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CNBC why Xbox failed in Japan?

nikolino840

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I found a summary on resetera (Jawmuncher's post)

Highlights on OG Xbox

- Bill Gates pushed Xbox due to Software being important for the MS Brand
- Originally wanted to partner with Sony (Was rejected thus leading to the Xbox)
- Mitsumi (PS2 circuit board manufacturer) didn't work well with MS (Denied smaller boards)
- There was never an intention to "win" Japan with the OG Xbox, they just wanted to be taken seriously in the gaming space
- Japan was more important for it's software revenue that could benefit the console in other regions than what it actually sold in Japan
- Original Xbox Console was considered too bulky for Japanese Homes (Even the MS Japan team didn't like the design)
- Original Xbox missed the holiday sales period (Launched in Feb 2002)
- Developers scared to take a gamble on the console after such long ties with Nintendo & Sony
- The Original xbox was seen as invasive on (at the time) a mostly led Japanese Market

360 Era (Their Most Successful Console in Japan)
- Japanese Design Firm designed the original 360
- Numerous Japanese Developers on-board to make content
- Launched before PS3 to drive sales

Xbox One Era
- 46.9 Million X1's with 0.3% of that being sold in Japan
- Streaming is seen as a key factor in Xbox Growing in Japan
 
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Kazza

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Obligatory:



But serious;y, interesting video, thanks for posting. I wonder how much effort Xbox will put into the Japanese market next gen. Will they get more Japanese developers on board this time?
 
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K1Expwy

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Censored gaming made a video on this last year:


Some American products catch on, some don't.

Still, the original Xbox was a fantastic console, home to some of the greatest Japanese games ever made.
I like Censored Gaming, but that video regurgitated a lot of misinformation. The CNBC video is more grounded in reality
 

newtypepilot

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they lacked the games.

And the xbone was designed for an average american-sized living home, which is MUCH bigger than those in Japan.
 
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Bryank75

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The video seems quite bullish on the Xbox brand and streaming. It's clear to me that whoever wrote the piece doesn't really understand console gaming... That the games are incredibly important and exclusives etc create an identity for the brand. Streaming is not an alternative to console and never will be and delivery will always be secondary to games.

The lady speaking is super annoying imo.
 
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Miku Miku

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Xbox was only ever interesting to me because of Japanese games. I got the first one when it was starting off as a Dreamcast 2, picking up a lot of Sega titles left out in the cold like Panzer Dragoon and Gunvalkyrie. Itagaki made it a must have system too with Ninja Gaiden. It had the best version of Soul Calibur 2 also. I got a 360 before a PS3, with it's better price point and full lineup of compelling Japanese games like Ninja Gaiden 2, Tenchu Z, The Last Remnant and more. The only thing that ever made me want one is exclusives, and they basically gave up on that. If I ever get one down the line, it'll be for game pass which genuinely does seem compelling to me. I almost got one just for Ninja Gaiden 2 in 4k, and I may get it down the road if it's much cheaper.
 
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FranXico

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The video seems quite bullish on the Xbox brand and streaming. It's clear to me that whoever wrote the piece doesn't really understand console gaming... That the games are incredibly important and exclusives etc create an identity for the brand. Streaming is not an alternative to console and never will be and delivery will always be secondary to games.

The lady speaking is super annoying imo.
The CNBC video does a very superficial analysis of the situation. Understandable, given the format.

Also, concluding by stating how important streaming is going to be, mentions the MS-Sony partnership ("thanks to Microsoft's cloud") but fails to even acknowledge that Sony has been doing streaming for years... :unsure:
 
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Ten_Fold

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I just figured it was Japanese and at the time had very little Japanese games, also FFX was on the ps2 soooo yeah.
 

Xenon

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So long as they don't give them the Rare treatment.

By that you mean fund multiple projects that had nothing to do with what made the company so successful. I'm pretty sure MS did not shell out all that cash for grabbed by the goolies and viva pinata. It's also not MS fault that Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero and Banjo failed tho live up to expectations. MS big mistake with Rare was not taking more control earlier.
 

JohannCK

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I've seen all sorts of wacky explanations from people who have no idea what they're talking about like "it's a cultural thing, X is bad luck and brings misfortune and disgraces your ancestors in Oriental culture!" and "the Japanese are racist and hate American brands!" (seriously).

It really just boils down to how they had no games for Japan.

The Xbox had a couple of obscure titles from From Software that were far from anything close to being killer titles and Tekki/Steel Battalion.

The 360 to this day is called a "console only for Idolmaster".

I can't think of a single exclusive for the Xbox One that would get Japan interested enough to sell the console.

They're mostly regarded as consoles for people who like western games, but most of the people who like western games in Japan gravitate to PC.
 
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diffusionx

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I can't think of a single exclusive for the Xbox One that would get Japan interested enough to sell the console.
It doesn't have many exclusives for the USA either, hence the fact that MS' console strategy totally collapsed this gen.

They did make a major effort to appeal to Japanese for the 360 IIRC - the system was designed to be more compact, they got games like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, etc., but it wasn't enough. But this was also by the time the two markets really started diverging. IIRC the Japanese gravitated much more to the handhelds around that time, which of course MS did not have.

Also - apparently Sony has sold a grand total of 8 million PS4s in Japan? That is damn near irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. If I was making a console I wouldn't even try to sell to the Japanese market, to be honest.
 
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Havoc2049

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It really just boils down to how they had no games for Japan.

The Xbox had a couple of obscure titles from From Software that were far from anything close to being killer titles and Tekki/Steel Battalion.
The OG Xbox had tons of games from Sega and Tecmo, with many of them being exclusive titles. There are also quite a few games from Koei, Namco, Capcom, Konami and SNK on the OG Xbox. Where the OG Xbox was lacking was the JRPG department, as it only had on big name JRPG in Phantasy Star Online Ep. I & II and a couple obscure JRPGs. IMO, as far as quality goes, the OG Xbox has better Japanese games than the X360 and XB1 combined.

Some Tecmo-XB love from my collection:


 
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Bakkus

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iPhone says hi.

Contrary to the popular belief, it's not a matter of "racism" against American products.
I never said or even insinuated that in any way. Also, was Iphone a success from day one or did Apple have to first include more Japan centric features for it to eventually become that?
 

McRazzle

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Censored gaming made a video on this last year:


Some American products catch on, some don't.

Still, the original Xbox was a fantastic console, home to some of the greatest Japanese games ever made.
There is a segment on the Censored Gaming video about Japanese gamers not wanting scratched games due to lowering the resale value. Is that the reason Nintendo doesn't want to lower their prices and is concerned about maintaining their value?
 

CurryPanda

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I never said or even insinuated that in any way. Also, was Iphone a success from day one or did Apple have to first include more Japan centric features for it to eventually become that?
 

Negotiator

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I never said or even insinuated that in any way. Also, was Iphone a success from day one or did Apple have to first include more Japan centric features for it to eventually become that?
I didn't mean that you said that, it was more of a general statement. Sure, Japan loves their own products (just like America and any other country), but it's not like they're totally immune to western influences.

XBOX failed mainly because it's a bulky, American-centric console. XBOX 360 tried to rectify some of those mistakes, but MS didn't follow up.

iPhone is sleek and sexy, so it seems like a perfect fit for commuters in Japan. It's a cool mobile gadget, just like the 3DS and the Switch.
 

jono51

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the reason xbox failed in japan is the same reason most foreign brands fail in japan: their entire economy is one big ponzi scheme
they have massive debt, long term stagflation and a declining birthrate. if they don't buy japanese, and instead give their money to foreign companies, their entire economy will go bust.
 
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So it's not the fault of anybody at MS?

I loved the OG xbox, but it really was bulky, the first version of the controller was horrible, etc. and it got destroyed in every territory.

MS just dropped the ball in the 360 era, even more so after releasing the one.

I never said or even insinuated that in any way. Also, was Iphone a success from day one or did Apple have to first include more Japan centric features for it to eventually become that?
Well, most companies that have some level international presence do at least something to cater to local markets, even Mcdonald's has some different offerings depending where you live. So maybe MS should take the hint.



I would not completely deny the external factors (excuses really)

Streaming is not an alternative to console and never will be and delivery will always be secondary to games.
I'm no fan of streaming, but I would not completely dismiss it right away, or even bet against it, a low entry point can make a huge difference.

listed in the OG, but when you are paid millions of $ a year to figure out how to get a hold of a specific market the least you can do is try to account for those in an effective manner, nothing listed in the excuses above was unpredictable or even surprising.
 
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Bryank75

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you may sound silly looking back from the future
I'm willing to stand up for the future I want. Looking silly is not a concern, who want's to hand ownership over to corporations and diminish the value of games....

Streaming is not the future I want, I am willing to take my money off the table if that seems like it's inevitable.
I will also try to convince as many as possible to do the same. My kids will get other toys.... I'm very serious about this.
 

Wolfgang Jr

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But they made the Controller S just for Japan because of asian feminine hands 😥
 
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DeepEnigma

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I'm willing to stand up for the future I want. Looking silly is not a concern, who want's to hand ownership over to corporations and diminish the value of games....

Streaming is not the future I want, I am willing to take my money off the table if that seems like it's inevitable.
I will also try to convince as many as possible to do the same. My kids will get other toys.... I'm very serious about this.
Ditto.
 

Turkey Master Baster

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They should have just marketed it as the "Yankii" Console and it would have done well.

To be honest, there are more Western loving Japanese fans than most realise, it is just that the MS branding is that bad over there.
 

Kenpachii

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Pretty sure xbox was a console seen as a replacement for PC gaming. A cheap PC.

Pretty sure Japan didn't had much PC going on at all which made xbox kinda pointless. Specially when bigger brands already offered what they wanted.
 

Freedom Gate Co.

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The Xbox failed in Japan because it wasn't Japanese and you already had One new juggernaut that has proven itself the generation before (Sony) and juggernaut that was advertising a massive comeback that was an established name (Nintendo) and a niche local brand that never really gained any real ground but made it hard for anyone else to come in (Sega) with the other thought to be household name leaving the industry the previous gen (NEC.)

People like to compare Xbox to the Iphone to dismiss the argument that it's because the Xbox wasn't Japanese, but that';s not a logical argument to make, the Iphone was years later, most smartphone companies adapted from its design, and it was in a broader market in an industry considered a necessity more and more not a luxury.

the video game market in Japan was different in America, where there was never really any loyalties even for any one generation.

In America, Atari/Coleco/Intelvision were kings with Coleco being the last one standing. When Nintendo entered people still went back and brought Ataris before the NES finally completely overshadowed it after 88. The the genesis was the main favorite before Sega started making mistakes giving a slight victory to Nintendo at the end, then Sega collapsed and the N64 only made relatively marginal ground as new comer Sony mopped up.

In this type of environment someone like Microsoft coming in with new styles of games, PC developers, and bad ass hardware has a place to jump in, and did.

In Japan you had Nintendo domination for 2 eras with the TG16 by EC possibly seen as the new champion who took too long to come out with a successor and instead focused on ad-ons, then released a flop consoles that crashed and burned. Sega never really managed to get anywhere, leaving a struggling Sega, a new comer, Sony, which was extremely popular with 5x the library, and a Nintendo that entered in late with multiple delays.

Now with Nintendo making a comeback, Sony expected to continue dominating, and the Dreamcast being a non-factor, the Xbox would need to convince the Japanese that the console that has completely different types of games not from japan and only 14% of its games being Japanese was better than the others.

The original Xbox couldn't even beat the 3DO in sales in japan, and 3DO knew the had to get Sanyo on board and to not sell the Korean LG branded 3DO or any other branded 3DO(at the time) in japan because they knew that the 3DO had to be as Japanese as possible to the average Japanese citizen. To the point where they had to pretend half their hits from Crash N Burn to Gex were anime games. But that only worked for a limited time, and once the initial Japanese wave of games started to come in the PSX already had like 4x the library of the 3DO) in japan because 3DO/Panasonic/LG/Sanyo combined couldn't outbid Sony on all those consoles exclusives.

The 360 was and will be the best any American machine will do for the foreseeable future, at least in terms of traditional hardware (unless they have some new massive plan foe the next Xbox which I doubt.)

With the original Xbox barely selling below 500k (3DO close to 800k) Sega dying, the PS2 doubling the PSX, and the GameCube hanging on by a good amount, and the costs of entry into the industry, as well as stocking discs on retails shelves rising insanely, that was the Xbox;s ONLY chance to carve out a foot hold, instead the initial games rush dried up, and everyone else In japan moved so far ahead in retailer presence and software support it was a done brand.

The 360 only beat that number because it not only released first and had tons of Price cuts, but they manged to pay off enough media to get some early pretense and Kinect kind of, sort of, helped later on.

Also in hindsight, the Xbox original losing to the 3DO is really telling since the Xbox had like 8x the attach rate, and software support yet sold nearly half as much during a time the market was bigger.
 

Azelover

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This probably been pointed out already, but they had a disc scratching issue early on, and they didn't treat the customers very well regarding it. That totally killed the Xbox in Japan.
 
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darkangel-212559

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Not having any decent actual JRPGS really hurt it imo. Very important for sales over in Japan. Xbox was just really catered for an American audience at the end of the day.
 
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