Why Japanese Gamers Don't Buy Xbox

When Microsoft announced it was developing a video game console, the industry was skeptical. In the '90s, Microsoft was known for its software, not its hardware business.

Almost two decades later, Microsoft's Xbox has become a popular brand, holding its own against Sony and Nintendo.

But there's one market where Xbox hasn't been a hit with consumers — Japan.

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Spurg13d ago (Edited 13d ago )

They did not enter the Japan market with the right mindset. I mean botching up a meeting with Shinji mikami that could have potentially made RE4 an Xbox exclusive show how poorly MS was at that time.

With Phil Spencer they could do so much more and should try to sway Japanese developers into publish on Xbox.

RpgSama12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Dude, stop it, Spencer is just another Suit, he ain't no saviour, people need to stop it with this false narrative that everything would be rainbows and roses with Phil Spencer from the start, they ALL follow what Microsoft decides, now it's services, the whole of MS went in that direction.

P.S: Wait till E3!! /S

WickedLester12d ago

Spencer has coasted and gotten a pass from Xbox fans for simply NOT being Don Mattrick. However once you get past that and look at the facts, you'll realize he really hasn't done any better than Mattrick did. In fact, I'd say X1 had better games at launch when Mattrick was in charge.

Notellin12d ago

@wickedlester I don't think there is a worse executive in the industry than Mattrick. Honestly companies benefit when he is forced to step down or leaves a sinking shit to tank another company.

thatguyhayat12d ago


You're not wrong. Phil Spencer is just a PR man and the fans just gobble up what he says. MS may as well trademark *wait till next E3*

battlegrog12d ago

I dont think u realize the difficulty that was ms as a entire company for a bit and it happens to most bug companies. Top heavy to many people not in touch. The guys not corporate guy. If u do research u will know how much has change for the entire company and he was part of the push.

S2Killinit12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Spencer has led the most miserable generation ever for xbox and he has been in charge for the majority of it. Think about that.

RpgSama12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Phil Spencer's been Xbox man in charge since March of 2014 a good 5 and a half years ago and before that he was already the General Manager of Microsoft's Game Studios since 2008 (in that sense he's largely responsible for the lack of games and quality of actually released ones), but people want to make it seem as if he still hasn't had the time to make an impact.

Eonjay12d ago

The reason is the 360. The high failure rate of the 360 turned them off.

NLink071412d ago

People here all busting on Mattrick but are forgetting that when he ran the show the 360 had killer exclusives and deals to make it an awesome system. Sony is literary doing that for the PS4 and people are acting like it’s “new”

rainslacker11d ago (Edited 11d ago )


Not a fan of Mattrick, but he had more games in the works under his reign than Spencer's been trying to make the past few years. His vision was also clear....although the vision itself sucks. Spencer likes to obfuscate the vision so the Xbox console faithful don't realize he's making Xbox into a service based product.

Spencer isn't unlike Mattrick though. Mattrick also dialed back the late gen 360 support to front load a new gen. Spencer just didn't bother with the middle of the gen support like Mattrick did, and Mattrick only dialed back support in the last 2 years or so. Spencer dialed back support within months of taking over.

Oh wait....sorry, forgot it takes time to make games. 5 years isn't enough.

WickedLester11d ago (Edited 11d ago )


Consider this, MS has not announced a single new IP since 2015 when they announced Sea of Thieves! Not ONE...SINGLE...NEW....IP! Yet since 2015 MS has released the X1S, the X1X, the X1SAD, the elite controller, the elite 2 controller, and the adaptive controller! MS has literally released more HARDWARE in the last 5 years than they have software! That's insane! It's also inexcusable and I continue to be amazed at the pass that Spencer is given by Xbox fans! As a PlayStation and Nintendo fan, I would be absolutely furious if that were the case with either of those platforms! Yet somehow Spencer and co manage to continue to "dazzle" Xbox fans with distractions like backwards compatibility, crossplay, and Game Pass.

Xbox's best man in charge, bar none was Peter Moore. That's when Xbox was cool! It's not been the same ever since he left.

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 11d ago
Godmars29012d ago

Just as MS has always focused on PC gaming even as a console maker, once Halo 2 made the Xbox's name, online multiplayer became the only thing they'll legitimately consider. Anything else, single player gaming, was just a lure.

That kind of thinking has blinded them, especially about the JP market which, like the rest of the world, has more varied tastes.

12d ago
RpgSama12d ago

"But there's one market where Xbox hasn't been a hit with consumers — Japan."

Actually in Europe neither, taking out the UK the Xbox as a brand has never been a success.

milohighclub12d ago

I can assure you this has less to do with how they entered the market and more to do with their ancestors getting nuked by America.

Dragonscale12d ago

There are quite a few popular us brands in Japan its nothing to do with WW2 tbh. More like Japanese gamers prefer Japanese games of which there arent many on xbox and also mobile gamings popularity doesn't help xbox over there.

rainslacker11d ago

Kind of odd, since I don't ever really feel I've ever once seen anything that suggests that Japan holds any kind of animosity towards the US, or it's products because of WWII. Not to say that Japan doesn't have a healthy dose of xenophobia as a cultural thing, but overall, Japan is pretty open to products from other parts of the world....including the US.

neutralgamer199212d ago (Edited 12d ago )


Phil has had a lot of say since 2008 especially when it comes to games. The only good thing he did this Gen was buy more studios but that's after closing other studios and canceling games

Best thing a Xbox fan can say is always wait till next E3. 5 and half years of being in charge so with these excuses. Ps3 made a comeback to outsell Xbox 360 in 6 years. The way ps3 started was much much worst than launch of Xbox one yet somehow Sony figured it out and made excellent games yet Phil had talked about doing a lot of stuff without much substance

On topic

Because gamers works wide trust Sony and Nintendo way more than ms when it comes to software support. Ms/Xbox is trying to he buddy buddy with all the GAAS publishers who want to charge gamers for everything

Sea of thieves launched like any games from Ea, ubi or Activision. State of decay 2, crackdown 3 etc list goes on and on

rainslacker11d ago (Edited 11d ago )

Yeah, they could do that. And just like every other time they've done that, it will fail to do something, and they'll drop the attempt. They're 2 for 2 on their attempts in the Japanese market, because no matter how much MS might pay to get some Japanese content, Nintendo and Sony still get significantly more.

I don't think that there is a single 3rd party game that they could get exclusive for Xbox that would sway the Japanese market that much, even if they were the heavy hitters.

Spencer has been to Japan a few times now to talk with Japanese devs or publishers. It wasn't to try and capture the Japanese market, rather to get the japanese games in the western market. They don't even seem to be trying to get the more Japanese feeling games, rather the Japanese games which seem to be trying hard to make them something that will appeal to the western market.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 11d ago
SegaGamer13d ago

From what I have seen, there just isn't room for Xbox in Japan. The market is pretty full. Playstation, Nintendo and mobile gaming gives them everything they want out of gaming.

CaptainTravel12d ago

Sega used to do fine there and Nintendo has also struggled during certain generations such as the WiiU and GameCube. Microsoft should have just bought and partnered with Sega at the time b ut Japan would never allow such acquisition from a Western company.

ImGumbyDammit12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

It is pretty much just mobile now. I think Play Station is in for big decline in Japan next gen. And the recipient of that decline will not be Japanese players buying Xbox consoles. (that is just not going to happen either) Right now there just isn't the demand and growth there for stationary console gaming devices. This gen Japan is probably only region that is not exceeding the previous gen numbers and PS4 sale numbers have dramatically dropped there in the last few years. Meanwhile mobile devices, like the Switch are just killing it. I bet Japan (like Korea), because of the growth in mobile gaming, the winner(s) will be determined by game streaming service(s) not an actual single device like a console.

SixEye12d ago

Well yeah playstation, Nintendo and mobile all have a lot of Japanese games it the reason they sell well if Xbox had the same amount it well do better like the others devices.

RizBiz12d ago

That's pretty much true for the entire world. There just isn't room for XBox.

rainslacker11d ago (Edited 11d ago )

Nintendo has the portable players on lock, and even Sony did decent with the Vita over there. Sony and Nintendo are the go to's for home consoles. So yeah, what chance does MS have, since there is really no way they'd ever receive the same kind of support that Sony and Nintendo get just because they actually are successful in those markets.

Even if MS wanted to spend the kind of money to get the games which would get the system sold over there, I can't imagine it would be worth the money they'd have to spend. Any attempts at getting Japanese games on the systems is more to entice the western market, and those that like Japanese games in those regions. They didn't do great this gen with 5pb. Last gen they started strong, but then gave up too soon. They have never, and are likely to never, be considered a console for the Otaku gamer, and if all they're going to try and get is some niche games, or the western targeted games, then it's not going to bring the variety that going for Japanese released games can actually add to a systems portfolio.

Gumby is also right in some of his predictions. Home consoles in general haven't been as popular there since last gen.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 11d ago
gamingunited13d ago

Xbox's problem in Japan is xbox gamers who won't buy the type of game made in Japan. Whether people want to down vote me for saying this it doesn't matter, the truth is xbox is a bro dude shooter and sports casual console. No Japanese game this gen to the best of my knowledge has crossed 20% of the sales of PS4 with most being in the 10-15% range. And good luck trying to sell something that's niche even on PS4 or Switch like Atelier or Neptunia on xbox, it's not going to happen.

Xbox is why xbox doesn't sell in Japan, it's not Japanese gamers fault that Microsoft pin holed their console audience.

NarutoFox12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

"bro dude shooter and sports casual console"

I agree Dude 😂😂😁

jaymacx12d ago

Plus adding on to what you said... Xbox’s exclusives aren’t the type of games Japanese gamers usually want. Xbox was on the right track with Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive.
It’s gonna be near impossible to get in the market now with the reputation they have set for themselves

Donnie8112d ago

Sorry the dude bro’s moved to PlayStation this gen. The ps4 is the ultimate casual console and that’s not really a bad thing. Casuals-buy consoles too

Longadog12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

yes. because the latest offering from the xbox's immense exclusive library is not a bro dude game...

.. oh wait

DarkZane12d ago

Even if that's the case, the difference with Xbox is that Playstation doesn't just cater to dude bros, people buy all genres of games on PS4.

rainslacker11d ago

Very few of Sony's games are what I'd call dude-bro. There are plenty of 3rd party dude-bro games out there, and they've always sold well enough on PS, and are selling better on PS this gen for sure. But Sony's games itself, and many other 3rd party games on PS, are selling extremely well. Even some of those niche games are selling more than they did last gen.

Fist4achin12d ago

I love your use of Bro Dude!

I also agree with your point.

rainslacker11d ago

Too true about the niche games. You have to have a strong Otaku gamer base to sell those kinds of games on the system. Even on PS, many of those games only sell between 100-200K world wide, and going to Xbox, they may sell 5-10K copies. They can fund full projects, like with 5pb this gen, but that isn't going to entice those who actually buy those kinds of games to buy an Xbox given that the other systems offer up much more content, with consistency, and without a history of giving up bringing those games after a year or two of failed attempts to make headway with those consumers. MS isn't even buying those games to sell the system in the Japanese market, but rather, to try and sell them in the western markets, to a specific group of gamers, in the hopes they will buy other games so they can make money. Those games aren't there because they want a diverse portfolio, but to try and grab some of the smaller segments....and they always fail because it's not in their blood to care about providing content.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 11d ago
2pacalypsenow13d ago

Cuz the Japanese are loyal and they already have Nintendo and Sony.

CaptainTravel12d ago

They are only loyal for so long, eventually they too have been part of the whole Apple craze and no longer adopting the Samsung/Sony phones.

Eidolon12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Samsung is Korean

SixEye12d ago

They only loyal becuase Nintendo and Sony offer the Japanese games most Japanese gamers enjoy if xbox had this games too, it wont be a problem.

rainslacker11d ago

Generally, I'd say being loyal is more a happenstance of providing the consumer with what they want. National pride can only take you so far, because people aren't going to typically drop a lot of money on things if it doesn't give them what they want.

MS found out first hand this gen that national pride isn't going to sell their systems in the US...although I wouldn't consider the US consumer high up on caring about where something is made.

PhoenixUp13d ago

“Today, Microsoft still struggles to sell consoles in Japan. Of the 46.9 million Xbox Ones sold worldwide through the second quarter of 2019, just 0.3% of them have been in Japan, according to the International Data Corporation.”

Yo the IDC knows that Xbox One sold about 47 million units and nobody is making articles about that?

12d ago
PhoenixUp13d ago

Plenty of people do care. Xbox One is still a major platform and it’d be nice to know it’s lifetime sales from time to time.

PhoenixUp12d ago

Apparently 2pac thinks you, me, and all the kind of people that document sales info are nobody