Due to a high price caused by the mandatory Kinect add-on, the Xbox One got off to a slow start, trailing behind the PlayStation 4. But since offering standalone Xbox One consoles, Microsoft has successfully managed to boost the console’s numbers. For example, the console has received a price cut across two key territories – the United States and the UK – and from now until June 27, customers who buy an Xbox One in the United States will be able to pick any free Xbox One game of their choice.
Microsoft feels that the console will go from strength to strength, and will sell ‘millions’ this holiday season. The company points to its recent success at E3 2015 where it made headlines by announcing that the Xbox One would soon become backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games, making it a prime time for last-gen gamers to upgrade. Plus, the upcoming release of Xbox One exclusives Halo 5: Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider will also help the console’s sales.
But despite the Xbox One’s prospects looking up in the West, in Japan things aren’t going as well. It was previously reported that the Xbox One only managed to sell 25,674 units in its first three days of sales in the country and Xbox Japan boss Takashi Sensui admitted that “[it’s] not as though we’re satisfied with the current sales state.” Sensui also vowed that Microsoft would “focus on publicity,” but according to these new sales figures, that strategy does not appear to be paying off just yet.
According to Japanese stat tracking company Media Create, the Xbox One sold just 100 units in the week of June 8 – June 14, 2015 and none of its games managed to break the top 50. In contrast, the New 3DS LL sold 19, 620, the Wii U sold 16, 413, the PS4 sold 10, 822, and even the the PS Vita TV (which ranked one above the Xbox One in the sales charts) sold 566 units. The Xbox One’s weak sales can be chalked down to a lack of brand recognition in the country (Sony and Nintendo are local companies) as well as the dominance of smartphone gaming, which is threatening to kill off Japan’s console sector altogether.
So what can Microsoft do to help the Xbox One do well in Japan? The most obvious answer would be exclusives – offering Japanese gamers something that they can’t get with any of Nintendo or Sony’s consoles. Unfortunately, Microsoft has tried that already, most recently with Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness which launched at the end of May and despite being based on a popular Japanese anime, it hasn’t had the best impact.
There was also Chaos;Child, another anime-based game, but after being released exclusively on Xbox One in December, poor sales meant that the publisher is now releasing the game on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita later this month. In theory, the Phantom Dust reboot could also make an impact on Japanese sales but with Microsoft shutting down the developer behind it, with radio silence ever since, a release looks even more unlikely.
Perhaps Xbox One Japanese price cuts would also be a good idea, given how effective price cuts have been in the United States (the Xbox One has beaten Sony in a few occasions since the discounts went into effect). Ahead of Psycho-Pass‘ release date, Microsoft dropped the console’s price by $41, saying that the discount was temporary. While it doesn’t seem to have made an impact so far, Microsoft may want to discount the console even more and make it permanent too as that would certainly get people buying the console around the time of Halo 5 and RotTR‘s release dates.
What do you think Microsoft can do to improve Xbox One’s Japan sales? Should the company be focusing on other territories instead? Leave a comment and let us know.
Source: Media Create