Japanese Xbox sales figures spell end for Eastern push?

Can Microsoft’s console recover from such a poor start in Japan?

Posted by Staff
Sales figures have been released in Japan chronicling the performance of the Xbox since it’s launch in the region, arguably the most important gaming territory in the world.

In the period between the machine’s launch on February 22 and March 31, the discerning Japanese gaming consumer base bought 190,092 machines, a disappointing figure by any standards. To put this figure into perspective, during the same time period, the Japanese bought an estimated 240,000 GamePark GP32 units, an obscure Korean handheld that has to be imported into the country.

This lacklustre start to the console’s run in Japan kicked off quite well with Techmo’s Dead or Alive 3, driving sales well in the territory, with the game getting an attach-rate of around 70%. Since then, the lack of a new killer-app tailored for the Japanese market has seen Xbox sales slump.

Disc-scratching issues caused some retailers to put sales of the Xbox on hold soon after launch, a terrible PR mess for Microsoft to deal with so early on. It’s initial, somewhat over-defensive stance over this was ill-conceived and may have put off possible Xbox purchasers. Realising this error, Microsoft quickly stated that “…the recall that wasn’t really a recall…”, and offered to replace any machines that were faulty and discs that had been damaged.

For reference, the Japanese bought 980,000 PlayStation 2 units in the three days following the machine’s launch.


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