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The New Japan 360 Plan 111

Gamespot lays out Microsoft's new plan for the 360 in Japan. They're not taking the initial cool reception for their console lying down. Initiatives include new games, an emphasis on the Live system, and updates on ongoing projects that appeal to Japanese gamers. From the article: "Taking time out from development work on a clutch of Xbox 360-exclusive RPGs, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi gave a progress report on a number of projects underway at his Mistwalker development company. His first game, Blue Dragon, is on track for a 2006 release. Sakaguchi says the game is playable and his team is currently focused on game balance and presentation. Sakaguchi's second game, Lost Odyssey, is slated for a 2007 launch."
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The New Japan 360 Plan

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  • Playing catch up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShadowsHawk ( 916454 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:50PM (#15078543)
    Why does it seem like both Sony and MS are trying to play catch up with each other? At this rate, they will be running in circles while Nintendo walks right on by.
  • "New" Plan? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kuukai ( 865890 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:51PM (#15078557) Journal
    How exactly is this different than their old plan? These games have been in development for a while, and they've been "planning to succeed in Japan" since Xbox 1...
    • As long as they continue down their current path, the Xbox360 should do much better than the orginal Xbox. As long as they don't repeat the same mistakes.... Japanese gamers want Japanese made games (most of the time), and with things like Final Fantasy XI, the Mist Walker games and others they've announced, they may actually have a shot. Will they be number one? I seriously doubt it....they'll probably still be third place, but it shouldn't be quite as abysmal as their last go round.
      • Re:"New" Plan? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Perseid ( 660451 )
        The problem is, Square and Mistwalker both make a very expensive style of game, and why would they pursue exclusives on a machine that has less units? I think Sakaguchi is taking a big risk on supporting the 360 and I don't think it's going to pay off. I don't expect to see this support from these developers for very long.
        • Or they'll pull a "Well, it was exclusive for 6 months" maneuver, like other folks did for the Xbox 1 - and what developers have done on the PS2 and Gamecube. I wouldn't be surprised to see these games on the PS3 if they don't sell well on the 360.
    • Pretty much (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:56PM (#15079178)
      It seems like the XBox 360's plan all along, for as long as I've been paying attention to the thing, has been, at some point Mistwalker will release some games, and suddenly ill will and failure will become success and happiness and light, and Japan will love the XBox 360.

      I mean, Mistwalker's games will be coming out at about the same time as the PS3 and Nintendo Revolution, and will have to compete for hype time with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (coming soon for the Revolution) and Final Fantasy 13 (coming later for the PS3). But, hey, Blue Dragon is made by a Japanese person! The fact that it was made by a Japanese person means Japanese people will suddenly, instantly love it, right? It must be so!

      It kind of honestly seems to me like even now, Microsoft's plans aren't about succeeding in Japan. I mean, I'm sure they'd love to succeed in Japan. But that's not what their main goal is. Their main goal is about projecting the image, in the west, that they're succeeding or about to succeed in Japan. They don't care if it succeeds in Japan, but it is very very important to them that Americans think it's succeeding in Japan. This is just speculation, maybe Microsoft isn't really intending it this way, maybe they really just do believe that two JRPGs, by themselves, are enough to break into a Japanese market that otherwise has shown zero interest in the thing.

      But in effect, it looks to me like the chief beneficiary of the XBox Japan strategy isn't Japanese consumers, or even the Japanese XBox sales team. It's just a bone tossed to the Microsoft faithful in english-speaking countries, who can go on message boards and brag, see? See what a big impressive deal the XBox 360 is! It's taking over the markets! It's unstoppable! Even Japanese people love it! Well, OK. They're going to love it. Start loving it. Soon. Soon as that Mistwalker title comes out, they'll instantly go nuts for it. Just trust me.
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:51PM (#15078559)
    I saw the headlines and clicked the link.

    "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

    "Nice plan!" I thought and then I spontaneously got the joke (albeit unintended) and burst out laughing in a rather crowded office.

    Somehow this twist of fate with the server made my day... And got a few odd stares from coworkers.
  • by shadowmatter ( 734276 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:55PM (#15078601)
    From: Bill Gates <billgates@microsoft.com>
    To: employee-list@microsoft.com
    Re: New Japan 360 Plan

    1. ???
    2. Profit!
    • From: Lawyer Gnome <gnome_lawyer@underpants.com>
      To: Bill Gates <billgates@microsoft.com>
      Re: Re: New Japan 360 Plan

      We are suing you for stealing our business plan.
    • Actually, I managed to get a hold of the REAL memo. From: Bill Gates To: employee-list@microsoft.com Re: New Japan 360 Plan It has come to our attention that the original Xbox didn't do so well in Japan. As well we have been informed that the PS2 sales dominated the Japenese market. Our plan is simple to take over the Japanese market. If by the release of the PS3 we subsequently do not hold the major market share, we will purchase a large bomb, from our R&D department, and blow up Japan. If we c
    • New Ad for Xbox 360:

      Happy Fun Box 360!

      Only 200,000,000 Yen

      Caution: Happy Fun Box 360 may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

      Individual units may vary, and some Happy Fun Box 360s may have less than 360 degrees.

      Ingredients of Happy Fun Box 360 include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

      End-users are responsible for following any religious edicts, fatwas, or commandments proscribing use, contact, or depictions of Happy Fun Box 360.

      Keep Happy Fun Box 360 locked i
  • MS eyes Japan (Score:3, Informative)

    by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:55PM (#15078603)
    MS originally wanted to just blow off Japan. They scrapped every possible resource into hyping the U.S Launch - Japan didn't even get a single commercial or print ad.

    Now with Sony's timelines pushed even further back then expected, MS is hoping to catch them with their pants down. This is the real Japanese launch.
    • The real problem with the original XBOX was very simple - Japanese consumers preferred giving their money to Japanese companies (Sony & Nintendo). I think MS is gonna have a really hard time breaking that adoption barrier in Japan.
      • They need to recognize this, stop wasting their time in Japan, and concentrate on the U.S. and European markets (you know, where they're actually WANTED). While Bill & Co. are planning their Godzilla-esque takeover of Japan, stores are sitting here in the U.S. with no 360's on the shelf.

        TURN THOSE SHIPS AROUND, BILL!!!

        -Eric

      • That, and the machine itself was HUGE. The .jp love thier small stuff.
      • I don't think you can blame the consumer. The problem was really on a much higher level. Not only did the Xbox not have very many good games available in Japan (developer issues), they had even less being sold in stores (retailer issues). In 2004 (maybe I got there too late), even if you wanted to buy an Xbox, you could only buy like 5 (all secondhand) games for it in stores. As opposed to hundreds for Sega Saturn... Nationalism might be an issue on that level, I don't know, but I do know that even the
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:55PM (#15079721)
        I can't believe this guy is getting modded insightful.
        Japanese consumers preferred giving their money to Japanese companies (Sony & Nintendo).
        Which is why iPods are selling better in Japan over any other MP3 player, including Sony's. Or why German and French cars are very popular in Japan while American cars don't sell at all.

        If Americans gave up on their "oh, it's nationalism" excuse and actually tried to make products to fit the market instead of trying to shove it down their customers, they might actually be able to sell something.

        • A console tailored to the needs of developers seems like a hell of a product to me.

          Oh yea, it was shunned before it was even released by almost every Japanese developer, thus destroying its chances there.
        • ... actually i think it's a misconception too, but it has it's basis in truth.

          Cars, mp3 players and video games are different things.

          Entertainment media is very different from elsewhere in the globe. American cartoons don't go very well in Japan VS their own manga style for example.

          The same is true for video games. FPS and shooters arn't very much liked in Japan and japanese style RPGs are. Weird puzzle games and "pets" games that we never get outside Japan are liked too. Sony has the console that has the m
      • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:27PM (#15080061)
        Japanese consumers preferred giving their money to Japanese companies


        This has been proven an incorrect assumption by the success of the iPod. Japanese consumers prefer only the best whiz-bang product on the market, and by 'best', they mean 'what everyone else in Japan is buying'. In the US, Sony and Nintendo have approximately equal market share when it comes to the DS vs PSP, but in Japan it isn't even close -- DS is dominating, because 'everyone else is buying a DS'. It means that only the products that can capture the attention of the market will succeed in Japan. If Microsoft can give their console a foothold in Japan, the PS3 will never sell, just like Sony's mp3 player doesn't sell.
        • that the iPod had no real competitor. I didn't say "Japanese consumers don't buy foreign stuff" but that, given the choice of comparable products (PS2 and XBOX are clearly in the same category), they will pick the Japanese one.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            we can pretty much say ... that the iPod had no real competitor.

            Wrong. The Sony brand is extremely strong in Japan and they were in the portable music player business well before Apple came along. If Sony played their cards correctly Apple would have had no chance in that market. Instead Sony shot themselves in the foot and lost market share to Apple fair and square.

            given the choice of comparable products (PS2 and XBOX are clearly in the same category)

            Wrong. By the time the Xbox came out the PS2 wa

        • by Anonymous Coward
          "just like Sony's mp3 player doesn't sell."

          Be nice. It's called a PSP.
      • Uhh, no. They are happy to buy American products. Xbox did not have games that appealed to them. It was way too large and ugly to fit in the small living areas a majority of people live in. All MS needs to do is get good Japanes RPGs and they will do well. It's the games, stupid.
      • When Xbox360 got into the news in slashdot.jp [slashdot.jp](in Japanese language), everyone said, "There is little attractive software".

        I have iBook and iPod nano. I do not hate U.S.-made goods.
        However, I do not buy Xbox360 because there is no software that wants to play.
      • X-box = suxbox (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Oldsmobile ( 930596 )
        In Japanese atleast. I'm sure it has been mentioned before. In Asian culture, the character X is synonymous with all sorts of badness and is used by teachers to grade really bad papers and has connotations of death and whatnot.

        Another words, how about changing the name.

        Selling the X-box in Asia is like trying to sella a console for the American market named the "Suxbox", "Shitinabox" or "Crapconsoloe 360" or something to that effect.
      • The real problem with the original XBOX was very simple - Japanese consumers preferred giving their money to Japanese companies (Sony & Nintendo). I think MS is gonna have a really hard time breaking that adoption barrier in Japan.

        That argument is bullshit. In Japan buying something foreign is some kind of status symbol. It shows you're rich and cool, or something like that.

        The real reason Microsoft constantly fails in Japan is because they don't even try to properly localize their product lineup, ie. t
    • Au contraire.

      While I saw plenty of TV spots for Xbox 360 (that told me nothing about the console) I didn't see any print ads, only some in gaming magazines, natch. I'm not one to say "because this happened to me, this is how it is" but I would say most of Microsoft's push was into publicity on the 360, as that had to overshadow print ads no matter what region you're talking about. By publicity, I mean E3, press releases to gaming newssites large and small, as well as in-store placements, kiosks, etc. I'm wi
    • ...No, they will continue to fail, because the Japanese do not like American game companies. MS cannot succeed in Japan, period, end of story.
  • by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:09PM (#15078750) Journal
    (first, let me surpress the urge to say that the new plan for the Japan Xbox is videogame characters with 'very small penis'. ref: Southpark).

    I was pretty skeptical about the potential for this thing - in Japan, the US, elsewhere - because it had a really sucky launch lineup.

    But since I got mine on April 2, despite buying three games (COD2, Oblivion, GRAW), I have spent most of my time downloading and playing the demos that are FREE. I'm also a Natasha Beddingfield fan and appreciated the video download of her singing two songs.

    If MS can start distributing Movies and TV shows through this thing, that will be HUGE. And it seems like it's just a matter of them negotiating it.

    • I agree there is a lot of potential, but I also see a problem. I like downloading stuff from Live to check it out as well. However, it is SOOOO annoying that you cannot start a download and then just go back to your game while it continues to download in the background. Maybe not alow playing online games at most, but to have to sit there and watch the damn things download is pretty annoying when some of them are close to a gig. I tend to get board and just cancel and go back to playing something I alre
      • I totally agree. MS made OS's ten years ago that could handle this. Why can't 360? I let them know about this on their own forums very loudly. Didn't mention it here, but I do agree with you.
        • The problem is that when developers make console games their goal is to optimize so that they're using every nook and cranny of the system. Microsoft, therefore, can't let their Live service take any resources if a game is running, or else risk performance problems (up to and including crash mode) in the game. The only way they could have avoided that is to create a separate subsystem (including CPU and memory) through which things like background downloading could be processed. This would have increased
          • I used to think this too. But now that I've had some time with the system , I have to say this shouldn't be an issue.

            If you're downloading something, you're probably going to take a network hit. But the 360 could easily prioritize gaming packets over download packets, and even if you're losing 10% of your network capacity it should still fall within operating parameters.

            In terms of processor speeds, these things should degrade elegantly. Assuming the app is terribly written and takes up one-and-a-half pr
    • I have spent most of my time downloading...

      If only the 360 could download and do other stuff, then you might have a point. For example, I'm on dialup so if I'm downloading something, I plan on keeping it otherwise it's not worth leaving my computer on all night or cramping any online gaming/browsing all day. In the case of the 360 and Japan, broadband will make downloads quick but what the hell are you suppose to do in the mean time?

      If only the Xbox Live Arcade was available during that time, that'd still b
    • If MS can start distributing Movies and TV shows through this thing, that will be HUGE. And it seems like it's just a matter of them negotiating it.

      It will only happen if they are willing to cede control of the system to the users that are actually going to use it.

      I should be able to stream any media format the 360 knows how to decode from any device the 360 can talk to over TCP/IP. I should NOT be limited to streaming DRM-encrusted files only from a Windows Media Center PC, license sold separately, or fro
      • If it's a 1.1 through 1.4 (IIRC... maybe 1.3) Xbox you only need a conductive pen to reflash it. Well, that and a 32MB flash drive, a USB to Xbox cable, and an older copy of mechassult (?) or 007:AuF which is what I use. I have a 1.1 Xbox with the good dvdrom.
      • It will only happen if they are willing to cede control of the system to the users that are actually going to use it.

        Wha.... I just want to download a video, like from Itunes, and then watch it on the DVD I have the Xbox 360 hooked up to. Just who are you that speaks for us all?

    • "If MS can start distributing Movies and TV shows through this thing, that will be HUGE."

      Kids just want games, adults just want movies, and neither is all that interested in sharing with the other (I don't know about Japan, but most US homes have more than one television for just this reason).

      Even at the PS2 launch in Japan, when it was bought more as a DVD player than a game console, it didn't do all that well against honest-to-God DVD players.
      • Kids just want games, adults just want movies, and neither is all that interested in sharing with the other (I don't know about Japan, but most US homes have more than one television for just this reason).

        No, many adults want both. And adults are the ones buying the system. And it does a really good job with DVDs whears the PS2 was so bad at DVDs that Sony didn't sell the decoder hardware in any other DVD player is was selling at the time.

    • So... lemme get this straight. You would be happy to own a $400+ box that would give you the same thing you can get with on demand/PPV/MTV/VH1? Oh, and with the ability to play the equivalent of free online flash games for $5 a pop.

      I'm honestly not trolling or flamebaiting... I just don't get it. It is kind of like the same kind of arguments for the PSP to me.

      Japan has no interest in many of the things we think are cutting edge or cool, and likewise for us, I deal with a number of people and friends over th
      • You would be happy to own a $400+ box that would give you the same thing you can get with on demand/PPV/MTV/VH1? Oh, and with the ability to play the equivalent of free online flash games for $5 a pop.

        You have some misunderstandings.

        1 - I don't have On Demand or PPV. And On Demand is only available in certain areas. This thing is available wherever you have broadband and has an easy built-in billing and distribution system.

        2 - MTV/VH1? It seems to have more than that.

        3 - Actually, the 'free online flash

      • You would be happy to own a $400+ box that would give you the same thing you can get with on demand/PPV/MTV/VH1? Oh, and with the ability to play the equivalent of free online flash games for $5 a pop.

        Yeah, that's the kind of religious worship that surrounds Microsoft. (At least in some circles)

        One friend of mine also told how great VirtualPC was - even though VMWare did the same years ago.

        Some people just buy only Microsoft. They think they are creative, too because they never even try anything from

    • If MS can start distributing Movies and TV shows through this thing, that will be HUGE.

      Not really... what are you supposed to do, transfer it to your MCE PC and then burn it to DVD? I don't think they would even let you do that unless there was some sort of DRM they could write to the DVD, but I don't think that's possible without a DVD mastering device. Are you just going to watch them until you sell your XBox 360 in 5 years (or 4, MS is trying to shorten the cycle) when the new consoles come out? Are

      • Eh. I don't really have the desire to collect episodes of The Office. I just want to pay a dollar or so and watch them when I want on my HD tv. I don't even care to actually _own_ it.
  • It's nice to see them step it up, so we can really lay it on when they fail this time. It's like when some big-city hotshot comes to a cowtown and tries to start a business thinking he will just bowl over everyone... then he realizes, the cowtown thing isn't an act. Japan isn't going to just go, "Oh, yeah, now I see! The 360 is way better than our Japanese awesome stuff." Just like how Anime isn't going to bump the Dukes of Hazzard from reruns in B.F.Egypt, USA, where half the population still drives or
  • Strike Two! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rAiNsT0rm ( 877553 )
    I know and talk with a number of folks in Japan quite often, and most of them are tied to the videogame industry in one way or another or at least very hardcore gamers... their response... ::Cue Crickets::

    Blue Dragon is not the great savior MS keeps claiming it is. Public opinion and interest is non-existent. It is too expensive, too large, and offers no real compelling reasons to buy one especially with the force fed "Japanese" games Microsoft paid big bucks to churn out purely to pander to the Japanese. T
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It will be interesting to see what happens with the XBox 360 and the PS3 over the next 18 months. Lets face it, the XBox 360 is still-born in Japan and will likely never recover (regardless of how much money Microsoft throws at it); at the same time Sony may alienate 3/4 of gamers with the massive expense of the PS3 (assuming the price rumors are true). If this continues I can't see either console becoming nearly as dominant as the PS2, Playstation, SNES, NES or Atari were.

    I'm not going to bet money on it,
  • Plan A: Sell video game console with games nobody in market is interested in.

    Plan B: Sell video game console with games people in market are interested in.

    Plan B+: Sell video game console featuring the game all the kids are playing, Galaga!
  • So far the next generation console war reminds me a bit of the best of seven playoffs and a few World Series years. Just as one team is on the verge of elimination, the team on top makes some colossal blunder allowing the team on the ropes to steal a win. Often the team that's let back into the game this way, goes on to win the whole thing. Sony's delays may well have let Microsoft back into the game in the Japanese market. The Japanese still have a reputation for looking askance at foreign imports, but lik
    • I have no doubt that at least in Japan the Revolution will wipe the floor with the blood of the PS3 and the XBox 360. The only thing that knocked Nintendo off of their #1 spot was their refusal to go to disc media, not allowing for cut scenes, which practically MADE contemporary Japanese gaming. They lost Square because of it: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, the two biggest game series in Japan. And they lost 90% of the RPG and adventure game market. Now they're back, with a media fully capable of doing hou

    • Until the Japanese (and the world) realize thier old favorite Nintendo has a console that is 1/2 the price, fun, INNOVATIVE (where have we heard that claimed?) and has all the old games they loved, plus the crazy "Tomagatchi" style new games.
    • Sony's delays may well have let Microsoft back into the game in the Japanese market.

      Sony's 6 year-old Playstation 2 currently sells more than 20 (yes, that's "twenty") times as many units as the brand-new XBox360 a few months after launch.

      Sony could delay for another 10 years and not being threatened by Microsoft (regarding Nintendo, that's another story)

  • Goal Number One (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
    Start outselling the Gamecube [gamesarefun.com].

    Yeah, the 360 technically "outsold" the GC for this sales period. But the GC has sold about 33% more than the 360 this year (total).

  • by nmaster64 ( 867033 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @07:00PM (#15080736)
    ...that Microsoft's next-gen wonder is having to play catch-up with all the last-gen machines?

    It really doesn't matter what they do at this point, because unless they can magically convert half the country in another seven or eight months, the Revolution and PS3 are going to absolutely blow the 360 out of the country for good.

    Honestly, if the 360 can't beat the GAMECUBE, what hope does it stand against the PS3 and Revolution? Answer: None.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go read this before you display your ignorance. And for god's sake, please don't mod "The Japanese won't buy the 360 because they hate Americans" posts "insightful".

    http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2006/01/03 /the-xbox-360-and-japanese-nationalism/ [4colorrebellion.com]
  • If Microsoft can somehow coerce/bribe Square/Enix into making the next Dragon Quest game an Xbox 360 exclusive, that'd lock the Japanese market. Even the mere announcement would move units.

    Even MS might not be able to pull that one off, though.
  • It won't work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:44PM (#15081873)
    OK, I live in Japan, and have seen how things work here.

    Firstly, the Japanese are very collectivist. I don't mean to sound insulting or anything - they just are. They care about what everyone else does and thinks, and very often you see these kind of "collective decisions" being made, seemingly spontaneously across a huge market. That's why marketing is so incredibly important here - to try to influence this silent "decision". You can see it in the very, very high quality of japanese commercials compared to, well, anywhere else. It's really, really important.

    Now sometimes this behaviour is good, and sometimes it's bad. It's wonderful when some hot technology comes along and is just adopted by EVERYONE just like *that*. The right people saw it, they bought it, they told some more people, and like a chain reaction everyone loves that new thing. It just happens and it's amazing. The DS is like that. You can't buy one for love or money here in Tokyo.

    What you don't want to be is on the flip side of that coin, when your product is rejected by the group. A product at debut, especially a high-status/visibility item like the 360, has maybe 2 weeks to get that snowball rolling after launch. After that, the same effect can be seen, in the negative. The product becomes unpopular BECAUSE it is unpopular. And before you know it, everyone has just invisibly decided your product is a turkey and you know what? It is.

    That's what has now happened to the 360, just as it happened with the original. It is a LEPER in japan, there are piles of them sitting in every electronics store. I do not know a single person who has even mentioned them, and I hang around techie types. It is a leper, it will never sell, it has failed, game over, good luck next time.

    I should add that the marketing for the 360 was very poor. Seemed cheap and tacky, and the very colours of the 360 seem calculated to annoy japanese - americans might think the "alien green" is cool and x-treme but the japanese just think it's ugly and tacky, and that was yet another blow to the 360's chances right at the critical moment.

    Dead. Deceased. Pushing up the daisies. Nothing more you can say.

    thanks,

    Sho
    • the very colours of the 360 seem calculated to annoy japanese - americans might think the "alien green" is cool and x-treme but the japanese just think it's ugly and tacky

      They're not the only ones. Loathsome ugly bloody thing that it is...

    • You some how think that is different than America or any other country?

      People here do the exact same thing. They try to copy others and be hip by doing what other people think is hip.

      Would you send you 10 year old son to school with a DS and a copy of Princess Peach... in America? I wouldn't.

      Would you send him to school with a PSP? Fuck yeah. He'd considered be cool.

      I'm not saying this is true ALL of the time for everybody and everything so don't get me wrong.
  • MS and Japan... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cluke ( 30394 ) on Friday April 07, 2006 @04:34AM (#15082786)
    This is like when you say something you think is hilarious, but nobody laughs, so you think they just didn't hear you right, so you say it again. Turns out no-one was laughing because they didn't think it was funny in the first place.
  • Forget the games, just bundle a Japanese model with each XBox360.

    http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/xbox-360/japanese-gir ls-on-xbox-live-no-really-164852.php [kotaku.com]

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