo, NEC, etc...yeah atari had its glory but let's be real here...haha, it didn't carry out into the 90's, and 00's)

But in Japan, they want their fighting games(Tekken, etc..), Japanese style RPG's(it's their trademark, blizzard has their own style to compete, but it really started from there), ie: Final Fantasy, etc. etc....not to mention since the Japanese have been at this for a long time and kept continuing(RIP Atari), hence Americans have had exposure to such games as well, so that could explain great sales for the PS2 vs. Xbox...but thats getting into a whole different story.


RE: Japanese Market
By vtohthree on 9/8/2006 3:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
forgot to add to the punchline....if xbox360 had the backing(takes some money, and they sure did take the effort this time around, ie capcom), and pressed out Japanese titles and tastes, full support from square, namco, konami, then maybe... just maybe xbox360 would be worth buying to the Japanese consumer, ;)

Just like if Sony pressed a system in the states and had no titles from EA, blizzard, Sierra, Valve, etc.... i don't think it would be as successful compared to a system that did have such support here in the States.


It isn't the price which is holding it back
By Staples on 9/8/2006 11:30:46 AM , Rating: 3
Just like with the Xbox, it is the game selection that accounts for 90% of the sagging sales. 3 Japanese games a year won't make the system the best seller in Japan. 25 a year might. MS does not have the resources so the best thing they can do is kiss Japanese developer ass in hopes of getting some support.




By klingon on 9/8/2006 11:58:36 AM , Rating: 2
its simply because ppl in japan doesn't prefer or trust foriegn brands or electronics....they'll jus simply stick to japanese brands. Ppl in japan will simply wait for PS3 even if its releasin' next march.


By therealnickdanger on 9/8/2006 11:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
I knew it, I knew they couldn't resist. Sure, it's only in Japan, but lowering the price and including two games... it's only a matter of time. They are really just taking advantage of Sony's press release that they will be lacking hardware this fall.




By Hare on 9/8/2006 1:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's not just MS. No company will EVER say that they'll be shortly cutting prices because that would have a huge impact on current sales. People would just wait for the prices to come down. MS is just doing what every other company is also doing. It's just business...


Japanese Games on XBOX360
By jularroyo on 9/8/2006 6:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe M$ should post old the old Jap classics from Sega, and others, and offer them for free through XBOX live. It should help get demand up for the platform. Look how popular the Street Fighter piece has been for them.




RE: Japanese Games on XBOX360
By tophat on 9/8/2006 6:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
What would probably make more sense would be to sign up a japanese developer like Square to develop not a platform specific game but a japanese market specific title and gain popularity that way before dropping prices on the console. Who really gets excited over consoles? I get excited over the games.

PS- I love the Street Fighter game on the Xbox 360. Best $10 spent on a video game yet.


By Flunk on 9/8/2006 12:11:02 PM , Rating: 3
The Japanese distrust of foreign products is defintly an issue but I think that one of the biggest reasons that the Xbox 360 is doing so poorly is the lack of Good RPG, shooter and fighting titles. All of these types of games sell well in Japan. If Final Fantasy XIII was only avaiable on Xbox 360 I think that Japanese sales woulld definetly pick up.

The reason I don't own a 360 is that there really aren't any games that interest me. I think this is the same problem that is effecting the Japanese public, no games they want to play.

In America the public buys the system then looks at the games, the Japanese will only buy if there is a game to buy the system for. I don't know if you've noticed this but Nintendo always releases a new Mario game with their new systems, there is a very good reason for this.




Typo
By Visk on 9/8/2006 11:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
IGN is reporting that Microsoft is also including Project Gotham Racing 3 and Nintey-Nine Nights


Should be:

"IGN is reporting that Microsoft is also including Project Gotham Racing 3 and Ninety - Nine Nights"




Is it THAT bad thing?
By igacci on 9/11/2006 8:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sick to see cheap nationalizm comes out when funboys start to talk
about XBOX360's shabby sales in Japan.

Is it THAT bad that XBOX360 doesn't sell good in Japan?
What is wrong as far as it sells so-well in US/Europe market?
What is the reason that we have to buy XBOX360 as many as good-old PS2
in Japan?
If XBOX360 has US/Europian flavor, it is natural that it sells good in
US/Europe and would not in Japan. If PS3 and Wii will have Japanese
flavor then vice versa.
It's what the of economy is. What's the matter?

Well, it is silly to repeat but let me enphasize that the reason of it's
shabby sales in Japan can not be simpler than that, so far, XBOX360
games look no-fun for us.
It's totaly a hobby, isn't it? Why we have to swallow something that
totaly suck?

I would like to ask US/Europian gamers if you would be willing to buy
XBOX360 if it only has anime-style RPG games (things somebody called
"crap" in above thread) and not Halo or NFL at all?
I don't think you would.
MS just failed to provide us good line-ups of games that suite our taste.
That's all, no more, no less.

It is just a matter that a devision of a privately-owned campany failed
to make money in a country because of the failure of research of the
market and bussiness strategy. Is there any solid reason that we are
forced to buy it just because it is favored in US/Europian region?

I would like to tell all the XBOX fanboys. Before complaining about
it's shabby sales and push the responsibility off onto Japanese gamers,
have a deep analysis on the market-needs and what MS had faild to do.




Basically
By epsilonparadox on 9/8/2006 11:22:15 AM , Rating: 1
So basically they're giving these things away just to make some inroads. But you miss out on everything good about the 360. They should just make the premium edition available at the core price.




Xbox
By Crusader on 9/8/06, Rating: -1
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer











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