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Xbox One X suffers poor launch week in Japan

Microsoft kicked off sales of its latest video games console, the Xbox One X, last week – promising a premium gaming experience as an extension of the Xbox One family. While maintaining compatibility with existing games, the device delivers 4K resolution, HDR, and other enhancements to select titles, standing out as the most powerful console on the market.

The Xbox One X has seen noteworthy success in its core markets, with high demand being reported across the west. However, according to Media Create (via DualShockers), which tracks retails sales in Japan, the high-end console failed to grab the attention of Japanese customers.

Xbox One X

Xbox One X (Image credit: Windows Central)

As detailed in Media Create's figures for last week, the Xbox One X sold 1,344 units – securing the eighth place on the hardware sales chart. For reference, the Nintendo Switch reportedly sold 79,958 units over the same period, while Sony's PlayStation 4 came in second, with 20,021. Other devices, such as the 3DS, 2DS and PS Vita all reportedly outsold Microsoft's latest console in the region. The standard Xbox One was also sold 121 times over the seven-day time frame.

This follows a report that Xbox One X preorders sold out in Japan last month, leading up to the console's release. This once again proves that phrasing is essential – preorder unit allocation was clearly significantly lower than other markets. While it's possible limited availability in Japan did reduce sales, interest in the Xbox One has never been high for the region. Nintendo and Sony continue to dominate in the market, while the Redmond giant fails to secure mindshare four years after launch.

Xbox head, Phil Spencer has previously discussed the lack of traction seen in Japan, announcing efforts to enter negotiations with Japanese publishers. However, it still appears Xbox One isn't considered as a place for Japanese gamers or developers, despite an attempt to expand.

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

52 Comments
  • Well Japan is and always going to be challenging for Xbox 🎮..
  • Until they get a few dozen anime themed games in Japanese from leading publishers they are not going to improve.
  • Aside that, Japan is just PS4. I tell some of my *** friends about Xbox and all they do is laugh and reply with me being on the wrong side. Will be tough for Microsoft to convert people like that.
  • Back in the 360 days, web people even call those celebrities who support xbox, traitor. I work in a Japanese game studio, a major one as a main programmer. I have friends in other studios too. Not all, but some at the high-ups... well... if you are familiar with term like GK... But seriously, because game and anime walked too close... majority bailed out and never come back. The "hardcore" that is left... cannot support the whole industry (except Nintendo....)
  • That's the same response I get from the people here when I tell them I've always used Playstation though. PS3 was a bit more expensive, but unlike the 360 it had a blu-ray player, was more powerful, and you didn't have to pay an annoying yearly fee to play online. And Xbox One launch was a disaster for multiple reasons, as we all know. On top of that, the PS4 was more compact in size, slightly more powerful, and didn't have a giant power brick either. The Xbox One X finally has better hardware than any Playstation, but then again PS4 Pro is already over a year old. Those are all objective facts that apply to every system. Of course, people can argue about what exclusive games are better, what controllers are better, etc., but those are all subjective. Most of my friends have PS4s, so there's really no point in me buying an Xbox and playing by myself. I definitely prefer the Xbox software over Playstation though. Sony always sucks at software stuff, but that's not too surprising since it's a hardware company.
  • It didn't help the XBox 360 back then what makes you think it would help the XBox One now?
  • Under Nadulla, Microsoft will soon be irrelevant in the innovation sector. There is no spark, no juice, under his leadership.
  • Except, Nadella has limited say when it comes to Xbox. Makes u and your dumb comment irrelevant.
  • Yeah remember how successful the Xbox brand was in Japan before Nadella. Oh wait...
    What a stupid comment
  • So you're saying an entire culture's habits are the fault of the CEO of an American company?
  • Culture's habit? The XB1 doesn't cater to the need of Japanes gamers. That's it.
  • Bring Japanese games to Xbox and it will sell.
  • fck japan xbox will never sell in this country stop waisting time and money microsoft needs to  move on.
  • @Kriss _Hietala; Now that's a great idea and who knows Microsoft may work on doing just that...
  • Doubtful. Devs expect gamer to choose Japanese product (most devs care only the local market, only games that have clear international appeal e.g. Dragonball, will have xbox port), gamers expect games to port back to Japanese consoles with additional contents. LOOP. And there's retailers... if you walk in a electronic chain store, xbox is always in a small corner, no one cares, no one pushes.
    Unlike Softbank and iPhone. SB was the smallest I think, they pushed iPhone sooo hard like their life depended on it.
    JPhone normally has a lotta problem is another reason.
  • It doesn't matter if you had the greatest Japanese style game, the xbox will never sell in Japan because it is not made by a Japanese company.   Japanese nationalism is and has always been extremely high.  Japanese culture engrains a sense of disloyalty if one buys products made by non-Japanese companies that compete with Japense companies.  My guess is, the units sold went to non-Japanese residents.
  • Damn is it that bad? Well, they’re trying to do the same here..”Hire American, Buy American.” We live in a Global economy though. Samsung and Toyota both have plants here. So, you’re still supporing ‘Murica.
  • Microsoft would do well to make Chromehounds 2, with the great mech building and multiplayer campaign it could definitely serves as unique IP that used to be well received in Japan with the 360. Plus I'm waiting for a follow-up game, so double win. 
  • No surprise, always the case for almost 2 decades...Japanese only buy Japanese when it comes to console gaming. They also prefer RPGs to FPS.
  • That goes for cars too. Protectionism and unfair taxes. Not that American cars are great, but Japan always protect their home industry. Import cars are double the price of what it is here. My friend used to work for Sony, and got recruited by MS to fight the legal aspects of it. But other than iPhone and Boeing, few US companies do well there.
  • Japans protectionism borders on illegal, I'm pretty sure there are laws in Japan that prohibit the sale of Japanese busnesses to foreign companies and they get rediculous subsidies from the government. They need sorting out, but as long as China keeps taking the piss the flaccid WTO won't do anything about it.
  • Japanese laws can't border on illegal unless they violate the Japanese constitution. International laws only apply in Japan if the Japanese accept them. And even then, nothing in international commerce law prohibits protectionism. If the Japanese benefit the consumption of their own products over foreign products, they're just being smart and taking care of their own industries.
  • "Japanese laws can't border on illegal unless they violate the Japanese constitution" Uhhhh what? Violating the constitution would BE illegal, any law can border on illegal and still be within the confines of the constitution, that's kind of the definition of BORDERING on illegal.
  • WTO has no control over what a country does within its own boarders - they can just suggest guidelines to trade.
  • Also software, unless the product is totally crashed by foreign products e.g iPhone. I prefer WhatsApp or Messenger, but no one's using'em here.
    Line, is famous only in Japan, Taiwan and I think Thailand if I'm not wrong. And because most programmers know no English... well... I think everyone knows how important English is to the IT world... (especially in game industry) If you work in Japan... you'd know they are slow to react (a lotta time. it's the cultural thing). A lotta unimaginable funny story me or my GF (a Apac manager of a US tech firm) can tell. Well, those are cons, here's the pros, they are really hard working, follow rules type. ps: Line has in-app-purchase for stickers and has advertisements. A few times I got followers / messages asking me if I'm interested in jewelries, or msg like "Hi handsome, 30000jpy, interested?", or "chicks" asking me to click on an url. da'f?
  • They should just sell online only in Japan. On the 350 Microsoft did everything in their power securing exclusive from Japanese publisher, making a small controller for the original Xbox. Japan is not going to bite so leave them be.
  • What US product sells well in Japan?
  • Boeing, Apple to name a couple. Music and movies are others. Can also include weapons.
  • Baseball
  • I don't know much about sports... but do Japanese watch US baseball and buy their merchants?
  • Fast food
  • I wonder how they do in the rest of East Asia.
  • China is a far more important market than Japan.
  • its home court advantage its the sony ps4s backyard remember, if the xbox does so well, the ps4s really in trouble. microsoft is suffering from brain drain the best in the business are either working for sony or not on board this will either make or break the xbox, geniuses are hard to come by and arent cheap<3
  • ps4 is doing better than xb1 in Japan but the console market as a whole has shrank... so much. There aren't many games for Japanese gamer either (not like it used to), so both HW and SW sales... that is why most went to mobile.
  • You are correct, while the Xbox has always done beyond horrible sales numbers in Japan, console sales as a whole has been declining there over the years. The PS3 sold half as many units as PS2 and PS1 in their lifetimes. The PS4 is currently at a quarter of the number units as the first two generations of Sony consoles. In fact the Vita slightly edges out the PS4 in sales there at the moment. It's very respectable numbers but the trend in that country is definitely on the decline over previous decades.
  • f*ckin weeaboos
  • "Nintendo and Sony continue to dominate in the market, while the Redmond giant fails to secure mindshare four years after launch." The exact same happens across Europe (not the UK. Europe. The continent where 99% of Europeans are). Again, if Microsoft doesn't release sales numbers, we can't be sure how well it's selling and taking the word of Microsoft employees on it is just plain stupid. They would never admit to poor interest.
  • The only number I found out the other day is about GoW4, the previous event had 6.4m participants. In fact, MS and their e-sports business partners are still throwing big bucks @ gamers, frequently. Business's not too bad I think.
  • ** MS Employee.  I don't work on anything related to Xbox.  My opinion is my own. **
    ... taking the word of Microsoft employees on it is just plain stupid. They would never admit to poor interest.
    I love this logic.  "Don't trust anyone who might actually have knowledge or insight.  If it's good news they're just lying anyway." So. . . who should we listen to?  (Semi-serious question) On a tangentially related note, one of the things I've liked about Satya since I started working here (his time as CEO predates my time as an employee) is that he tries to be very aware of the fundamental reality and is constantly fighting "dogma" that everything we do must be blessed because, hey, we're MS and that should mean something.  He points out that we've got some advantages (name recognition, experience in massively scaling, crazy numbers of partners already working with us, relationships with large organizations, etc.) and we should use those, but that those were yesterday's wins.  Today's wins won't necessarily show up for several years.  Secondarily trying to frame everything from the standpoint of what others is doing just takes our eyes off what we're trying to do.  If you frame the objective as somehow "winning" against Sony in gaming then I don't know how we're doing.  If you frame the objective as releasing a product that gamers want and provides an excellent gaming experience, etc. etc. then suddenly the calculations are different. My point is that although I don't know any sales numbers more than anyone else on this forum (and probably less than some) I'm not surprised that PS outsells Xbox in Japan.  I'm not expecting that because the One X exists there will never be another PS4 sold, etc.  At the same time I think Xbox One X is wildly successful and I'm hoping that trend will continue.
  • it actually sold out in Japan. That's all that MS allocated. To be honest its no surprise because Japanese people only buy Japanese products.  One of the reasons I went Xbox last gen was because of the Japanese mentality. So I decided to support the west where I'm from. Rather than support a product from a country where they only support themselves. 
  • Ah it comes out. You don't buy a product. You only support a company because you're kinda racist towards Japanese. Well I'm not really surprise. A lot of you MS/XB "fans" support MS because you believe they are your "home" company. Oh and XB1 hardly have any Japanese games. You think Japanese are dumb to buy a console that doesn't have games for them when there is another that has lot of Japanese game PLUS MORE western games. What a dumb comment you posted (once again)...
  • Why would anyone think Japan was going to put Xbox on the same level as PS4 on their homeland?
  • Simply Microsoft japan studios is closed , no Japanese games , no JRPG why would any one care in Japan seriously
  • This is like selling selling snow to eskimos. Japan is 99% PS4 territory.  Why does this same report occur with each release of Xbox?  Do you just like reporting bad news for Xbox???  This is how the media can mislead with facts.  Worthless facts.
  • Japaneses like to buy japanese products. looks like nobody in America see it.
  • "According to recent sales figures, the Xbox One X isn't off to a strong start in Japan. But that's not a surprise." vs WC Twitter: "Surprise, surprise ... XBox One X isn't selling well in Japan" Clickbaitsssss..
  • It's so funny how MS/XB fans blame Japanese and a so-called culture. The question is simple. Does the XB1 cater to the need of Japanese gamers? Simple answer, no. Besides the US, the PS4 is outselling massively the XB1. So should we make generalization about the people of the US?  No. Even though there  are a lot ofMS/XB "fans" who will support theis pro-USA idea, it's not majority. People will just buy product that caters to their needs and that is well marketed to them...  
  • The flaw with this logic is that the PS4 and Xbox are funtionally the same.  Japanese devs this time around have simply decided that they wont support the latter which means there are very few games that would appeal in Japan.  The reason people blame Japaneser culture is because it's the truth.  Unless you've not paid attention, 'Japan first and always' has been a thing for decades and only changed somewhat with the 360 because MS threw a lot of money at Japanese devs.  The good part is that the 360 got Japanese games, the bad part is that Japanese companies then used a lot of that money to fund enhanced/better versions for the PS3.  As for the rest of the world, people buy what their friends have, simple as that.  Niche Japanese titles that sell in the thousands and maybe break 1 million if they're fortunate are not what created the large PS4 userbase.  MS screwed up at the beginning of this generation and that's what gave PS4 a head start, not the console itself.
  • It's really simple. You have 2 consoles one with plenty of japanese games and plenty of western games. The other has fewer western games and hardly any Japanese games.  What do you think Japanese will buy?  If a console is launched in the US. With a couple of western games and many Japanese games. And that competes against another console with the most of the same Japanese games PLUS a whole lot of western games. Americans will buy the second console. It's just logic. People aren't stupid you know... About the rest of the world? Well that's your explaination. History has shown us that exclusives and game library is very important and that's what sells console.
  • They’re patriotic, unlike the USA.
  • They buy a product that has games for them. People buy products. Idiots fanboys buy stuff to support multinational corporations... The PS4 is outselling the XB1 in every country. The only one where it is really tight is the US. Strange... I guess by your logic there are many in the US buying the XB1just because they are "patriot"