Why Xbox failed in Japan

The inside story on Microsoft's greatest ever challenge.

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ritsuka6663150d ago ShowReplies(4)
majiebeast3150d ago ShowReplies(5)
NYC_Gamer3150d ago

It's simple Japanese gamers aren't fans of the Xbox brand

MikeMyers3150d ago

No they are not. Call it national pride, call it being xenophobic. The fact is they are very loyal to their own brands. The Atari system all the way up to the Wii have done very well in America and all across Europe. It is Japan that is unique. Americans bought the Wii, the PS2 and the Xbox. Japan is different. Even Apple didn't have a huge impact on Japan until after the iPod took the world by storm. Japan still supported Sony's MP3 player while every other region moved onto the iPod. What does that tell you? Now Apple has worldwidfe appeal and is the cool factor many want to be part of, even in Japan. But don't think for a second Japan jumped onboard right away.

blitz06233150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

Yes they're loyal to their own brands but that doesn't mean they don't have to buy other brands.
Nothing stops them from getting both a PS3 and Xbox 360, yet they only get a PS3.

Japanese gamers are more into RPGs, JRPGs to be exact. And most of Xbox's top games are FPS.

Just go back to Tales of Vesperia and check the X360 sales in Japan during that time and you'll know what I'm talking about

darthv723150d ago

I mean the whole situation revolves around appeal. if something appeals to someone, they buy it.

What works in one demographic is not an automatic success in another. that is why the world is so diverse with individual views on such things.

I can remember back in the Genesis days, Nintendo had Japan all locked in but in the US, Sega was turning heads and taking names. In Europe it was somewhat of a draw. Both Nintendo and Sega flip flopped with the different countries.

The appeal of those systems and the style of games geared towards the different demographics are what lead to their respected success in those areas.

Now i know we are in a time where pretty much any game is released for all territories but back then there was a slew of games that never made it out of certain territories. Maybe that had something to do with the mass acceptance or not of one platform over another.

Bottom line is neither Sony, nor MS nor Nintendo really did anything to garner such criticism this gen in regards to the amount of units sold.

All 3 did a good job and the people bickering over one or the other just need to stop, be thankful for what they have and play their system of choice.

1upgamer993150d ago

LOL, no its that Nintendo, and Sony offer more than just button mashing games that require thought beyond, how do I kill the next guy. There is nothing wrong with those type of games for some, but lets see, they are clearly smarter than we are, and they are more into THINKING than, just reacting. Nintendo, and Sony offered more RPGs over there than here(in the US) Microsoft offered nothing for them, The reason so many RPGs are not offered else where is because we do not buy theme, unless they offer BLOOD AND GUTS. It has very little to do with National pride. The Japanese would gladly have bought XBOX360 IF they had exclusives like Final Fantasy. If Microsoft does not have something like that, they will not buy till its dirt Cheap. They will however buy games that are FUN like Mario and Challenging like Zelda. Plus all of Sony's GREAT games.

deadpoole3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

Sony products are reliable, sturdy and offers perfection.

Why select some inferior product based on some consumer base choice because they don't know any better. There lack/lapse in judgement in not selecting the right superior product doesn't make inferior product better.

Gold will always remain gold and turd polished gold will always remain turd. The problem with today's world is ... people are not able to differentiate between the two and are settling for far less then what they could get for the same price.

When I saw Idiocracy ... I thought it's just a movie about nothing ... but now, with every passing day, it seems that those days aren't far away.

MikeMyers3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )


Of course they enjoy JRPG's, that's why they are called JRPG's. In fact westerners like them too. Do you think the ratio of gamers in Japan that buy western RPG's equals that of westerners who buy JRPG's? That might be interesting to find out.

Microsoft tried to get Japanese gamers by having exclusive deals with big players like Square-Enix and also publishing games with the guy from Final Fantasy who made Blue Dragon. There were other big games too like Lost Odyssey. All of this attempt failed to materialized into hardware sales. Rare who used to have worldwide appeal also faltered on the Xbox 360 convincing the Japanese public with games like Kameo and Viva Pinata. Kinect also fails to capitalize in Japan. It's very clear they are not that interested.

Does anyone know how game sales on IOS do in Japan compared to the rest of the world? Everyone suggests Apple has proven to be successful there but do the game sales support that?

"Just go back to Tales of Vesperia and check the X360 sales in Japan during that time and you'll know what I'm talking about."

It also came out first on the Xbox 360, what does that tell you by the lack of sales when compared to how well it did on the PS3? Yet Grand Theft Auto did amazingly well on the PS2 and severely benefited by being timed exclusive. The game was improved on the Xbox but sales were far behind.


"All 3 did a good job and the people bickering over one or the other just need to stop, be thankful for what they have and play their system of choice."

All 3 did do a good job this generation except for one notable country and one system.


"Sony products are reliable, sturdy and offers perfection. "

Really? Is that why the PS2 dominated the charts even though they had a lawsuit over disc read errors that Sony settled out of court? Is that why Sony's MP3 player continued to do well inside Japan while the rest of the world moved onto the iPod?

deadpoole3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )


By reliable and sturdy I mean no matter how many hours you operate them in one go even months they will not break/fail ... provided ... and I repeat provided that you operate them as instrucuted/within guidelines and along with common sense which I hardly see in people when it comes to game consoles.

Ive seen ppl turning ps1, ps2 and even ps3 off straight from mains once they are done playing without even exiting to the main menu or resetting. I've seen ppl idiotically, I mean with uber stupidity ejecting disc in between game loading and inserting another disc so they can start playing another game . In PSone and Ps2 phat/slim, ive come across ppl openning lid while game disc still spinning with abrupt stoppin, pushing disc out, inserting another disc and ten pressin reset to play other game.

These are the ppl who have little to no knowledge about cpu/gpu based contraptions and treat them ... scratch that ... abuse these consoles just like there toaster/blenders/microwave ovens etc. And when these breaks/malfunctions/disc read error one of them ... they complain with their heads off that the product is faulty/unreliable/problematic/ yada yada ... when in reality its ppl sheer stupidity and mishandling of these sophisticated contraptions that leads to these failures.

So my point is Sony product offers reliable, sturdy and perfection (both software and hardware wise). Sony products are able to withstand 99.9% of sheer use abuse and they will still work as designed, whereas other brand's product can't even handle 1% of use abuse and simply breaks.

3150d ago
nukeitall3150d ago


"Nintendo, and Sony offered more RPGs over there than here(in the US) Microsoft offered nothing for them,"

Wrong, MS offered many exclusive RPGs such as Blue Dragon, Lost Oddessey and so on.

"It has very little to do with National pride. The Japanese would gladly have bought XBOX360 IF they had exclusives like Final Fantasy."

Final Fantasy might have swayed the Japanese audience, but that would have likely never happened that Xbox 360 gets a major FF exclusive. Japanese companies first and foremost support other Japanese companies. Onlyl when they are so stung, will they move on to a foreign company and MS sensed the genre move in the US so they dropped Japan. However, Japanese company now rely a lot on foreign audience.

I think the only way to win Japan for MS, is to offer something so compelling the entire world bought it and Japan is in a pinch, meaning there is no real other option. MS Windows is one of them. The other options aren't really comparable for the most part.

Apple products is another due to superior look and feel. Also brand names that convey luxury.

rainslacker3150d ago


I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree about your implication by saying it's user error why PS2 had laser issues.

I used to repair PS2's, and it's pretty well known among those that did, that Sony greatly under-calibrated their lasers to increase manufactured yield. Quite often the system could be repaired by tweaking the laser a bit, and it would run perfectly forever after.

However, yes there are a lot of stupid people that do stupid things when it comes to consoles, and yes they do blame others for that stupidity.

Honestly, I believe MS makes crap hardware in every piece of hardware they make, and I thought this long before the first Xbox was ever conceived. My choice to not purchase the first, or the 360, was based on my own experience with how crap their hardware division was. I think they've ironed out the 360 issues, and from what I've seen it's much more solid now, but look how much money it took before they had to give a damn about it.

Sony in general has always made good hardware with everything they've made. It can range from bargain basement stuff to high end equipment, but usually it's solidly built. Even that laser issue that many people bring up to say it's normal was still well within accepted defect standards that are present in the industry(less than 10%).

Dir_en_grey3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

MikeMyers that's a lot of bull.

If you want to play the race card and say national pride, from sales data it's more like Americans with national pride sticking to the 360 if anything else, cuz in every other region PS3 is outselling 360 except for in US only.
The rest of the world sees the bad track record that 360 started with the failure rates, how they try to charge for online where others doesn't, better service and bang for your buck with PS3 like bluray and video/music services+ alpha, and way tons of AAA exclusive games that is not on the 360.

The first Xbox also failed hard cuz of no games that Japanese liked, why would they trust and blindly buy a 360 if it's gonna suffer the same fate?

The reason iphone didn't take off in Japan at first is because it didn't even have a camera at first, that's when it didn't sale cuz it didn't meet the basic needs of the Japanese market.

Sony started walkman and still have the best quality sound output out of all portable music players.

How about the rest of the world is not like you who is prejudiced against anybody else. People with money are just gonna buy the better product you know.

And in this case the rest of the world is more like they can see through Microsoft trying to sell cheap, but then drain you afterwards trick that people like you can't see due to "your national pride".

BinaryMind3150d ago

@blitz0623 - You can't argue that Xbox failed because it didn't have JRPGs. At least for the first few years, 360 had a ton of exclusive RPGs: Eternal Sonata, Tales of Vesperia, Blue Dragon, and Lost Odyssey. All of them brought increased, short term sales to the console especially Tales of Vesperia and Blue Dragon. The problem is they were only hooking the hardcore gamers. The general public was still unwilling to trust a western brand.

knifefight3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

Yeah, they're soooo loyal to their own brands that the iPhone is now the most popular cellphone in the country, McDonald's is the most popular restaurant chain, the American flag and Union Jack are common pieces of fashion apparel, virtually all Japanese t-shirts are in English, and The Beatles are the most popular band at Japanese karaoke bars.

...They're so xenophobic!

+ Show (11) more repliesLast reply 3150d ago
Nerdmaster3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

Or maybe they're just used to reliable electronical devices, and Xbox 360's 30% failure rate scared them.

3150d ago
MikeMyers3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

That is correct. It has little to do with reliability. Sony had a class action lawsuit over disc read errors on the PS2 and decided it was in their best interest to settle out of court. Japan didn't know the Xbox 360 was shoddy hardware until later on like everyone else. It still sold poorly right from the start. Do they buy it now that the system is much more reliable. No.

Knushwood Butt3150d ago

Yes, this is part of it.

1) 360 started out as the underdog anyway, so was in a weak position.

2) Peter Moore came to Japan for the launch and TOLD Japan the system was going to be number 1. lol

3) The system had very poor reliability, which only went to hurt its reputation.

4) It wasn't long before Japan realised MS was full of broken promises. The remaining exclusives, which were the only ammo the 360 had left, were not appealing to the Japanese market.

boybato3150d ago


No way. Nothing is more catastrophic as Xbox360's failure rate.

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Hellsvacancy3150d ago

There must atleast 1 Japanese N4G user, what does he/she say?

PurpHerbison3150d ago

Probably doesn't care one bit, as the rest of us should. But I am waiting for the person claiming to be Japanese but isn't. That will come before a Japanese N4G user.

Daoshai3150d ago

lol, I'm Japenese, soon to be a Japenese American though. Truth be told, Nihonjins (Japanese), especially my parents are very into buying Nippon (Japan) based products. I hear it with americans too, that built in the USA is something one should consider. Especially for automobiles. Nihonjins, are no different. Keep in mind also there are devolopers that make Nippon only games and they mostly release for Nintendo and Sony.

avengers19783150d ago

Imagine there numbers had it been successful... they might be at 100 million consoles in world wide sales. The 360 far out did the Xbox in sales so I think there doing just fine without the support of Japan, and really I think there main focus is on western gamers... and they are doing very well in the states, and Europe... If I were them I wouldn't worry to much about the Japanese market, and keep focus on what they are doing.

xtremeimport3150d ago

I like when people try to decipher things that have a simple answer.

They don't like Xbox. The system offered them nothing more than the other consoles. In fact, it probably offered them less. Xbox is built and survives on FPS, incase you havent noticed...Japan doesn't really give a shit about FPS.

miDnIghtEr20C_SfF3150d ago

And Japan doesn't even matter. Black Friday/Holiday USA sales of Xbox 360 crush a Years worth of sales of PS3's in Japan alone.

Look it up... it's true.

rainslacker3150d ago

I looked it up...PS3 sales are about 1.1 million a year in japan, 360 sales over black friday were 400K, and lets say double that for the whole yeah not really crushing. Maybe if you extend it to the whole year worldwide, but that wouldn't suit your fanboyism.

Don't be so arrogant to think that a country that has it's own territory for game sales is not important. Hell even in the US we get lumped in with the whole of North America.

Flavor3150d ago

Losing the Japan market nowadays is akin to losing the Podunk county fair turkey derby.

The Japanese Zaibatsu have been so utterly dominated in the global games market that their people have taken on the attitude of spoiled children who lose at a game of marbles- they say the game is stupid and walk away.

This is a country where they sell more adult diapers than infant diapers by a widening margin, and is so ossified they have forgotten how to innovate.

Oh_Yeah3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

It was as loud as a hair dryer when it first came out.. In know most Asians like things quiet. It didn't help it was American either.

Flewid6383150d ago

because Japanese gamers have good taste.

Orionsangel3150d ago

It's not that simple. The Japanese are a proud traditional people. Who support their own kind. Nintendo, Sony. Microsoft is American. They will not support it.

IAMERROR3150d ago

Loving all these Sony drone comments, of course they couldn't resist it! jajaja

If Sony was an American company and didn't have those 3rd party exclusives JRPG's by default because they're Japan based, it would've been the same case, end of story. Quit being a fanboy

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TotalHitman3150d ago

1 reason why the Xbox failed in Japan. It's American. That's how it is.

yesmynameissumo3150d ago

iPhone/iPad totally fail in Japan.

Dms20123150d ago

Iphone and Ipad are not gaming consoles.

yesmynameissumo3150d ago

Actually they are, but that's besides the point.

3150d ago
TotalHitman3150d ago

Idk why I'm getting disagrees when it's fact. Although, I expected it. American's don't like it if you disagree with their views.

The Japanese are a bit xenophobic when it comes to the Xbox 360. Why get an American console when they can buy a Japanese console that does the same if not better.

@yesmynameissumo - The iPhone/iPad is different. There is no suitable Japanese alternative like it. If the Xperia offered similar specs at the same price, it would sell better in Japan.

kayoss3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

I think the main issue is the introduction of a foriegn product (american made product imported to Japan). Americans are so use to have foreign product exported from different countries and the U.S are very reliant on foriegn product therefore we are more opened to foriegn product. U.S. are made of a very diverse group of people from many many countries so are willingness to use foriegn product is not a big suprise. The Japanese have not been very open to foriegn products maybe its a cultural thing and probably because 95% of the population in Japan are Japanese (obvious)but thats where the problem lies. There are only a handful of japanese are more adventurous when it come to foriegn products thats why you see small niches in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. This concept is mainly for food but can also be applied for electronics and other foriegn products. Why do you think japan have lot of imports from China and other asian countries? because culturally they are similar. Its easier to transition when they are similar. This may not be the main reason but its probably part of the reason. Please correct me if im wrong.

rainslacker3150d ago

I don't disagree with the point you are making, but it's not really fair to categorize an entire society based on something you may have heard or read at some point in time. It's like when others say American's are fat lazy slobs. It's just not categorically true.

Your reasons why they may not care about the console could be right. Or it could be that MS really hasn't advertised the hell out of it in Japan like it does in other territories. Probably due to the fact that their market research saw it would be wasted money.

Japanese people are just as likely to buy a foreign product as one made in Japan if it appeals to them. There is a place for national pride, but not when the price tag goes above a certain point. Japan culture is just as influence by the media and advertising as the rest of the world, and because of that they are more willing to buy something that is perceived as popular, which hasn't been Xbox until just about 6 years ago, and even then not the case in Japan. Even then the other options were more appealing, and MS always had an uphill battle in Japan.

On top of that MS had, and still has, very little 3rd party support outside of big publishers. If you've ever looked at the number of games available in Japan compared to the US/Europe, you would see that smaller, more niche developers can make a successful product, and there are thousands of games to choose from, compared to our 600 or so. That kind of catalog, and support goes a long way to help making a decision on what console to buy.

hot4play3150d ago

Maybe because they know better than to buy a console with a high failue rate, no exclusive games, dvd only drive, and pay to play online?

5eriously3150d ago

IMHO the Japanese consumers are technically more savvy when it comes to purchasing technology. They know the quality revealed by technical specifications when they see them.

Cocozero3150d ago

So why does the DS/3DS outsell the PSP/Vita?

iamnsuperman3150d ago (Edited 3150d ago )

More appealing games. Being tech savey is one thing but also having games that suit the culture and what they like is as important. Monster hunter is big and so is pokemon. It would really matter (with in reason) which sstem these are on. They sell the system

So basically it's a balance really between tech savy and games that suit the culture.

JasonXS123150d ago

The DS outsells Vita because the Vita hasn't blown up with games like the DS/3DS has. That's why the PSP is still doing so well because there are plenty of Japanese games on them.

tordavis3150d ago

I call bullshit! How many Japanese gamers do you know?

Allsystemgamer3150d ago

Then why don't they all have top of the line gaming pcs.