Would it be foolish to begin this story with the words “poor Microsoft”? I mean, the company isn’t exactly hurting for money, and yet it looks like 2009 was the year that the Xbox 360 finally died in Japan. Not that the Xbox 360 ever really did well in Japan, but this year it looks like everything fell off a cliff.
Look at this chart. It shows the sales of the various game consoles this year. You’ll immediately notice that sales across all platforms are down this year, which makes sense: the people who wanted a Wii probably hve a Wii by now, etc. The best selling console was the Nintendo DS (no doubt helped by the release of Dragon Quest IX), followed by the Wii, PSP (?!), PS3, PS2 (?!), and, lastly, the Xbox 360.
That’s right: the nine-year-old PS2 has outsold the Xbox 360 in Japan in 2009.
I’m not sure how much Microsoft cares, or should care. There weren’t too many (any?) Japanese games released exclusively for the system this year, so it probably wasn’t expecting… well, not monster sales, but respectable sales.
And then when you figure in that the Xbox 360 is so obviously a system designed and executed with the North American market in mind, and that Japan has always been an afterthought for the system, then you see where I’m going with this.