Why Did Xbox 360 Fail in Japan?

The Xbox 360 has been a failure in Japan, which is strange when you consider how much it dominates the North American market, as well as parts of Europe. The console is unlikely to cross the two million sold mark in Japan (which is how much the original Xbox sold there), and has been soundly outsold by its competitors in the form of Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3. It continues to see terrible sales, and many stores in Japan carry neither the console or games for the console today in 2013.

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iGAM3R-VIII2149d ago

simply because Sony and Nintendo got in their way, you can't handle the top consoles

iGAM3R-VIII2149d ago (Edited 2149d ago )

especially since they are sold in their own territory

Insomnia_842148d ago

Because japanese people are not dumb and like good quality products. That simple.

ShinMaster2148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )

And not everyone cares enough about Halo, Gears or having to pay to play online.

Sometimes it's just not worth the extra purchase when most of your gaming needs are already met with a PlayStation and Nintendo system.

Gaming1012148d ago

It isn't "strange that Xbox was successful on NA but not Japan", not if you understand world cultures and how they differ. The PS3's messaging was much strong in Japan and Europe, however the UK and US were extremely put off by some of the messaging which didn't translate properly from Japanese with the translators, and of course they sought out to destroy Sony at every turn upon release of the PS3.

The 360, on the other hand, had nothing Japanese people were interested in, and much of Europe found the overly testosterone fueled target market to be off-putting, so of course the 360 didn't fare as well. It's all about your messaging and your target markets. It's extremely difficult to be all things to all people, especially when you have fierce competition, and it's what has plagued both the PS3 and 360 this generation.

DatNJDom812148d ago Show
nukeitall2148d ago

Keiji put it right on the spot, nationalism!

Does american cars sell well in Japan? Short answer, NO!

How does american cars sell in China? Yes, very well! That is because the chinese are still upset at the japanese occupation.

Simply put, if there is no competitor then the Japanese will pick american product, see Windows and iPhone. If there are, then they will generally choose their own stuff, unless it has significant brand name value attach to it i.e. prestigious.

Apple iPhones are like that, they commend a certain oh, ah and cost a bundle.

Yes, Japanese people are shallow too and do buy overpriced, low quality products as well as long as it has a brand name on it.

They often flood the US, mostly the factory outlets scouring for deals on brand name emblazoned products too.

See, we humans aren't that different in different parts of the world!

darthv722148d ago

it sold more than the 1st xbox so does that still count as a fail?

Whatever the speculative reason may be, the overall growth of the xbox brand is significant. Before xbox, I would always see PS referenced in movies and tv but then again, those shoes/movies were most likely produced by sony pictures. Nothing wrong with a little free advertising.

But since xbox and most importantly, the 360, I have been seeing the 360 in tv shows and movies. Could it be MS paid the studios to use their product or could it just be a sign of the times in popular culture? I mean that is what "popular" culture is about. What is popular at the time.

One thing is certain though, from a collectors POV the obscurity of JP only titles for the 360 make them more $$ and sought after. I just recently picked up DoDonPachi Resurrection for the 360. That game was never released domestically in the US but it was in EU and JP and it is a very good game that plays on US systems. I recommend it for any serious SHMUP fan.

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Dir_en_grey2148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )

Here's the same report on a Japanese game site which people can use google translate if they want to read what real Japanese gamers have to say in the comment section below the report:

Basically disagreeing with Inafune on the patriotic claim, and listed why they just simply didn't buy a worse product.

Most of them listed things such as:

Issue of trust due to Microsoft's lack of and how fast it stopped support for Japan on the original Xbox;
Failure rate, RROD added to the untrustworthiness of the already bad Xbox brand;
360 was also known for scratching up disks and bad support;
Having to constantly pay for online for something that is free on PS3, yet support on content is lacking compared to the west;
Constantly paying for online does not suit the majority of the gaming audience in Japan ie students;
Having to over pay for expensive proprietary add-ons like harddrives and HD-DVD drive;
Lack of games of interest;
A few RPG's were good but the support soon stopped just like the original Xbox, as predicted;
Bonus of Blu-ray and future proofing;
All the exclusives eventually went to PS3 and had more content;
Kinect doesn't work in 90% of Japanese homes;
Don't blame this on patriotism at a country full of iphones and foreign products, you simply made a worse product;


Over 300 comments there and going

iGAM3R-VIII2148d ago

"360 was also known for scratching up disks"

LOOL I remember I was in GameStop and this guy in line in front of me had his COD MW3 disc and the was a hugely engraved ring around the disc, and I laughed :P

dcbronco2148d ago

Having to pay for expensive proprietary add-ons like harddrives.

Have you seen the add-ons for Vita?

That reason is a joke.

The reality is that the Japanese people are supportive of Sony because of the support Sony gave the nation after WWII. It's wasn't selling long before Kinect. It had a bunch of JRPGs. And the PS3 was not future proof. Future proof, one of the dumbest notions ever applied to a consoles. That's why there won't be a PS4 right?

LordHiggens2148d ago

You are right on all those merits, the Japanese tend to buy the superior product...

...I'm still confused why they went with the 3DS but that's another point.

Also, love your name, Dir en Grey is amazing...Vulgar is a great album.

Anon19742148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )

I think the fallout from rrod really hurt the 360's reputation in Europe and Japan, and rightly so. It still amazes me that the unit sold as well as it did in the US despite the high failure rates. Whatever happened to all those lawsuits over rrod? When people sued Sony for removing Linux support, that was all over the news. I remember there were a number of lawsuits worldwide regarding rrod and disk scratching issues, but I have no idea if these were settled, tossed out or still ongoing. Anyone know?

rainslacker2148d ago


As I recall the Vita didn't have great sales in Japan until the recent price cut, which bundled a memory card into the package. So yeah, that excuse is perfectly valid, and one used here in the states as well for the Vita and Xbox, at least when the Xbox first released it was a big deal, no one mentions it anymore though.

Tito082148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )

I agree with all points except with the first because the original Xbox made it only a little more than half a million. 360 passed it, but only reached less than 2 million after all this years.

Well, I believe Microsoft did the right thing in stopping Japanese support, because Japan wasn't buying their consoles, very few games sold well, but still didn't help them to keep up, even Kinect flopped there. So they focused all their marketing muscle on the U.S. & EU, and succeeded.

I believe the problem has nothing to do with them being an American company by looking at the success Apple achieve there. I think it has more to do with Microsoft as a whole, could be wrong, who knows, just my 2 cents.

AWBrawler2148d ago

I agree. Japan has no interest in xbox for the same reasons i barely have interest in them. And those are the reasons

ShinMaster2148d ago

Actually, Xbox 360 did ok in the beginning because of JRPGs and whatnot, but support was quickly dropped.
And not everyone cares enough about Halo, Gears or paying for online to buy an extra systems when all, if not most, of your gaming needs are already met with a PlayStation and Nintendo system.

PS3 was future proof because it received and continues to receive support throughout. Blu-ray also helped.

dcbronco2147d ago


Future proof implies that it will always be on the leading edge. It was behind PCs a year later just like the 360. Unless you have a case that will be upgradable, it isn't future proof. If formats come out that it can't play, it's not future proof. No technology is future proof. The PS3 can't play 8k video. There's another thing that makes it not future proof.

ShinMaster2146d ago

In comparison with the Xbox 360 ya moron. Not PC.

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xHeavYx2148d ago

Because they are smarter than most Americans? Lol

showtimefolks2148d ago

japan is a home market for other 2
they are big into handheld
they are still big into arcades

they don't like to buy products that have issues like xbox360 had for first few years with RROD

paying for online

same 3-4 game franchises as exclusives throughout the console cycle

AngelicIceDiamond2148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )

Because The Xbox 360, its games, and its tastes, are simply built around American culture.

Hicken2148d ago

Which is odd, because as American as I am, the 360 is actually last on my list of consoles.

Given how Sony and Nintendo have had amazingly strong showings in prior generations- despite not being very "American"- I'd say that has very little to do with it.

Instead, it's build quality, game variety, and support factor that determined why the other consoles were so successful elsewhere, and why the 360 WASN'T. To be honest, I'm amazed and rather saddened by just how willing my fellow Americans are/were to eat up the 360. They didn't put up much of a fight when it came to holding Microsoft accountable.

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Godmars2902149d ago

It didn't address the market. MS put out piles of cash to lure JP devs to the system, tried to get them to make games for it, but they didn't actually do anything to identify the brand towards the Japanese gamer.

Mustang300C20122149d ago

Japanese simply don't care for an American console and it isn't like the PS3 did better. It is clear the Japanese as a whole have transitioned to handheld games so I don't expect any console that isn't a 3DS to do well

sinncross2149d ago

People need to seriously get over this notion that Japan hates 'american item'.

Japanese people love American things, especially when American clothing companies open up (and iPods/ iPhones are really popular here too).

MS just failed to aggressively address the market with expectations high for both Sony and Nintendo.

knifefight2148d ago

Adding to your examples, whenever I ask any of my students (I'm a teacher in Japan) to name their favorite restaurant, McDonald's is far and away the most common answer.

The American flag and British Union Jack are huge fashion points over here. You'll see them on shirts, hats,'s as if you were in the US or Europe.

Every country has a touch of xenophobia and nationalism here and there, but really, this notion that Japan stays away from foreign products is simply not true.

Aceman182148d ago

i come to expect that way of thinking from most of my fellow americans, and that's really sad imo. majority of us just need to get over ourselves.

japan didnt buy 360 because it have interesting games that were gear towards their market. did microsoft really think shooters were going to be real big in japan?

what happened to support it with rpgs they like, after LO i really can't think of one other rpg after FF13 that was released on the console over there.

Aceman182148d ago (Edited 2148d ago )


since you live and teach there, get to witness first hand how the culture is what do you make of majority of these comments here mostly from our American fellows stating otherwise?

the way the keep spouting incorrect facts is simply mind boggling. its pretty clear that Microsoft hasn't done the right things to actually do better in Japan.

if Japanese people only buy Japanese products why didn't they buy the Vita from the off? did people believe they would simply buy it because its from Sony?

Mustang300C20122148d ago

I said an American console not American products. MS did provide games that cator to the market it just didn't penetrate the first time because of alot of issues. The machine was too big for the first Xbox in small homes. The second was the controller itself was too big and then they came out with the S controller. Hell MS has a Japan devision that is run by a Japanese CEO for that devision and the games that are their are the same ones released for the PS3. They simply choose the Wii and PS3 over the 360 as they chose the PS2 and Gamecube over the Xbox.

Still Japan is not as big as it was years ago for consoles and proof is how the industry in that country has moved on to handhelds to where even the native consoles are struggling which we see on a weekly basis. So arguing over the weakness of Japan for Xbox really doesn't change the fact that this company saw success with those Japan studios outside the country so it was still important to get relations with developers established.

Tito082148d ago

I think it has nothing to do with it being an American product, since Apple is doing very good in the country. I think it has to do with Microsoft as a whole. The weak sales of the Surface, & both failed attempts with both game consoles, Kinect & Zune is pretty evident the Japanese doesn't like Microsoft.

They proved with the 360 they can be successful outside of Japan, but problem is Japan is a market that it's too hard to ignore despite having a small population compared to Europe & America, time will tell thought, but I'm not expecting Microsoft to support Japan much after 2 failed attempts in the gaming business.

neoandrew2148d ago

It is simple, ps3 is better.

mandf2148d ago

lack of Japanese style games.

from the beach2148d ago

Xbox 360 utterly dominated the STG and RPG genres this gen, as well as having loads of Japanese exclusives - so no.

CGI-Quality2148d ago

You're saying it had more than Japan?

from the beach2148d ago

I didn't say that, however it could well be the case - would be interesting to see a study produced.

Inception2148d ago

X360 dominated RPG genre this gen and having loads of japanese exclusive? Really?
Than why it doesn't have Disgaea, Valkyria Chronicles, Tales of Graces & Xillia, Persona, Kingdom Hearts, Yakuza, Ni no Kuni, or Atelier series?

Even some 360 exclusive such as Tales of Vesperia, Star Ocean 4, or Steins;Gate are not exclusive anymore.

from the beach2148d ago

Yup, there's a list for Xbox 360 too, as I'm sure you well know.

Are you saying it didn't have loads of Japanese exclusives? I mentioned STGs as well. Fighting games.. action games.. got lists?

Inception2148d ago

If you asking me about the list, i already provide them in my 1st post. Butttt, i DON'T see your exclusive list to proved your post that "360 utterly dominated RPG genre this gen, as well as having load of japanese exclusive".

And i donno about exclusive action games for 360 in japan. But if fighting games, 360 sure don't get Jojo's Bizzare Adventure All Star and BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma in japan (and US).

Btw, what is STG? You mean Real Time Strategic game such as Starcraft or Shogun Total War?
If Yes, i've never heard that 360 got Starcraft / Shogun Total War game in japan...

from the beach2148d ago

You don't see my list because I haven't sat and compiled one! As I say, it would make an interesting study. Your RPG one looks a little strange, though. Kingdom Hearts? Persona?

It's bizarre to me that people think the Xbox 360 didn't have loads of Japanese exclusives, that's really all I can say.

STG means shootemups, by the way. Lookemup!

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