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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Controlling Japan

Controlling Japan

"Can Nintendo make Revolution a success in the homeland or will Xbox 360 steal market share? The company goes on the record.

Microsoft's Halo franchise is cemented in America's pop culture. Xbox Live account names are passed around like phone numbers in classrooms across the country. Times have definitely changed from the days when Bill Gates and company were the new kids on the videogame block. In the four years since Xbox launched, it has sold upward of 15 million units in North America alone and another six-plus million in Europe. In both regions, it also outperformed sales of Nintendo's GameCube hardware. But despite its success in these markets, gamers in Japan would never know that Xbox is so popular. The console's bulky design and selection of largely western-style software have made it an unattractive purchase in the Land of the Rising Sun, with paltry sales of a mere two million units since it debuted over there three years ago.

This is, of course, all something that Microsoft hopes to address with the release of its Xbox 360 console, a system set for a global launch later this year. With a sleeker design and an influx of eastern-style role-playing games, Japanese gamers may finally take notice of the brand and the system.

Then again, it's still going to be an uphill battle. Sony, whose PlayStation 2 system is far and away the biggest seller worldwide, also dominates Japan thanks in large to its stranglehold on franchises like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Sony launched PlayStation 2 well before competitors in Japan and the competition never caught up. Nintendo believes this to be a major factor why PlayStation 2 outsells GameCube in the Land of the Rising Sun." [more]

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