Xbox One's Japanese Failure Means Nothing
xbox one japan.jpg

The Japanese launch of the Xbox One was a major failure. There were no lines. People didn't show excitement or enthusiasm for the system. People even went out of their way to revel in the sadness of the situation, perhaps gleefully sharing pictures of stores without lines of customers, anxious to pick up Microsoft's new system. Which, naturally, means the Xbox One is doomed!

Except it's not.

It's easy to try and jump on some fanboy doomsday wagon just because the Xbox One launch wasn't a magical experience in one region. Moments like this are why console wars can sometimes get so vicious. People are quick to point to one situation and try to use it as the starting point of a catastrophic decline. But the thing to remember is, the Xbox One doesn't have to succeed in Japan. Why? Because the Xbox and Xbox 360 didn't.


Look at the Xbox first. We absolutely consider this a successful system. 24 million units were sold total. While that paled in comparison to the PS2's 153 million, it still beat the GameCube's 22 million total sales. It only sold 2 million units in Asia, and only 450,000 of that came from Japan. 

However, the Xbox 360 sales are far more telling in this situation. Over 78 million Xbox 360 units have been sold worldwide, and as far as we know so far, 1.6 million of those came from Japan. That means the Japanese sales only accounted for about 2%. Yet, we would never say the Xbox 360 was a dead on arrival console.

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What really matters for the Xbox One are its worldwide sales figures. The most recent numbers come from April 2014. Microsoft said over 5 million units had been shipped worldwide. It's been four months since then, and in that time we've seen the release of Xbox Ones with a lower price point thanks to the availability of bundles that don't include a Kinect. Moreover, we're heading into the 2014 holiday shopping season, which will include a cavalcade of eagerly anticipated games.

The Xbox One Japanese launch sucked, and that's okay. When it comes to Microsoft consoles, sales in Asia haven't really mattered. While there are people there who buy and enjoy the system, that isn't the primary audience. Other regions, like North America and Europe, are. These places will carry the system and guarantee its success.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Site Editor
Date: 09/09/2014

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