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  (Source: 4Gamer/Destructoid)
Console continues to struggle worldwide, although sales woes in Japan are exceptionally bad

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) can expect that Japan would be somewhat of a challenging market, given national pride in its domestic rivals of Microsoft -- PS4-maker Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) and Wii U/Nintendo 3DS-crafter Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7974).  Still, given a market of 120 million people with a lot of spending power, and with one of the world's most active hardcore gaming markets you would expect Microsoft to see decent sales in the island nation, favoritism aside.

At the very least, even your most cynical view would be unlikely to prepare you for how staggeringly bad Microsoft's Xbox One sales are.

According to a report by Media Create (M-Create), a market researcher who publishes weekly listings of console unit sales in the Asian nation, the Xbox One moved only 100 units for the week of June 8-14.  No, that is not a typo.  The market researcher, who tracks sales data at major Japanese online and brick and mortar retailers, believes only 100 consoles sold over the period.

Xbox One japan -- sales

That's less than 1 console per million people in Japan, if you missed your morning coffee.

As you would guess, that puts Microsoft distantly behind in Japanese sales for the week.  The PS4 saw modest sales of 10.8k units for the week, outselling the Xbox One by an estimated 108-to-1.  And surprisingly Nintendo's struggling Wii U console scored 16.4k sales, topping the eighth gen. home console sales in the island nation.
WiiU

Of course, take this with a grain of salt.  a) It's just one week ... and b) the Japanese market may be more inspired in the Wii U's favor thanks to regional titles like Fire Emblem Fates, which have yet to become sales juggernauts in the U.S. as they have been in Japan.

On the flip side, there's a lot of numbers in the report that do track along the lines of more global trends in the worldwide console market, including back in the U.S.  

The Nintendo DS, for example, has perennially been a top selling if not the top selling console in the U.S. in market research that includes mobile console sales.  It was ahead of Wii U even, with 23.95k units sold.  Of those roughly 4 out of 5 were the New Nintendo 3DS XL, which is known locally as the New Nintendo 3DS LL.  This total is a bit high, but considering the larger version of Nintendo's latest mobile console only launched in various regions this spring, and considering the success of its family of handhelds in recent years, this isn't that unusual.

Nintendo 3DS XL "new"

Likewise, while the 108-to-1 sales lead of the PS4 over the Xbox One is unlikely to be replicated in the U.S. market magnitude-wise, the narrative of the PS4 dominating the Xbox One has played out again and again in the U.S., as well, in recent months.

Microsoft admits in its own earning report, that it saw a rocky first calendar quarter of 2015, in terms of Xbox One unit sales.  However, Microsoft is hoping that its nearly two-year-old console is turning the corner and it's looking to force the issue by staying pretty aggressive in terms of pricing and hardware updates.  Microsoft did manage to top Sony in April U.S. console sales, but fell back to second place once more in May, according to data from U.S. market research NPD Group.



Even in Japan, the console hasn't seen sales quite this bad for a while.  At launch, it was outsold roughly 15-to-1 by Sony.  But 15-to-1 is still a lot better than 108-to-1.  And recall that even that slippage cost Takashi Sensui, long-time Microsoft Xbox sales manager in Japan, his job last November.  The move was a serious shakeup as Sensui had held the position since 2006.  Clearly, the firing of Sensui has done little to stop things from going from bad to worse in Japan.

Xbox One launch in Japan
[Image Source: Kotaku]

While other markets, such as the U.S. and Europe may be kinder than Microsoft, the abrupt slowdown in Japan suggests trouble in the Asian market.  And nuances aside, it's one side that perhaps Microsoft failed to mount enough buzz at the annual E3 show to bump past Sony.  More troublingly, it will have to watch Nintendo's 3DS.  While not direct competition (in that it's a mobile console), the handheld does compete for gaming dollars in general.  While it would be surprising to see the Wii U replicate in Japanese win overseas, on must wonder if you might see the New Nintendo 3DS rivalling the Xbox One in U.S. sales in coming months.

Sources: M-Create, via Neowin





"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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