"There has been a lot of coverage recently about the failure of the Japanese Xbox 360. And those reports are very true. It is one of the weakest system launches in Japanese history, only topped perhaps by the Japanese launch of the Atari Jaguar. In my town there is only 1 game store that carries the 360. They were given 12 launch units by Microsoft and at the end of launch day they had sold only 1, and that was to one of the employees.
These articles are, of course, making the rounds of gaming sites. The comments I read on these sites often make me sick to my stomach. People are saying that the Xbox is not selling because the Japanese people are Xenophobic and will never buy foreign electronics. I have even read a few comments that say and I quote “Those Japs would never buy an American game system because they are still bitter about Hiroshima”.
Ok, first of all, those “Japs” are friends of mine. And I resent the slur. This isn’t even the worst comment I have heard on this issue. But the others are too vulgar or racist for me to repeat here. Why is there all this hate? Because the Japanese are not forking over thousands of yen blindly, that makes them xenophobic? I guess so. And now I will tell you what else these bitter, nationalistic Japanese are buying.
They are buying iPods like crazy. Japanese Apple stores sell more iPods per store than Apple stores in America. But wait! Apple is based in California. How can this be? Why aren’t they proudly buying their own, Japanese, Sony Mp3 players? Because Apple makes a good product that is in tune with what Japanese consumers like.
Starbucks is huge in Japan. These are everywhere. In just a few years Starbucks has made itself a fixture in Japan. They are always crowded with people. Japan had tons of it’s own coffee houses before Starbucks, but this was a company who adapted well to the Japanese market and was therefore embraced.
McDonalds. McDonalds can’t be doing well in Japan can it? The Hamburger and fries is clearly a western meal. Wouldn’t the Japanese shun it? No. McDonalds owns fast food in Japan. Japan has their own domestic burger chains like Mos Burger, Freshness Burger, etc. but they all bow before McDonalds. McDonalds knew that some of its tastes would not appeal to the Japanese so they changed their menus. Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. They didn’t force the American tastes on the Japanese and thus, they thrived. Now look at the Japanese Xbox 360 launch lineup. First person Shooters, sports and car games. Games that sell really well in America but other than the car games are not to the Japanese taste.
Had they launched with RPGs, simulation games, party games, gambling games and fighters, they might have done a whole lot better. McDonalds changed their company for the Japanese taste. Microsoft tried to change the Japanese taste for their company.
But let’s keep going. Japanese people love Levis jeans and still pay a premium price for them. They also can’t get enough Coca-Cola. How can this be? All the major Japanese drink makers, Kirin, Asahi, suntory, etc. all make their own brands of cola. Why don’t the Japanese buy those? And, you know, support their country? Because the truth of the matter is, Japanese people love foreign goods. They buy clothes from France, handbags from Italy, Swiss watches, etc. and the very fact that these things are foreign makes them cool." [more
standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. They didn’t force the
American tastes on the Japanese and thus, they thrived.