The Xbox One was launched in Japan on September 4th, 2014, which means that last week it celebrated its first birthday, as you can see from the Tweet below, directly from the local branch of Microsoft.
Xbox One の日本発売から今日でちょうど 1 年です! これからも応援よろしくお願いします!! pic.twitter.com/PVf0hZAqiS
— Xbox Japan (@Xbox_JP) September 4, 2015
“Today, it’s exactly one year since the launch of the Xbox One in Japan! Thank you for your future support!!”
Since a year passed from that fateful day, we can now draw a line, and examine the full year performance of Microsoft’s console in the difficult Japanese market. The grand total of Xbox One consoles that found a loving Japanese home (according to Media Create) is 54,813.
Below you can see a table with sales week by week, and a graph showing the ups and downs for Microsoft’s console.
Setting aside a few spikes, the Japanese market has definitely proven to be refractory to Microsoft’s console offering, with a performance worse than that of the Xbox 360, which already did not fare very well.
Many say that Japanese customers refuse to buy foreign products, but anyone that sets foot in Japan will easily notice that this simply isn’t true. Many items from overseas, including the Unitied States, sell extremely well in Japan. The iPhone and its family of products are a good example. They are massively popular in Japan, and electronic stores in Tokyo have whole floors almost fully dedicated to them, often overwhelming local and Asian mobile offerings.
Japanese customers, especially among the young generation, are actually very receptive towards foreign products, that are often considered “cool,” and even a status symbol.
So, what caused the Xbox One’s poor first year performance in Japan? It’s hard to say, but Microsoft’s marketing effort failed to take root so far.
Yet, Microsoft won’t abandon the Japanese market, and it shouldn’t. As Phil Spencer mentioned in the past, a foothold in the archipelago of the rising sun lets the house of Xbox maintain relationships with local developers and publishers. They even managed to score exclusives like Scalebound.
Will PlatinumGames’ extremely promising title help the Xbox one to rebound in Japan? We’ll have to wait and see, but for now the numbers are what they are.
Happy first Japanese birthday, Xbox One. Hopefully, the second anniversary will be better.