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Is This a Sign of Microsoft's Japanese Retreat?

Illustration for article titled Is This a Sign of Microsofts Japanese Retreat?

After spending millions upon millions of dollars promoting the Xbox 360 in Japan, Microsoft still only sells about 2,000 or so consoles every week. Last sales week, the Xbox 360 was outsold by the PS2. The PS2!


After all these years, it looks like Microsoft might finally be tossing in the towel and calling it a day.


Its booth at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show is smaller than Capcom's, Namco Bandai's, and Sega's. In years past, Microsoft went head to head with Sony in both scale and size in the convention center's middle hall. This year, it's near the entrance, meaning that Japanese gamers will most likely pass it as they race to play the wagonload of PS Vita games.

Microsoft's booth this year is a shadow of the enormous booth it had in 2010. Last year was a good show, I thought, with big announcements. This year's show looks to be a good one to. Sony and Japanese studios will be showing loads of new stuff.

A contrarian might say that this is further proof of Japan's irrelevancy. I'd say this is a country Microsoft hasn't conquered yet. Microsoft has sold around 54 million Xbox 360s worldwide. Sony has sold around 52 million PS3s. Just think how many more Xboxes Microsoft would have sold if the PS2 wasn't beating the Xbox 360 in the weekly Japanese sales charts.

Illustration for article titled Is This a Sign of Microsofts Japanese Retreat?

(Top photo: Luke Plunkett)

You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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I think it's a situation that compensates itself.

In America, everyone buys an Xbox360, few buy a PS3, because of patriotism.

In Japan, everyone buys a PS3, few buy an Xbox360, because of patriotism.

In Europe, the sales of the two are mostly even.

The balance would be thrown off if Xbox360 started to sell well in Japan, or if americans started to buy the non-american gaming console.