When Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in Japan last year it hoped things were going to get better for its games business in the country. The market, home of Sony's PlayStation console, had already proved to be a tough one for Microsoft, with the original Xbox thoroughly outsold by the PlayStation 2. Nevertheless, it thought that the early start the 360 had over the PlayStation 3 would give it the upper hand in the next round of the video game wars.
After all, the Xbox 360 was the first next-generation console to launch. It was the first to support high-definition games and it debuted when HDTV sales were booming. Microsoft had also brought in some big-name Japanese game developers to produce games with greater appeal to a local audience.