The Xbox One put a massive X-shaped dent into the Xbox brand across the world, and even in the console’s core markets like the U.S. and UK, the platform has been behind its closest competitors ever since. One country where Xbox has notoriously struggled over the years is Japan, which has presented a big problem for fans of Japanese games. Without the install base, many developers in the region simply overlook the platform, leaving Xbox fans missing several big-name franchises.
The situation has improved in recent years, with Dragon Quest and Yakuza finally hitting Xbox, alongside strong support from Bandai Namco, but there are still plenty of holdouts. Just today, FFXIV’s director commented on bringing the popular JRPG MMO to Xbox, noting that discussions with Microsoft were “positive.” Hopefully, the following news will also help further those discussions.
While it’s tiny compared to what PlayStation and Nintendo, in particular, are doing in Japan, Xbox had cause to celebrate today. In less than a year of availability, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S managed to hit 100K sales in Japan, a feat that took their predecessor 50 months to achieve, according to figures from Famitsu (via @Welfare_Queen_I), who tracks the game industry in Japan. The Xbox Series S racked up 2920 unit sales between October 4 and October 10, with the Xbox Series X hitting 527 units sold for the week. The total footprint puts the Xbox Series X at 64,284 units, and the Xbox Series S at 38,307.
The Xbox Series X|S lineup is absolutely crushing the Xbox One in the region, achieving sales milestones that took the Xbox One years to accomplish. It’s a far cry from the millions of units sold by the PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, without a doubt. But it shows that not all hope is lost for Microsoft in the country. Games like Flight Simulator, Forza Horizon, and the upcoming Halo Infinite will most likely prove helpful in boosting sales, particularly when combined with the undeniable value of Xbox Game Pass.
I’ve argued in the past that if there was ever a time for Microsoft to boost its aspirations for gaming in Japan, that time is now, as PlayStation’s attention turns westward. Of course, it’s a tall order, and would require a huge amount of investment, and most likely come with a pile of risks attached. That being said, the Japanese gaming industry has undergone something of a renaissance in recent times in Xbox’s core markets, perhaps in part thanks to the mainstreaming of anime in popular Western culture. The console sales figures undoubtedly showcase something of an opportunity, but only time will tell if Xbox can take advantage.