Microsoft Hopeful of 360 Success in Japan

Microsoft is cautiously optimistic about the Xbox 360 in Japan, which has traditionally been the toughest country to crack open for Microsoft since the days of the original Xbox. Resistance has been high, but in talking with Gamasutra, Microsoft Game Studios Corporate Vice President Shane Kim said that things are looking up.

The Japanese gaming community usually shuns the shooter genre of games, and is instead heavily dedicated to RPGs. This point was made clear by the Japanese release of the Xbox 360 RPG, Blue Dragon, in December 2006. The game has sold 133,000 copies, and no doubt, has added to the increasing user base of Microsoft’s game console.

Kim said, "…we’ve got to develop more great Japanese content from Japanese developers, and that’s why the partnership with [Hironobu] Sakaguchi (creator of the Final Fantasy series and Blue Dragon project supervisor) is so important…That all feeds on itself, and I think that while our expectations in Japan are still very realistic — Blue Dragon was a big success for us, and I think Lost Odyssey (another Xbox 360 RPG) will be an important success — those titles will also do well in the West."

The move by Microsoft to make video games which cater to the specific tastes of gamers in Japan is a far cry from the original strategy in 2002, when the original Xbox was launched there and shooters were the most prominent titles for the machine. The Xbox gained a respectable following in the United States with these titles, but did poorly in The Land of the Rising Sun. Microsoft has apparently learned that, in the case of selling Xbox 360s in Japan, the customer is always right.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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