Home console sales figures for the first week of April in Japan make for some of the most shocking reading in the recent history of the global gaming industry.
The unit sales breakdown by platform is as follows:
PlayStation 2: 80,734 units
GameCube: 15,098 units
PSone: 3,959 units
Dreamcast: 3,427 units
Xbox: 2,179 units
In the first week of April, 2002, a seven year-old Sony console and a discontinued Sega console outsold the debut gaming machine from the richest company on earth. Unbelievable.
This news is the first real, tangible evidence that Microsoft has completely failed to impress the Japanese gaming community. A slow start was widely predicted for the Xbox in the region, as Microsoft waited for its half-billion dollar marketing campaign to ease the fears of the cautious consumer base. Problems in the first week of the machine’s retail life, with scratched discs and several retail chains refusing to sell the Xbox at all, combined with Microsoft’s ill-conceived reaction to complaints now look to have dealt a terminal blow to the whole Japanese Xbox project.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s somewhat inconsistent statement policy prevented the company from commenting on this.