Is This The Xbox 360's Retail Retreat In Japan?

Illustration for article titled Is This The Xbox 360's Retail Retreat In Japan?

2008 was a strong year for the Xbox 360 in Japan. With timed exclusives like Tales of Vesperia, Microsoft was able to drawn both long lines and new gamers to its platform. 2009 was another story altogether.

Spring 2009 looked promising with otaku heroine and Japanese popstar Shoko Nakagawa getting her own Xbox 360. But within months, she gave away some of her Xbox 360 titles.

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Gamers started to notice that Xbox 360 titles (or their spin-offs) started making their way to other platforms like the PS3. Combined with a history of hardware issues, the Xbox 360 began to look less appealing when compared to the PS3, which had started gaining momentum.

The retail rot set in.

Illustration for article titled Is This The Xbox 360's Retail Retreat In Japan?
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Either stores began posting signs stating they would not buy back used consoles made before August 2007 (above) or completely stopped buying back Xbox 360s.

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Illustration for article titled Is This The Xbox 360's Retail Retreat In Japan?

One retail shop put stickers with cute Christmas trees that read "Great for a Christmas Gift" on the PS3 and the Wii, but not the Xbox 360.

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Illustration for article titled Is This The Xbox 360's Retail Retreat In Japan?

When listing used hardware that the store below would buy back, the Xbox 360 was ignored, left out.

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In late December, major retailer Yodobashi Camera no longer offered extended warranties for the Xbox 360. It was the only console for which Yodobashi Camera did not offer an extended warranty.

Illustration for article titled Is This The Xbox 360's Retail Retreat In Japan?
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The problem here isn't so much what Japanese gamers think of the Xbox 360, but what Japanese retailers think.

Western titles such as Modern Warfare 2 (first person shooters are becoming trendy of sorts in Japan) have helped the console weather the storm. While the near future looks equally bleak, Microsoft does have an ace up its green sleeve with its Natal motion controller. Initial media reaction in Japan has been positive and if sold and packaged right, Natal could definitely breathe new life into Xbox Japan.

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Xbox360衰退の歴史 「こくないで、敗戦しても最良機」 [はちま起稿]

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DISCUSSION

Fanboy wars aside, I guess this is one of the major problems with XBox 360 in Japan.

Japanese people are overall very picky, and they don't take stuff like RROD lightly. Because of that culture, retailers also avoid any products that might impose such a bother to the costumers and to themselves.

Westerners are a bit more loose on stuff like that. It became common for people to return and depend on costumer service for most electronic devices. We kinda learned to deal with occasional hardware failure, taking stuff back to stores, etc. This is of course a gross generalization, but still.

That's also why Macs do better in Japan than most western countries (correct me if I'm wrong, not 100% shure).

Could also be the reason why Nintendo takes good care on hardware quality.