Why Do Japanese Gamers Hate Xbox So Much?

Once again, Microsoft can't seem to sell an Xbox platform in Japan. But why is this an enduring trend?

Let's face it: You can't even give away an Xbox platform in Japan, let alone sell it.

From the start, this brand simply hasn't fared well in the Land of the Rising Sun. The new Xbox One just launched in Japan and surprise, surprise...nobody seems to want it. For some relatively amusing images, check DualShockers.

But there has to be a reason for this continued indifference toward Xbox. There have to be multiple reasons, in fact. Granted, the Xbox brand has really only managed to secure a #1 status in North America (where the Xbox 360 dominated for years). Elsewhere, it's nowhere near as popular; Europe has always favored PlayStation, for instance. In Japan, it's always Nintendo and Sony, and Xbox is continually at the bottom of the totem pole in Japan. And objectively speaking, the Xbox One doesn't really deserve all the flak it gets.

So, what's the deal?

It can't be entirely due to national pride

Yes, Sony and Nintendo are Japanese companies and Microsoft isn't. Those who have visited Japan and are familiar with their culture are aware of their fierce pride and loyalty. They will invariably back a domestic company as opposed to a foreign one (in most instances). However, to have such a massive discrepancy between Xbox and PlayStation/Nintendo, this can't be the only reason. There are plenty of Japanese citizens who have no problem with Microsoft or Xbox.

Besides, we've seen Japanese gamers shun various Sony and Nintendo products over the years. There really does need to be a legitimate reason to buy something - the Vita has had trouble, and for good reason - so it's unfair to say the Japanese blindly buy anything Japanese. No, there's more to this complicated equation, and it may have something to do with the available software.

Obviously, Xbox has never had a heck of a lot of Japanese-centric software

If you want Japanese RPGs, for example, or if you want distinctly Japanese-styled games (those that feature anime or manga, for instance), there's not much reason to own an Xbox. I'm not saying the brand has never had such games; I remember when they tried to get Japanese gamers interested in the 360 by giving them Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. It actually worked...for a little while. For the most part, if you want certain games - titles include the likes of DisgaeaDanganronpaTales of Xillia, etc. - you need a PlayStation console. And for the Nintendo mascots, you know you need a Nintendo platform.

This is probably the biggest reason why Xbox doesn't fare well in Japan. In fact, we've seen faltering PS4 sales in Japan as well, and many believe it's largely due to the lack of Japanese software for Sony's new console. Once that starts to arrive, sales should rise. But what games will make Japanese gamers buy an Xbox? Titanfall? Uh, probably not.

Interestingly, the tastes of Japanese gamers HAVE changed a bit

If you look at the sales charts for Japan over the years, you will see a change. There was a time when all Japanese titles dominated; if it was made by a Western developer, it barely registered. But those times are long gone. Big games like Grand Theft Auto and Watch Dogs do very well over there, as do many of the shooters and top-tier games like The Last Of Us and Tomb Raider. Over the years, Japanese gamers have expressed more interested in Western-oriented titles.

One could argue that they've had no choice, as the best productions in the industry are typically Western. Even Japanese developers don't deny this unfortunate decline in the quality of their games. That being said, it's still clear that Japanese gamers would rather play those Western-developed multiplatform games on a PlayStation console as opposed to an Xbox console. Will it ever change? You know, I doubt it.

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

Published Sep. 4th 2014
  • rob_3812
    Japanese game players have baught a PS4 7 months ago and got satisfied with it.
    It's too late.
    Micrsoft knows that, so they don't pay for advertisement, so most ordinary Jpanese people don't know that it has been launched already.
  • k_7610
    Even ps3 wasn't sold well in japan.And ps4 dosen't seem to be success at all.Recently people in japan don't buy gameming platform. They play games on smart phones.
  • kato_5972
    xbox many games and services unreleased in Japan.
    if japanese need these games,they can buy PC or PS3 version.
    or use other coutry account of the United States and Canada.
    Who do you prefer inconvenient console like this?
    ...only for exclusive software.
    Community of 360, grown for idol master,Halo,GoW,forza in japan
    but idol master has gone PS,Halo and GoW is dead.
    I was a fan of the 360, but I decided to forsake XBONE.

    I liked the XBLA, but more to the PC has been enhanced to such games
    Nor does it suffer from unreleased
    XBOXONE not bad.but japanese xbox team too bad.I untrusted them.

    if PS3 service too bad in your coutry,can you trust PS4?
  • Loleta_3328
    Why M$ even bother at this point with the "Xbox" thing ?
    Are they doing this just to mess up with Sony by being an obstacle to moneyhat some Japanese titles like they did last gen , or they just mindlessly does that for no reason ?
    I highly doubt they would repeat the same situation like last gen , their system is failure in their why can't they just admit that already , do they hate to admit that ?
    Why even moneyhat the Japanese titles if there's no goal or potential to their pointless console , i still don't understand the arrogance behind this :\
  • Brian_5428
    It's smart to hate Microsoft and the Xbone. Microsoft is a horrible company that doesn't believe in competition. They think it's their job to kill all other companies. And the Xbone is a piece of crap. What a huge waste of money for everyone who buys that turd. Japanese gamers are too smart to be fooled by Microsoft.
  • cim_8065
    In Japan if you had a choice of Nintendo or Playstation why would you pick an Xbox? If you have a PC its even more worthless.
  • Woden_8709
    Might also be down to the fact that you dropped two nukes on em and there are people still alive who remember it!
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    But what about Pearl Harbor, plus I don't think anyone who was alive during WWII is very interested in video games. Of course I'm sure there are exceptions but I would assume it's something like 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of them don't play video games haha.
  • MightyMcG
    Better question is why is this even an article considering the answer is so obvious.
  • Marty_1989
    Try Xbox Ones Crap, Japs are tech savvy and favour the PS4.

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