Xbox 360 Japanese launch bombs

If you know someone in Tokyo, get them to courier you some 360s quick

Posted by Staff
Reports emerging this morning indicate a rather sorry start for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console in the notoriously difficult to crack Japanese market. Just over a third of the consoles shipped to Japan for launch were sold over the launch weekend. Stores are already drastically cutting prices to shift stock.

Tracking companies Media Create and Enterbrain have reported their findings for sales of the Xbox 360 in Japan over the weekend, with the lower of the two estimating the number of consoles actually sold at just 28% of those shipped to retailers. Also, the tie ratio, a measure of the number of games sold per console, was only 0.91, which means not everyone actually bought a game to play on their new 360. Even though there was a free Final Fantasy XI beta included in the box, plus widely available U.S. import games, this still comes across as slightly strange.

Stores are hurriedly slashing the costs of the console to as low as £182 this morning, according to Kotaku. Which, when we are hearing stories in the UK for consoles changing hands on eBay for upwards of £600, is a bit of a stinger for UK gamers.

Enterbrain, the renowned publisher of leading Japanese game magazine "Famitsu", commissioned an independent study which found that only 62,000 of the 159,000 units available in Japanese stores were purchased last weekend (10/11 Dec). Famitsu’s editor-in-chief, Munetatsu Matsui, blamed the postponement of the launch of the 'Dead or Alive 4' for slow sales (out Dec 29).

"Xbox may have started out slowly but sales will likely gain momentum in January when new titles like 'Perfect Dark Zero' come out," said Matsui. "There is still plenty of opportunity for Xbox 360 to increase market share in Japan."

"It sounds like a pretty weak start,'' said Eiji Maeda, a video game industry analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo. "It will be important to watch how sales are in the last week before Christmas.''

A pretty weak start is something of an understatement. It’s a weaker start than that of the original Xbox, which sold 123,000 units in the first three days after its launch, back in 2002. And is generally considered to have failed in Japan, having only so far sold fewer than 500,000.

The recent official confirmation from Sony that PS3 will be launching in Spring 2006 has undoubtedly contributed to the poor initial take-up of the 360. Sony still has an 80 per cent market share in Japan

Microsoft Japan President Darren Huston told The Associated Press over the weekend, that his company aims to sell 1 million Xbox 360s in Japan by mid-2006. With only around another 938,000 to go now, SPOnG has to question whether this is a realistic target for Microsoft. We’ll be watching closely what happens over the next few months, especially as soon as Dead or Alive 4 and Perfect Dark Zero hit the shelves.



ozfunghi 13 Dec 2005 13:11
I'm shocked :)
king skins 13 Dec 2005 13:27
PDZ to shift 360's in Japan? Aye? I thought they didn't like FPS?

I think the lack of DoA is a huge loss for MS in Japan and no RPG's again. Also why haven't they filled Live Arcade with all those Mahjong games? Don't they always sell well in Japan?
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config 13 Dec 2005 13:36
Perhaps they have, which would go some way to explaining the shocking poor attach rate.
jadnice 13 Dec 2005 13:56
For those of us still hoping and praying that Xbox 360 will some how do allot better in the coming months. Think about this... when a new product comes out and within less than a week it’s marked down more than 50%, that spells doom for that product. Yes right now... not even a week yet and retailers are marking down the Xbox 360 since Microsoft refuse to take them back due to contractual agreements.
XBOX360 + 50% OFF = DOOM!!!!



charming_fox 13 Dec 2005 14:14
People who are paying £600+ for that lump of crap deserve to get burnt. Idiots.

Maybe if the console had some decent games it would sell in Japan. Perhaps it's nothing to do with the thing being US made and that the Japanese aren't quite as willing to invest in a 1.5 generation console. Bully for them, shows you how stupid western gamers can be. How many morons bought XBOX360 only to play Call of Duty, an average PC FPS and King Kong, A mediocre PS2 game not to mention more EA over-produced trash? Fools.
king skins 13 Dec 2005 14:20
config wrote:
Perhaps they have, which would go some way to explaining the shocking poor attach rate.

There wasn't any available for download when I was poking about last night... maybe there is some segregation going on...? Or they are all playing Zuma (I like that one) and Hexic?

merciless_james 13 Dec 2005 16:37
I cannot believe that the Xbox360 has an attach rate of less than one game per console. I mean has anyone, or do you know of anyone, who has bought a console and no games for it? Having said that I wonder what the UK attach rate was since Perfect Dark Zero only made 13th and PGR3 made 19th and Kameo didnt make the chart. (I think from memory thats where they got, it certainly wasnt much better). Also there is no Xbox360 exclusive in this weeks top 20.
Coxy 13 Dec 2005 19:31
It was known that the Xbox360 probably wasn't going to sell well in Japan compared to other countries.

But this is just shocking, it's probably done worse than the original Xbox.

This really is bad news for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are sure to oversell Microsoft now. (in Japan at least)

Back home there are still pre-orders to be adressed, some going in to March, by which time the PS3 will be a few months away, what's to stop people cancelling their pre-orders and buying a PS3 or waiting for the Revolution?

(n.b. i'm not saying this is going to happen - it's just my pointless rambling.)
ott 13 Dec 2005 23:12
If you people would stop believing Kotaku and do some research yourself, you would've found out that the price slashing is not price slashing at all. It's those retailers in Japan bundling the Xbox360 with a telecom/broadband service in order to get that lower price. And it was limited to the first 20 people or so.

The bundling practice is pretty widespread in Japan as the bundling AOL with the purchase of a new computer and get a $250 discount in the U.S..
ohms 14 Dec 2005 09:30
merciless_james wrote:
I cannot believe that the Xbox360 has an attach rate of less than one game per console. I mean has anyone, or do you know of anyone, who has bought a console and no games for it?

I know someone who bought the 360 with no games. just to play Halo 2 in a higher res.

tyrion 16 Dec 2005 10:01
OK, the official Japanese figures for the Xbox 360 launch week are out!

Provided by Media Create they tell an interesting story. MC tally sales weekly on a Sunday-Saturday basis, so since the 360 launched on a Saturday these figures only cover the launch day.

Xbox 360 sold 43,970 pieces of hardware. To put that into perspective, the PS2 sold 45,893, PSP 86,403 and DS 299,328. The 360 accounted for 8.67% of all hardware sales that week.

In fact, the 360 launch day rush amounted to sales that only slightly exceeded the average weeks sales for PSP over its entire lifetime in Japan.

The PS2 average over the lifetime of the DS (since I stared taking note of Japanese sales figures) is higher than the 360 launch day sales figures.

According the MCV today, the 360 sold 62,135 in the first two days of being on sale. That makes 18,165 sales on Sunday - a drop of 58.69%. You'd expect a drop in sales after the first day.

For comparison, the DS dropped 57.58% in its second week, the PSP 46.84% and the GB Micro 72.68. There isn't really a pattern there, but the 360 has to have sold something for the rest of this week, so its percentage drop has to go down for week on week sales.

I'm not making any assumptions here, just putting the figures in front of you all. Now, you can all argue about what it all means. Enjoy.
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