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Surprising no one, the Xbox One has not been a success in Japan, but what has been surprising is how much it has been… unsuccessful.

yclqeisanvtvquqb9czd - Japan's Xbox chief abdicates over murky Xbox One sales

The bossman of Xbox Japan, Takashi Sensui, has resigned from his position after extremely low sales for Microsoft’s latest console.

It appears that Microsoft did not really expect anyone to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat for the historically low-selling Japan, as Sensui has been moved to Xbox’s headquarters in the US.

Overall in Japan, just 38,461 units have been sold since the Xbox One’s launch in September, with 23,562 of those sales within the Xbox One’s first four days of release. For the curious, around 14,899 units have been sold over 81 days, or around 184 consoles sold per day for the last eleven and a half weeks.

The story becomes even more dismal, as the Xbox One’s launch was by far the lowest of any current-generation console in Japan. To compare, the Wii U sold 308k units over its launch period, while the PS4 sold 322k units.

In October, Sensui issued a statement, saying that, “it’s not as though we’re satisfied with the current sales state.”

Sensui went on to further state that “taking the first step was very important, and as for how to permeate the market from here, we hope to continue to do our best.”

Obviously his best was not enough, as his resignation shows. The new leader of Xbox Japan is Xbox newcomer Yoshinami Takahasi, who clearly has a very difficult job ahead of him.

Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more details.

Patrick Perrault

Staff Writer

Writer for TechRaptor, who hopes to gain valuable experience in a constantly changing industry.

  • ColaFlavourChewits

    Microsoft have always been bad at marketing in Japan, from what I’ve read. To be expected that things wouldn’t go so well, especially with the earlier negative publicity. They seem to be doing a lot to try to get things back on track elsewhere in the world, but I’m not so sure they will be able to crack the enigma of the Japanese market just yet.

  • I’ve always thought it was because Microsoft is an American company, and historically (rightly or wrongly) Japan has viewed US companies with suspicion (and admittedly some of their concerns were valid, like Quality Control and so forth.)

    I don’t know if Microsoft lost all (if it had any) of its good-will with the RRoD consoles, but I’m sure Japan was aware that Microsoft’s hardware track record has been less than stellar, even going back to the days of the original XBox (and the “dirty disc” problems.)

    That’s all speculation of course… purely conjecture on my part. 🙂

  • ColaFlavourChewits

    I could certainly believe that suspicion of the platform as an outsider is a factor in the failure; when your home players are strong it’s quite natural to be wary of the brash newcomer! This goes especially so for the hardware issues; Sony have had their ups and downs but Nintendo (and Sega, for a time) made solid, dependable hardware, so failures aren’t going to be accepted so readily.

    There was an interesting article on Eurogamer a few years back that put forth the idea that some harm was actually caused by Bill Gates himself in the run-up to the original Xbox launch. It’s suggested that he changed a speech he gave at the Tokyo Game Show to be more promotion-heavy than the original agreed-upon speech, that irritated and drove away many third-parties, which in turn meant that the Xbox and eventually the 360 lacked the vital support from Japanese developers.

    How true that is is of course up to speculation, but it’s interesting to hear of the multiple layers that the marketers are having to deal with just to make a small breakthrough. I would imagine that for now the first priority is getting re-established in their popular markets before they’ll start really pouring resources into getting a foothold in Japan.

  • But what about MSX, back in the 8-bit days? It was the opposite: huge in Japan, and a flop pretty much everywhere else. In the 1980s home computer market (the “business” PC was a different matter), Microsoft was arguably better known in Japan than in Europe or North America. Then again, it didn’t actually build the hardware itself.

    Maybe that’s the answer: get local companies to build Xboxes under licence.

  • ColaFlavourChewits

    An interesting point that I hadn’t considered, thanks for mentioning it! It does call into question the idea that there is a element of distrust of foreign hardware, but I would still imagine that it plays a small part. However, I wouldn’t attribute this to xenophobia, as is often portrayed.

    Instead, it may be the issues with the console damaging the image of Microsoft as a hardware manufacturer; customers naturally gravitate to what they know, and both Sony and Nintendo have major footholds already, so even minor issues with a foreign console are going to be damning as far as the audience is concerned.

  • Microsoft was never known as a hardware company, even when they made mice and keyboards. They farmed out their peripheral manufacturing (through partners). Particularly in the 80’s, they were a software company first…

    Microsoft had the BASIC language for the C-64 (the best selling 8-bit computer in the world), and the Amiga as well (among others). They may not have been a household name in the 1980’s, but their influence was felt from coast to coast (if anyone spent more than 5 minutes typing in the BASIC programs in Compute! magazine. 🙂 🙂

    You may be onto something though… XBox really should double-down on software and let the hardware get licensed from them (like they used to do with DOS, etc.)

  • Heh. Don’t I know it. It was their terrible Amiga BASIC that put me off the company for life. 🙂

    But although the C64’s BASIC was based on Microsoft’s core 6502 dialect, it was heavily developed by Commodore and bore no MS branding. In Europe, Sinclair’s BASIC was written by Nine Tiles, while Amstrad/Schneider’s and (as far as I understand) Acorn’s was from Locomotive Software. So, while it’s a fair point, I think mine holds too: MS was probably better known by name to home micro users in Japan.

  • DoombotBL

    I think they’re just trying too damn hard to get big in a market totally dominated by the home team. I think they should just sell them there in small amounts and deal with the fact that Japan doesn’t really care for their wares.

  • Nytezero

    To be honest, for Xbox Japan, it doesn’t matter who they put in charge. Xbox will finish in third place in Japan. Anyone can see that. The Japanese do not like Xbox.

  • the7k

    Eh, the month I spent in Japan, I couldn’t count all the iPhones I saw people using on the trains and whatnot. I thought iPhone was big in America, but it’s ridiculously popular in Japan.

    It was really weird the American stuff that is popular over there. Like Ted, that Seth MacFarlane movie that kinda just came and went in the states? Friggin’ EVERYWHERE in Japan. It was so freaking weird.

    I think with the Xbox brand, it just comes down to software. They tried with the oXbox and early on with the X360 to get some Japanese-oriented games on the system, but with the Xbox One they obviously don’t care.