Xbox 360 sales surge in Japan – ‘Tales Of Vesperia’ prompts queues

By on January 1, 1970

ohh yeah Japan goging 360

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Microsoft has always struggled in Japan, with the original Xbox completely failing to even come close to the sales figures boasted by the PS2, and then the Xbox 360 also failing to really make headway against Sony’s PS3 or Nintendo’s Wii. But things could be changing, as the release of the overtly Japanese game Tales Of Vesperia has prompted queues in Tokyo, and sales of the Xbox 360 to rise for the fourth consecutive week.

I’m a big fan of Japan, for the culture, the animé, the technology, the robots, and of course the girls. Then there is the little fact that both Sony and Nintendo hail from the land of the rising sun, as do Sega, Square Enix, Konami, and a long list of other gaming giants. But Japan doesn’t necessarily like us, and by us I mean westerners. It’s a very closed nation that has only relatively recently opened up its borders and embraced worldwide consumerism.

What this means for gamers is two-fold: we get all the best games to come from Japan, while ignoring the rubbish like horse racing simulators and dating games, but we have trouble selling our wares back to them. So when Microsoft decided it wanted in to the games hardware manufacturing business, we all knew Japan was going to be a hard nut to crack.

I’ve been writing off Microsoft’s chances of even getting a foothold in Japan for quite a while now, but maybe I was wrong. The latest figures to emerge aren’t huge, and won’t have Microsoft’s accountants licking their lips, but they do show the console is at least heading in the right direction.

According to Punch Jump, sales of the Xbox 360 have risen for four consecutive weeks. Three weeks ago Microsoft sold 3,807 units, two weeks ago that rose to 4,941, while last week the figure rose again to 5,359. Soul Calibur IV for the Xbox 360 also managed to get in to the top ten software chart with 34,786 units sold in a week.

This week may see the upward trend carry on, as PC World reports that the release of Tales Of Vesperia on Thursday morning prompted queues of around 200 people in the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo. The game is the latest in a line of RPGs that appeal directly to Japanese gamers.

The game has been released in Japan first, with a US release following on August 26th, and Europe having to wait until early next year. As well as the game being available separately, Microsoft has seen fit to release a special edition Tales of Vesperia Xbox 360.

While one hit hardly makes the Xbox 360 a sudden success in Japan, it does at least stop the console flat lining as I thought it would be by now. It also depends on how different people see success. While most of us will brand the Xbox 360 a failure in Japan for the amount of consoles sold, Microsoft has probably set its sights lower.

As long as the Xbox 360 can hold on to even a slight market share, it means Microsoft is still in the running, and can release a follow-up console in years to come. You never know, one of these releases might actually blow the Japanese away so much that they ignore the nationality of the manufacturers.



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