Xbox One has launched in Japan, and the numbers are dismal. The system has only sold 23,562 units within its first week, according to Famitsu. This is only half what the Xbox 360 sold in the same amount of time.
But perhaps more worrying is how this compares to other consoles. According to Polygon, these are the lowest sales numbers of any console in recent memory. The PS4 sold 322,000 and even the Wii U sold 308,000.
We Knew It’d Be Low Numbers, But This Bad?
Truth be told, this is only partially surprising. Microsoft has always struggled to gain ground in the Japanese market. However, the fact that the Xbox One is only doing half as well as its predecessor is the most telling factor of all. As production costs have soared (both for consoles and games), the industry has been playing it safe. For years, big AAA titles have mimicked flashy Hollywood action movies, hoping to achieve the broad international appeal those films have achieved.
But as the Xbox One launch is showing, that might not be enough. Looking at the games Japanese gamers have to choose from at launch, very few of them look like they appeal to a Japanese audience primarily. In fact, the vast majority of them appeal to a mish-mash American gamers first.
While Microsoft’s previous efforts to reach out to Japanese audiences specifically have not always been successful (does anybody remember Blue Dragon?), they were certainly better than the company’s recent efforts.