Today Microsoft announced that it will increase the price of both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in Japan.
The Japanese arm of Microsoft revealed that Xbox Series X will be priced at 59,978 yen including tax (which approximately translates into $461 at the current exchange rate), while the Xbox Series S will be priced at 37,978 yen (which translates into $291). It's with mentioning that these are only reference prices from the manufacturers, and retailers are entitled to tweak them.
The change will become effective from Friday, February 17. Currently, the consoles are priced at 54,978 yen ($422) for the Xbox Series X and 32,278 yen ($248).
At the moment, no change has been announced for the west, where the consoles remain priced at $499.99 for the Series X and $299 for the S.
You may notice that the new prices for Japan bring both consoles more in line with the pricing in the United States. The Japanese yen has depreciated radically over the past couple of years compared to the US dollar, dropping all the way to 1 to 0.0067 from 1 to 0.0097 in January 2021. Only recently it has recovered a bit to 1 to 0.0077, but that's still far from pre-pandemic rates. In response, many businesses increased prices over the past several months. Microsoft's move appears to be similarly motivated.
The announcement does not offer super-detailed explanations, but it does appear to confirm that idea, mentioning that Microsoft regularly assesses the local pricing to ensure a reasonable consistency across geographies, and adding that this change is the result of that evaluation.
The Xbox Series X and S have done better than the Xbox One generation in Japan, selling approximately 500,000 units. While this is far from Nintendo or PlayStation levels, it's certainly an improvement. It'll be interesting to see how the price change will affect the performance of the consoles on the local market.