Microsoft Discusses Japanese 360 Launch Issues
In a report from the current issue of Japanese game magazine Weekly Famitsu, translated by consumer site GameSpot, Microsoft of Japan officials reflected on the Xbox 360's faltering launch in that territory. To date, the system has sold less in its first month on shelves than the original Xbox did in its first three days, with only 107,800 units as yet moved.
"It was a lot more difficult than we had imagined. We couldn't prepare the launch titles that we had promised, and it made an impact," said Microsoft of Japan Xbox chief of operations Yoshihiro Maruyama about the difficult launch. Two games in particular were planned as launch, only to see delays: Dead or Alive 4, the new entry in the most popular Xbox series in Japan, missed the system launch by several weeks, and the game's first RPG, [em] -eNCHANT aRM, was pushed back by a month.
Maruyama expressed hope that the system would bounce back now that these titles were on the market, with additional Japan-friendly 360 exclusives such as Q Entertainment's Ninety Nine Nights, Mistwalker's Blue Dragon, and Square Enix's Final Fantasy XI on the way. Furthermore, said Maruyama, more Japan-specific game announcements were in the pipeline, and could be made before E3.
Another factor affecting the launch, said Maruyama, was an ineffective marketing campaign based around the 360's HD-video capabilities. "We also received some criticisms toward our promotions, saying that people don't understand what high definition is. The Xbox 360's main appeal is high definition, but we couldn't successfully convey it."