Japanese Xbox 360 sales worse than sales of original Xbox
The Xbox 360 is faring worse in the Japanese market than the original Xbox, according to Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. Statistics published in a Famitsu report indicate that the Xbox 360 has sold an estimated 62,135 units in the two days following its release in Japan, compared to sales of 123,929 for the original Xbox in the three days following its Japanese release on February 22, 2002.
Microsoft’s strategy of selling the Xbox 360 at a loss and recouping profits through software royalties may also be in jeopardy: Xbox 360 games sales figures total only 0.91 games per console purchase.
The original Xbox, by contrast, achieved sales of 1.45 games per console sold.
Of the Japanese launch titles, Namco’s Ridge Racer 6 is proving to be most popular, with Perfect Dark Zero a distant second and Need for Speed: Most Wanted rounding out the top three.
The Xbox 360′s poor showing in Japan may be due in large part to the absence of a killer launch title, with Tecmo Inc’s Dead or Alive 4 now further delayed to December 29.
Retailers surveyed by Famitsu reported that many customers canceled their launch day Xbox 360 preorders upon learning of the DoA 4 delay, preferring instead to wait for DoA 4‘s release to buy the next-gen console.
Microsoft appears to be playing down the impact of the DoA 4 delay, with Xbox Marketing Director Peter Moore commenting,
“Yeah, I mean, you would like Dead or Alive 4 not to be a couple of weeks after launch.
But one thing I will never do, and Itagaki-san [famous Japanese game developer, creator of "Dead or Alive"] would never let me do, is rush a title out to meet launch [...]
A couple of weeks isn’t going to kill anybody, a year from now, everybody will have forgotten that it was two weeks after launch.”
Famitsu predicts that sales of the Xbox 360 will pick up in the New Year, following the release of DoA 4 and Enchant Arm.
Whether Microsoft can take full advantage of its six month headstart on rivals Sony and Nintendo may depend largely on the quality and popularity of Xbox 360 titles released to the Japanese market.
The Xbox 360′s launch has barely created a ripple in Japan, with sales figures at roughly 50% of what the Xbox achieved following its 2002 launch.
Even the presence of Microsoft bigwigs Peter Moore and Yoshihiro Maruyama at Shibuya Tsutaya for the launch failed to create a buzz (“Peter who??”).
The Microsoft execs must surely be sweating bullets in the knowledge that the very un-Japanese looking bulky black Xbox achieved fully double the launch sales of its sleek white successor.
Judging by the relative success of Namco’s Ridge Racer 6, it seems the Japanese prefer to stick with what they know: familiar games with an impeccable pedigree of Japanese development.
The impending Xbox 360 release of Tecmo Inc’s Dead or Alive 4, therefore, has now assumed do-or-die significance for the Xbox 360, with Microsoft no doubt banking on the DoA franchise’s huge popularity to drive sales of the Xbox 360.
A quick glance at sales figures for DoA 3 for the Xbox should, however, revive flagging hopes for the Xbox 360: DoA 3 sold 217,149 copies in Japan. Provided DoA 4 does as well for the Xbox 360, Microsoft can afford a little cautious optimism regarding the console’s future in Japan.
By Nicole Stiles, Xb360info.com writer