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The 360 - Online, Japan, HD-DVD 66

Posted by Zonk
from the busy-box dept.
Lots of tidbits about Microsoft's next-gen console floating around this week. On Monday, the company revealed that almost 60% of 360 owners are now using Xbox Live. GameDaily discusses what is making their setup so dang popular. Major Nelson's Sunday podcast included a lot of details on the 360's approach to HD-DVD. HD Beat has the rundown on what was said, including the inevitable Sony smack-talk. Finally, Gamasutra has a feature on the 360's position in Japan. A group of analysts debate whether or not the system even needs Japan in order to be a success. From this last article: "I don't think that American gamers are enamored [with] Japanese product because it comes from Japan; rather, I think Americans like good games, regardless of the country of origin. Microsoft doesn't need Japanese development to succeed in the U.S.; it needs good games, period."
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The 360 - Online, Japan, HD-DVD

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  • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:02PM (#15745829) Homepage
    Yeah americans do like good games as opposed to games from a particular country. But you'd be foolish to think that a game developer familiarity with their countrymen's likes and dislikes doesn't help sell games in that country. US games developers are generally more in tune to the US game market, and Japanese Game developers are generally more in tune with the Japanese game market. Microsoft might not need Japanese developers to sell more consoles in the US but it's pretty clear that they'll need them to sell more consoles in... Japan.
    • Yeah, Japanese developers will definitely be needed to move consoles in Japan. But it is likely that some of those games developed for the Japanese market while not finding success in Japan, might find it in the U.S.. So Japanese development could potentially be of more benefit in the U.S. than in Japan. This may especially be the case, if the PS3 does ridiculously well in Japan despite the very high price. But what I am I saying? Wii will absolutely pwn everything on both sides of the Pacific, right?
    • On one hand, the Japanese have this fascination with American culture that prompts them to use random, nonsensical English in wildly inappropriate situations. And, of course, the fascination goes the other way as well. To say that country of origin doesn't matter isn't entirely correct. Many, many games do well in United States because they are initially Japanese games, the quality of which can be less if it's offset enough by their uniqueness

      What the other game companies do right is have localized divi

  • by rmadmin (532701) <rmalek AT homecode DOT org> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:08PM (#15745867) Homepage
    I am totally with the "good games". Now, I don't games as much as I used to, mostly because of the lack of time I have in my life now. But the little time I do have, I find myself trying to decide which game sucks the least. I'm not going to get into details about liking game X or thinking its better than Y. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I'm finding quite a few games that are hardly entertaining anymore. On the other hand, I've been playing the crap out of my NES/SNES rom stash. I think its time for a GPX2.
    • Did the GPX2 guys finally come into GPL compliance? If not, please don't buy one. It may not be their fault, but it is their responsibility.

      Personally, I play old school games on my Xbox - my excuse was that buying it cost Microsoft money. But anyway... :)

  • Japan-love (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:13PM (#15745908) Homepage Journal
    "I don't think that American gamers are enamored [with] Japanese product because it comes from Japan;
    When was the last US-based Anime convention this guy went to? You could engrave the katakana for "Super Happy Fun Watermelon Millard Fillmore" on a bologna sandwich, leave it out on the dealers floor, and someone will buy it for $50.
    • by iocat (572367) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:33PM (#15746025) Homepage Journal
      $50! I paid $299 on ebay and that was a steal. Super Happy Fun Watermelon Millard Fillmore is sweet, although if you can find it, Super Happy Fun Watermelon Millard Fillmore Side Story X: Fourth Imperative of the Dieraga Monarch is a lot more sophisticated.
    • Believe it or not, the population of American gamers enamored with Japanese stuff is very small. This might be why games such as dating sims never take off here, or that games like Soul Calibur 3 and Dynasty Warriors 4 go out of their way to redo the entire voice acting in English.
    • When was the last US-based Anime convention this guy went to? You could engrave the katakana for "Super Happy Fun Watermelon Millard Fillmore" on a bologna sandwich, leave it out on the dealers floor, and someone will buy it for $50.

      Not that I disagree with you about how rabid the US otaku-Japanese-fetish crowd can be, but consider the number of them against the number of people buying the yearly installments of Madden. I'd imagine it's miniscule in comparison.
      • Not that I disagree with you about how rabid the US otaku-Japanese-fetish crowd can be, but consider the number of them against the number of people buying the yearly installments of Madden. I'd imagine it's miniscule in comparison.
        That may be true, but John Madden would be harder to carve katakana into. Not that I wouldn't love the chance to try...
    • "When was the last US-based Anime convention this guy went to? You could engrave the katakana for "Super Happy Fun Watermelon Millard Fillmore" on a bologna sandwich, leave it out on the dealers floor, and someone will buy it for $50."

      In what way do you think anime fans represent American gamers? Even for the larger set of 'Yeah, Japanese gadgets are pretty cool' people, from Japan does not equate to good. What kind of numbnut goes out and buys a video game just because it came from a Japanese company? Peop
      • There's a reason why some people are anime fanatics.

        - In North America, anything animated = kids stuff (people still havn't figured out that you can have a mature story made in animation).
        - In North America, anything animated needs stand-alone episodes, not an ongoing series.

        Like TFA says... people in North America are attracted to fun stuff regardless of it's origin. Anime is more diverse and engaging than anything produced in North America. Hence you can attract more people to it.

        Games are completely diff
        • Anime is more diverse and engaging than anything produced in North America

          Definitely! From "schoolgirl fights robots" to "awkward kid fights robots" to "awkward has a pathetic crush on a schoolgirl but can't get the nerve to do or say anything about it," anime definitely has a huge range of scenarios. No way North America or Canada could compete with that creative output. The fact that it's all aimed at older teenagers show it's much more sophisticated than American cartoons, which are aimed at younger

          • There are other "genres" than what you describe. They just mostly arn't shown on TVs.

            You'd never have anything remotely close to drama, horror, psychological, love, heck even XXX sex movies...

            Perfect Blue, Tokyo GodFathers, Serial Experiments Lain, Grave of the Fireflies, Ghost in the Shell, Wings of Honneamise, BoogiePop Phantom are all example of different genres that you'd never see produced in North America.
  • Breakdown, please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fujiman (912957) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:28PM (#15745993)
    FTA:
    A slightly better indicator of Xbox Live's health would be the percentage of owners paying for Xbox Live Gold. GameDaily BIZ queried an Xbox representative on this information, but we could only get the following response: "We aren't announcing how many of the 60% are gold and silver."

    I agree... doesn't *everyone* have Silver by default? This just means that 60% of 360 owners have it hooked up to the internet, right? I wouldn't mind knowing how many are putting down money for it. Either way, Gold is a good bargain if you want to play online. MS just needs more Co-op / MP games worth the $5/month.

    • I think the majority of it are silver owners. I read somewhere on Gamefaqs a post comparing the DS Wi-Fi usage compared to Live users. And they were pretty close. The significant amount of Live users were on silver though.
    • Re:Breakdown, please (Score:5, Interesting)

      by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @03:43PM (#15746111) Homepage
      Yeah the numbers are skewed.. though the Silver accounts are free you still have to SIGN UP for it and the console is quite content playing games without a silver account. Of course it doesn't make any sense to NOT do it considering the vast number of features you're missing out on. Even still I know a good 5 or 6 people IRL who own Xbox 360s and have no Xbox Live account at all, some of them don't even have broadband... heathens!

      I'm on the other side of the spectrum. I have a Gold account, and my significant other has a Gold account too. I also have 2 Silver accounts registered as Europe and Japan so I can access the marketplace content from those countries AND I have 4 or so other Silver accounts that were made by some of my friends who frequently come over to play the console despite not owning one themselves. So on my console alone I have 8 Xbox Live accounts... I know quite a few other people who've made multiple Silver accounts for accessing other marketplace content or for friends to use etc.

      So the real question is: does that 60% represent the percent of consoles that have one or more accounts on it, or does that 60% represent the total number of accounts over the total number of consoles?
  • The 360 may not need Japanese developers.

    I as a game buyer certainly do, as without games like Ico or Katmari Damacy I'd hardly want to own a console.

    So while at the same time as the 360 is proclaiming it only needs American ports of PC WWII games to survive, I am hoping the previous news I have read about PS3 region coding for games is true and America and the US are in the same region, so we can import some japanese games directly without modding the console.

    In fact, is not Team Ninja from Japan? Who cou
    • I believe you meant "I am hoping the previous news I have read about PS3 region coding for games is true and JAPAN and the US are in the same region, so we can import some japanese games directly without modding the console."... but I may be mistaken :]

      I would hope they make US and America the same region, otherwise a lot of people are going to be awfully confused.
  • by 2008 (900939) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @04:05PM (#15746231) Journal
    Why ask American analysts about the Xbox in Japan when you could ask some actual Japanese people? They have games journalists over there, how about getting their opinions?

  • I kept hoping (and still do to some extent) that as the game industry grew, the percentage of games offered in both Japan and the US (among other regions) would increase. This seemed to be true for a while when more and more games had simultaneous releases in different regions and when I started to see more random Japanese games on the market. For MS to think that it doesn't need a Japanese market seems like the start of a slippery slope to me. What if Sony starts to think that they don't need the Americ

    • As someone who loves RPGs, that thought is as scary to me as MS giving up on the Japanese market is to avid Japanese 360 owners.

      the 3 x360 japanese owners are scared shitless already... :]
    • That seems ridiculous, but if US$600 isn't too much for most of Japan so the PS3 sells well there while it fails to sell in the US, it becomes more plausible.

      The question is more along the lines of, is $500 too much for most japanese gamers? For that's how much the base unit is. And despite the japanese prediliction for technology there is not much about the $600 PS3 model that is $100 more compelling, especially so since $500 is still rather expensive and I'd rather have that $100 go towards games than a

  • I picked up a xbox360 shortly after launch, of which I was excited about the aspects of XBox Live. I signed up for the free 30 day trial, which converted into a full account after the 30 days if it's not canceled.

    I plugged in my credit card and my xbox live gold account was activated. About 2 months later I started getting errors on my login when I would turn on my xbox360. I remembered my wife having lost her debit card, the bank re-issued new cards to us and that the information on the card was change
    • i had a similar experience with my old xbox1 live account.

      my bank was bought out and i needed to update my card number for all of my accounts. of course i forgot to update my xbox live account, so i had to go through the same arduous task of reassigning a new card to my live account. i tried to do it via the live interface on the xbox, but eventually had to call in.
    • It could be worse than the WoW example. I wonder if you would also be looked out of any content you purchased with your account if it is closed. Who knows what kinds of license they have with downloaded content. I do remember Valve locking people out of their steam account and access to Half-Life and Counterstrike after they tried using a pirated Half-Life 2 cd-key that it is rumered that Valve seeded to several pirate community sites.
  • Precluded Success? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @10:05PM (#15747663) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    "I don't think that this is [Microsoft's] fault. They have tried as hard as they can to succeed, but cultural bias has precluded success."

    Now, I'm not saying that it's easy to make a name for yourself in the Japanese market. However, it's hardly impossible. One need only look at the success of Disney and the iPod in Japan to see that foreign companies can do well. It takes more than "trying hard", it takes trying right. If a brick wall only 3 feet across were laid in Microsoft's path, they'd bang their head into it until it crumbled rather than walk around it like sanity dictates. Microsoft may have touched on things they need to do to capture the hearts of Japanese gamers, but they certainly haven't shown they understand well what they should be doing.

    The unfortunate truth these analysts dance around is the long term problems Microsoft faces if they can't make inroads into Japan. If Nintendo and Sony are allowed to repeatedly capture the Japanese market with no contest but each other, they will both have an unchallenged supply of resources to combat Microsoft with on American and European soil. If Microsoft can only fight on the defensive their only hope is for the Japanese market to dry up, leaving Nintendo and Sony without their reserves. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Nintendo has done a decent job of revitalizing the Japanese market. With both Sony and Nintendo having records of previous US market dominance, Microsoft NEEDS to be able to take a significant portion of Japanese marketshare or they will eventually lose by attrition.

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