Why did the Xbox fail to make it in Japan?
Bill Gates holding a Burger, a Controller, and an L.
It's Monday, and you know what that means. A new video, and the first one in weeks that isn't about Final Fantasy VIII! Instead, it's about the rather mixed (some would say mostly negative) fortunes of the Xbox consoles in Japan. This was kind of inspired by a fairly recent article detailing how, one week last January, Microsoft manageed to sell no less than ninety-nine Xbox Ones -- a colossal failure by any possible measure. Thankfully though, it's not like Microsoft always didn't give a hoot.
This video is a good chance to have a quick look at some of the games that were released on the Xbox with an eye on the Japanese market -- such as say, Dead or Alive 3 (the best selling game on the original Xbox in Japan), Ninja Gaiden and Panzer Dragoon Orta, although researching for the video did bring up some surprising factoids, such as Halo being slightly more of a success in Japan than you'd think. Although "success" is a relative term when you're talking about a console that was routinely outsold by the nine-year old PlayStation week in, week out.
It's hard to really overstate just how difficult Microsoft's task here was. It was pretty difficult in the first place to come in to a worldwide video game console market that was already dominated by Japanese companies, but to try and succeed in Japan itself was nigh-on impossible for many reasons. Getting Hironobu Sakaguchi on board did help a bit though -- the games of Mistwalker Studios played a large part in getting more JRPG's onto the platform when the Xbox 360 came around, meaning that Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey get a bit of an extended look in this video.
A special Japanese-only Blue Dragon 360 actually sold out pretty sharpish, believe it or not.
This was quite a nice little video to explore, and get back to the documentary side of things...I guess the part about this I like the most is that Microsoft are a massive freaking company. The Xbox was launched by Bill Gates himself in 2001 at the Tokyo Game Show, and he's the richest man in the world. But the story of the Xbox in Japan turns Microsoft into a huge underdog -- suddenly they transform from Hulk Hogan into the Brooklyn Brawler. It's a nice little role reversal! Anyway, do go check the video out at the top there -- it's a lot of fun.