Despite Microsoft's determination to crack the Japanese market, it is still struggling to sell anywhere near enough consoles to make an impact. Media Create recorded sales of a paltry 574 units last week. That's really not very many. In the same week, Nintendo shifted nearly 25,000 GBA SPs and 5,000 Gamecubes, with Sony managing sales of 30,000 Playstation 2's.
This poor performance is largely a reflection of American-based marketing tactics in an Asian territory that has never proved fruitful for Microsoft. It also follows news that True Fantasy Live has been canned.
This was a key title, emphasising the role of RPG's and online play in the Japanese gaming community, and its cancellation would have had a negative impact on potential buyers. In the last few days there has also been plenty of spirited talk from both Sony and Nintendo regarding their well-considered and life-prolonging strategies for their respective current consoles. Microsoft, on the other hand, is positively encouraging a premature step towards the next generation, hoping to close this anti-climactic chapter once and for all. That sort of stance would hardly prove inspirational for Japanese consumers thinking of shelling out for the most expensive console on the market.