Xbox One Suffers Worst First Week Sales in Recent History for a Home Console in Japan

By Giuseppe Nelva

September 10, 2014

We just learned that Xbox One sold 23,562 units during its first week on the shelves in Japan according to the reliable data announced by Famitsu and its publisher Enterbrain.  But how does that compare with its predecessors, and with other home consoles for which we have recorded data?

According to aggregated data from Famitsu sources (courtesy of NeoGAF user Chris1964) we can examine the first week sales of every home console since the Dreamcast (the number of days indicates how many each console has been on sale during its first week, until Sunday).

  • 1998.11.27 [Sega Dreamcast] (¥29,800) – 101,490 (3 days)
  • 2000.03.04 [Sony PlayStation 2] (¥39,800) – 630,552 (2 days)
  • 2001.09.14 [Nintendo GameCube] (¥25,000) – 133,719 (3 days)
  • 2002.02.22 [Microsoft Xbox] (¥34,800) – 123,929 (3 days)
  • 2005.12.10 [Microsoft Xbox 360] (¥29,000 / ¥39,795) – 62,135 (2 days)
  • 2006.11.11 [Sony PlayStation 3] (¥49,980 / ¥59,980) – 88,443 (2 days)
  • 2006.12.02 [Nintendo Wii] (¥25,000) – 371,936 (2 days)
  • 2012.12.08 [Nintendo Wii U] (¥26,250 / ¥31,500) – 308,570 (2 days)
  • 2014.02.22 [Sony PlayStation 4] (¥41,979 / ¥46,179)- 322,083 (2 days)
  • 2014.09.04 [Microsoft Xbox One] (¥43,178 / ¥53,978) – 23,562 (4 days)

As you can see, despite having had more days on the market during its first week than all its predecessors, the Xbox One managed to sell under half of the second worst performing home console in recorded history, the Xbox 360, and under one third of the sales of the PS3, which didn’t have a stellar launch as well.

If we consider portable consoles (for which we have data all the way back to the GameBoy Color), only the NeoGeo Pocket and the NeoGeo Pocket Color by SNK did worse than the Xbox One, with  21,471 and and 18,809 units sold respectively during their first week, while the definitely unsuccessful PSP Go managed to sell more, with 28,275 units sold in just one day.

This definitely isn’t what anyone could call a successful launch, especially considering that the local marketing effort for the console definitely wasn’t inferior to what we saw for the original Xbox and for the Xbox 360.

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On Microsoft’s defense, the economy in Japan isn’t at its pinnacle nowadays, and the hike of the consumption tax at the beginning of this year definitely didn’t help overall console sales. The fact that mobile and handheld gaming are getting more and more dominant in the archipelago of the rising sun should also be considered.

Unfortunately, despite that, the numbers show an evident initial debacle, and Microsoft’s battle for Japan seems to be destined to be an uphill struggle, even more than in previous years.

Luckily we’re just at the beginning of the generation, and we can only hope to see an improvement. Competition is always good for the market, but for the moment Xbox One needs to step up its game if it wants to compete at all in Japan.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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