Niitsuma: Xbox 360’s low Japanese sales “a cultural thing”
posted on 08.16.10 at 10:16 PM EST by (@salromano)

It’s no surprise when you hear weekly reports of Xbox 360’s low sales in Japan. The Microsoft console has been doing terribly in the region since it launched. However, is it due to culture or something else? Marvel vs. Capcom 3 producer Ryota Niitsuma has weighed in his thoughts.

“It might be a cultural thing,” Niitsuma told X360A last week. “Because after all, when a typical Japanese person hears about Sony and Microsoft – as two different brands – they tend to be able to relate to Sony a lot more than Microsoft. Microsoft is something that is just quite alien in a way.”

“When Microsoft brings something good, they tend not to really explain it,” he continued, “They say, “This is amazing! This is awesome! What do you think?” but I think Japanese consumers usually require a bit more guidance.”

“They tend to be in need of further explanation, so you have to say, “This is big and awesome! And this part is made of this and that’s why it’s good. And this could do this much things and that’s why it’s good,” and I think Sony is probably, so far, better in explaining things to the Japanese market.”

Niitsuma explains that it also has to do with Microsoft’s involvement locally.

“Perhaps what Microsoft hasn’t quite done yet is to pay attention to maybe, smaller parts. So relationships with retail, local events… Sony tends to do everything at the same time, whereas Microsoft do big things in fewer fields, again, it’s all my gut feelings, but that’s what I think.”

My opinion? The games. PlayStation 3 tends to get a lot more love from the RPG side of things, especially in Japan. Xbox 360 sales spiked when Tales of Vesperia debuted on the console (was it their all time high?). As per now, Final Fantasy XIII is exclusive to PS3 in the region and games like Ar Tonelico 3, Next Tales of, Disgaea 4, and such only aid its case more.

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  • denero1

    i believe it to be mostly cultural as well -_- you have sony who has been around for years then microsoft comes out of no where offering the same thing sony has already offered for years -_-

  • DeVitowned

    A mixture of commercial xenophobia and lack of killer apps. Perhaps the unreliability of the console also played a part in fueling this xenophobia?

    While consumers in North America, Europe and Australia experience Call of Duty , Gears of War and Halo-fever, third/first-person shooters are not a genre that interest the typical Japanese gamer. Even Microsoft’s attempts of capturing racing sim superiority with titles like Project Gotham and Forza Motorsports have failed to become as established a name as Gran Turismo. RPGs are shown to be the highest selling genre for the 360, which around release of said titles cause a very short-term spike for the console. Sony and Nintendo succeed in Japan, not only from power of brand, but due to their developing a wide portfolio of genres, taking risks by developing experimental titles, and adopting game designs both more familiar and accessible to the Japanese.

    Microsoft’s gains in Japan are poor in the grand scheme of things, but they’ve done far greater in market penetration than with the original XBOX. If Microsoft is to have a hope in surviving the Japanese market, they’ll need to drop the very Western style of business and begin to think more Japanese, catering to the styles of games more successful in that type of market. As things are now, it’s still too American.