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Games For the 360's Japanese Comeback 78

Next Generation has an article looking at games that could save the Xbox 360 in Japan. Despite Microsoft's best efforts, the console is still puttering along with lackluster sales. Even with the country's diminished interest in the PS3, the 360 needs some big-name titles to get it back into the minds of Japanese consumers. From the article: "Blue Dragon is set up to be another stick of dynamite with Toriyama's name written on it, though how willing casual fans will be to pick it up depends entirely on its advertising campaign. In America, it's becoming a simple enough strategy to put a demo of something on Xbox Live and let it spread through word of mouth. This is not so possible in Japan, mostly because most people here don't have an Xbox 360. Polls for months have indicated that the majority of casual gamers would reserve their judgment of the 360 for when they could play Sakaguchi's games."
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Games For the 360's Japanese Comeback

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  • It's gonna take more than a few crappy RPGs to save a failing console. The 360 pretty much has no market share in Japan, and that won't be changing any time soon.
    • There, no, just a little right... yes, thats it. You had some Sony goo at the corner of your mouth.

      • Oh snap... Were you talking to me or the AC? Shit.
      • Re:What a crock... (Score:5, Informative)

        by badasscat ( 563442 ) <> on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:47PM (#15678045)
        There, no, just a little right... yes, thats it. You had some Sony goo at the corner of your mouth.

        You don't need to be pro-Sony in order to read a sales chart. Here are last week's console sales, for one example:

        Nintendo DS Lite - 153,566
        PSP - 25,935
        PS2 - 23,133
        Nintendo DS - 3,504
        Game Boy Advance SP - 2,919
        X360 - 1,897
        Game Boy Micro - 1,443
        GameCube - 1,002
        Game Boy Advance - 17
        Xbox - 8

        The DS lite sold around 80 times more units than the Xbox 360. The 6 year old PS2 sold more than ten times as many units.

        This is not going to change, ever. It's over, unless you can name one case in the history of game consoles where a year after launch, after languishing completely out of public consciousness for so long and so far behind the competition, a console has come roaring back to be a success. In any territory, much less Japan. It just doesn't happen. Places can change, a company that's in 1st place and slip to 2nd and vice versa, but never can a console just be so totally out of the popular culture and ever hope to challenge the big boys.

        This talk of "comeback" is a misnomer as well, because it implies that the situation was different at some point. In order to have a comeback, you have to have been popular before. That's not the case with the 360 in Japan. The 360 in Japan just has no place in popular consciousness - it's not that people hate it, it's that they just don't think about it. You can't reverse perceptions (a "comeback") if there's no perception to reverse. The 360 just isn't considered. And it's not for lack of marketing, either - MS has spent plenty of money on ads, to no avail.
        • Re:What a crock... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jstultz ( 697476 )
          This talk of "comeback" is a misnomer as well, because it implies that the situation was different at some point. In order to have a comeback, you have to have been popular before.
          Not really. If in a football game, one team is up, say, 35-0, and then the other team ends up winning, say, 42-35, I would certainly call that a comeback even though the team coming back was never ahead in the first place.
          • You see it all over in popular usage, but if you think about it for a minute you see it doesn't really make sense. Your example is more accurately described as a "come from behind" victory.
            • Well..unless it's a wierd game, you start off tied at 0.

              So technically is IS a comeback, up until you match the other team's score.

              Along the lines of: "And Team Y was was leading 3-1, but in a surprise comeback, X scored twice late in the third period, then went on to win it 4-3 in the overtime"
        • Re:What a crock... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Rayonic ( 462789 )
          Well, the Sega Genesis had a bit of a resurgence in Japan, if I recall. The console's popularity in the U.S. boosted its popularity in Japan.

          Also, the Nintendo DS itself has had somewhat of a resurgence. If you look at the weekly charts, the DS had a strong launch, but was slowly declining to PSP-level sales. Then, around the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, it really started to catch on.

          See: =0 []

          It's really hard to predict where cultural phenome
    • Why don't you define failing console. Just because the Japanese market has not been penetrated, does not mean that the 360 is a failure. Your post comes off as anti-Microsoft rhetoric with Nintendo or Sony fanboyism.

      And to address the "crappy RPG" comment, it's Japan. You might want to re-think that logic.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Psst. The 360 is doing WORSE than the original Xbox did in Japan. Graph (pops) []
  • Incorrect title (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:10PM (#15677528)
    Should read "Games for Zonk's Wishful Thinking about the 360's Japanese Comeback".

    First off, you can't "come back" when you never "came" to begin with. The most the 360 can hope for in Japan is to rise to acceptability from abject failure.

    Second off, remember 99 Nights? This was the first one of the "zomg for Japan!!" games the 360 got. It, too, was supposed to finally catch the attention of Japanese consumers and be the comeback point that kickstarted the 360's Japanese career. It bombed. Afterwards, the Americans who'd been talking about how excited Japan supposedly was for 99 Nights quietly dropped the subject. Now, Blue Dragon has better chances than 99 Nights ever did. But I still don't think its fate is going to be all that different from 99 Nights.

    Third, you realize that although this Sakaguchi guy came up with the basic game design, and the music was done by a famous Square veteran, the actual game being made by Artoon? The people who made Blinx. Blinx. Blinx! If the mere involvement of Sakaguchi in one game is supposed to be enough to save the XBox 360 from the brink of extinction, then the involvement of Artoon in that same game should be enough to sink it again.

    Microsoft's Japan strategy is more about America than it is about Japan. It's first off about providing some "Japanese-y" games for Microsoft's American customers to play, and second off about allowing pro-XBox 360 bloggers (like Zonk) to write endlessly about how the XBox 360 is going to do really well in Japan. It's absolutely clear and effortless to see that the XBox 360 is not doing really well in Japan, that the XBox 360 is doing even worse in Japan than the original XBox, but as long as the bloggers keep up the smokescreen it doesn't look that way if you're thousands of miles away in America and aren't actually paying attention...
  • Sony has been making PR blunders lately like Buster Keaton dropping his hat. -Racist Advertising Campaign (Whether or not it was intentional, people are screaming.) -Rootkit debacle (I'm STILL hearing news stories about this) -Introducing MORE new types of media in an extremely clogged market. The PSP sucks for the same reasons the PS3 will suck. Too pricy, too expensive to develop for, weird media no one wants to pay for or use. Maybe they will make the PS4 play a new type of memory stick. -Steadilky decli
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:16PM (#15677605) Homepage
    This isn't a comeback ... making a comeback implies you made it the first time.

    This is, what ... a do-over? a second-debut? Still trying not to get market share?

    It doesn't sound like they'd be making a re-surgence or anything like that, since they never surged in the first place.
  • by Lectrik ( 180902 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:23PM (#15677696)
    We all know the problem with selling the XBox or 360 in japan, it's because us americans have such large... controllers.
    They've just got controller envy.

    I welcome our new chinpokomon overlords
  • "Even with the country's diminished interest in the PS3"

    I think you're confusing Japan with the US.

    • The Japanese public's interest in the PS3 has been declining since E3 with Sony announcing Pricing. Through interest in the Wii is sky rocketing over there.
  • So? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maumedia ( 951250 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:13PM (#15678350)
    Increasingly, the best-selling games in North America are made by North American developers. Is there some kind of sick need for Japan to "approve" of the console to lend it credibility?

    If MS can make a business out of making a western console for a western market, all the power to them. Maybe it's time to play hard-to-get and let the japanese pine for imports and translations of the western hits. Or not, doesn't really effect me any.

    MS should concentrate on getting good games on the console for "any" territory, and stop worrying about the asian market. Blizzard seems to be doing well in China with almost no effort to adhere to some kind of asian sensibility, other than language translation. Good games are good games, regardless of territorial borders.
    • Increasingly, the best-selling games in North America

      Interesting. Got some data and analysis to go along with that? Or maybe you're just going to hope nobody calls you on it. Oh wait, looks like somebody did.
      • Sure []

        8 of the top 10 NA games in 2005 came from US developers, and were mostly sports games for NA leagues that I doubt would have much pull in Japan.

        All 10 of the top NA computer games were NA.

        Were you just hoping I wouldn't show up to defend myself?
        • Let me quote you again:

          Increasingly, the best-selling games in North America ...

          Okay, so now you've linked to an article that summarizes one year in gaming. How exactly does this show a trend?

          And on the subject of sports games, they are not a really good representation of this statistic. Their sales are artificially inflated by the nature of the genre. By this I mean game series that crank out a new title each year when all that's really been changed are the rosters.
          • I don't have to justify a trend to you, if you want to argue semantics, fine. Go look up competing statistics if you want to have an argument on fact. If you're too lazy to, stop piping up.

            Why do sports games not count? Maybe this is what North American's are buying, year after year, with only a roster change. Wouldn't all genre's love to have that kind of free ride.

            I was more curious why people continue to question why Microsoft is not accepted in Japan, when it's a north american company making games for
            • I don't have to justify a trend to you, if you want to argue semantics, fine. Go look up competing statistics if you want to have an argument on fact. If you're too lazy to, stop piping up.

              You are the one who has no facts. You made a claim. I questioned your claim, and you still have not produced an argument nor any data that would validate it. If you make a claim, you must be prepared to explain how you reached it.

              In addition, one does not need multiple sets of statistics to disagree on something. One
              • I linked to the appropriate data for 2005 that indicated the majority of the highest selling games in North America are by North American developers. That seems pretty self explanitory. If you don't have competing data, or haven't read the data I've linked, then you've failed to make any argument at all.

                North Americans, for the most part, purchase games by North American developers, regardless of what console they own. That was my opinion, and I linked to data to back that up.

                Now you want to agrue about how
                • Let me quote you again:

                  Increasingly, the best-selling games in North America are made by North American developers.

                  You linked to data for one point in time. How does that show a trend? Here's a hint: it doesn't.
    • "Is there some kind of sick need for Japan to 'approve' of the console to lend it credibility?"

      Arguably, all a console needs for credibility is satisfied customers and profitable sales.

      However, this article is all about the Console Wars and the console makers who compete so fiercely, there's only room for a handful of winners. Japan is still, to a great extent, the cultural nexus of console gaming. Two of the big three console companies are Japanese (as well as some big historical ones), and many key game d
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The 360 is doing so poorly in Japan that after seven months on the market the system still hasn't sold through its initial 150k shipment.

    And with the abysmal and shrinking sales the 360 is doing each week it is unlikely the system will ever get through the remaining 360s gathering dust on Japanese store shelves right now.

    One benefit of having the 360 failing so hard in Japan is it draws attention away from how hard the system is selling in the rest of the world. The latest confirmed by third party retail sa
    • by Silent sound ( 960334 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:43PM (#15678639)
      The latest confirmed by third party retail sales trackers puts the 360 at:
      130k in Japan, 1.6 million in the US, 700k in Europe


      What is your source on these numbers?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      A price drop will not help Microsoft in Japan.

      Even now the trade in value of a Xbox 360 is less than that of a Nintendo DS. Yes, and old portable that retails for $130 sells for more on the used market than a $500 next generation home console. If you want an Xbox 360 in Japan you already have far more than $100 off on the used market. Retailers don't even need to lock their display cases because they know tha nobody would steal and Xbox 360.

      The problem is games. Microsoft fucked themselves just like they di
  • Microsoft needs to sell it's Xbox division to a Japanese company. Said company will shrink the Xbox360 to human sizes, and THEN is might outsell the wonderswan ;)
  • Remove the microsoft logo and put on a Japanese companies name, no hardware or software lineup changes needed. I guarantee sales would quadruple overnight.
    • Ever considered it's the lack of games the japanese want?

      Maybe you should at least consider an alternative point of view: /the-xbox-360-and-japanese-nationalism/ []
    • Yeah, because Japan is just a nation of people who hate the US and fear its culture.

      Seriously, there are more amerigophiles in Japan than there are in the United States. They play baseball, fer cryin' out loud. It's not a matter of Microsoft not being a Japanese company, simply that Japan has different tastes in games than the US (they'll still consume American "culture" in mass quantities, just different parts that what is popular over here).

      Microsoft has a reputation for putting forward FPS-heavy consol
  • ...into making Shenmue 3. There is a waiting market and it might just show that a wholly American based company is willing to play to all markets rather than just the North American $
  • I have been to Tokyo twice in the last three years. At the time XBox was in stores across various consumer based stores and in the tech sector of Tokyo (Akihabura district - which is a geek haven to say the least). On an informal basis I repeatedly inquired about XBox sales. In general there really aren't any appreciable sales of XBox. Sony PlayStation2 and Nintendo boxes sell as one might expect, but XBox sales are virtually non-existent. Each sales person I talked to said they regularly sold Sony and

Forty two.