Home Gaming Why the Xbox 360 failed in Japan

Why the Xbox 360 failed in Japan

2 min read


The Xbox 360 is a pretty capable console (or at least, it was), and has gone on to be the platform of choice for many gamers the world over. Except, of course, for Japan, where the console is considered to be a monumental failure. Why is that?

Former Capcom employee and Mega-man creator Keiji Inafune believe he may have the answer – and it’s the one we’ve all been saying for years; the Japanese are fiercely nationalistic, and don’t want an American console.

“Probably one of the reasons is because PlayStation is a domestic brand in Japan,” Inafune said in a chat with IGN. “As a Japanese [person], I think it’s only natural you feel closer or attached more to domestic products and I find myself being that way too. When you see two products with similar features and one is from your own country and the other is from foreign countries, it’s easy to pick the one from your own country.”

“From this perspective,” he concluded “Xbox is made by Microsoft in the US, so it’s not a domestic product. It’s only natural that you want to support your domestic products. If there were more Xbox-exclusive games out there, things may have been different, but usually a title is developed for multiple platforms so that’s not the case.”

Essentially, the Japanese are racist – but there’s probably more to it than that. Traditionally, the Xbox 360 has catered towards more Western games – i.e shooters; a genre that up until relatively recently, Japanese gamers have had little to no interest in. It’s always, always about the games, which is – I believe – why Nintendo’s Wii U has yet to gain any real traction anywhere. for it’s party, Microsoft did initially try and develop some Japanese momentum, by nurturing and developing Nippon-specific titles such as Blue Dragon, IdolM@ster and Lost Odyssey – but even those titles sold poorly. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s big Japanese push came in the middle of that Red ring of Death fiasco, and the Japanese are not fond of things that break.

Since then, momentum has never been achieved, and Kinect (thanks to Japan’s ludicrously tiny homes) failed to take off. It brings about the question of just how much time, money and effort Microsoft will focus on Japan for its as-yet-unannounced next-generation, Kinect-driven Xbox – and whether or not they should bother at all.

Last Updated: April 2, 2013


  1. Admiral Chief Erwin

    April 2, 2013 at 12:06


    • AndriyP

      April 2, 2013 at 12:07

      ….. ……… ……… ……. %#4$@ …. .. …. .!!!??!?!?!


    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      April 2, 2013 at 12:08

      Hahahahahaha WTF!?!


    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      April 2, 2013 at 12:32

      That is possibly the scariest think I have seen… EVER.


      • Admiral Chief Erwin

        April 2, 2013 at 12:37

        Y U NO LIEK ORRY?


        • Sir Captain Rincethis

          April 2, 2013 at 12:38

          It’s Sorry you plick!


          • AndriyP

            April 2, 2013 at 12:40

            Its blooly lacist!!

    • matthurstrsa

      April 2, 2013 at 13:20

      HAHAHA! That is the coolest picture I’ve seen all day!


    • OVG

      April 2, 2013 at 13:45

      FckK… I just puked my tea out of my nose when I saw that pic :p


    • Aussious

      April 2, 2013 at 17:24



  2. Jonah Cash

    April 2, 2013 at 12:08

    If the header pic is real I can tell you why they didn’t sell more over there: That salesman looks terrifying, look at him how he looks at the camera from under his eyebrows…. I wouldn’t be able to buy from him… And that is probably a family chain store, so all of them will look at you like that….


  3. Anon A Mouse

    April 2, 2013 at 12:09

    I actually feel that’s the same reason why XBox is performing well in the US of A. Yes I do own a PS3 and not a XBox360 but I’m saying it not because I’m a fanboy. It really is just common sense when all things considered are almost the same you go where your heart lies.


  4. umar bastra

    April 2, 2013 at 12:34

    I love how Keiji has an answer for everything wrong in Japan roflol.. I think it’s more to do with PS3 being a domestic product, I mean, xbox 360 has it’s fair share of japanese games. wish there was no rift between east and west as I for one love all things Japanese


  5. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    April 2, 2013 at 12:42

    I think it’s simplistic to blame it on the fact that the “Japanese are racist or nationalistic”. Sure, ethnicity plays a huge role in Japan. If you’re a second-generation Korean living in Japan, you’re not seen as Japanese, or if you have a Chinese surname, yet your family has been living in Japan for decades, you’re… “not really” considered Japanese. Let’s not even bring up Japanese attitudes towards the isle’s aboriginal people, the Ainu.

    But, when you consider how crazy the Japanese are for American and Swedish goods. It kind of throws the, “They’re just anti-America or anti-West” idea out of the window. Also, many of the great Japanese gaming companies have roots in the US. Take Sega for instance, essentially an american company…

    My theory is simple, and it boils down on this fictional nugget a Japanese oke might say after his first xbox 360 red-ringed after only a month:


    Had Microsoft ensured quality control, and not rush their consoles out, they would have actually been more successful in Japan. In fact, many of us bought the xbox 360, because at the time SONY was this arrogant creature who told us all to get second jobs.

    But boy did those sentiments change when our first xbox 360 failed, and then our second, and then our refurbished third, followed by the fourth, until finally, you exchanged most of your xbox games for PS3 games, and you return humbled to Sony.

    “Konichiwa Sony-san, watashi wa no namae wa Jimma Lenoiru wa desu”


    • FoxOneZA

      April 2, 2013 at 12:59



    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      April 2, 2013 at 13:00



      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        April 2, 2013 at 19:28



  6. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    April 2, 2013 at 12:49

    I think Microsoft won’t really focus on Japan as much next-gen, they might instead push for the next best thing… the EUROPEAN TERRITORIES! They made huge in-roads in the UK, but the rest of the EU (cough and South Africa…) remains… SONY-ville.


  7. FoxOneZA

    April 2, 2013 at 12:57

    On the contrary. Sony isn’t the darling of the Japanese market anymore. Sony dedicated shops have emptied out their shelves to their Gangnam Style counterparts. Even Sony themselves sold their Japanese headquarters. Be as patriotic as you want, sticking to a single focused brand isn’t enough in a global economy.


  8. Doe

    April 2, 2013 at 15:20

    Why, when people are nationalistic, do people always need to call you RACIST? What’s wrong with supporting products made by your OWN people, in your OWN country? You’d rather support foreign imposters than your OWN people?

    I don’t get why people gotta hate on those that pic the evolutionary group they were DIVIDED in to for a SPECIFIC reason! I don’t think it’s RACIST. I think it’s quite NATURAL for people to do so. Birds of a feather flock together! With the decline of nationlism a lof of countries and people have lost their ‘original’ identities due to foreign imposters. Look at what happened to China and Taiwan!


    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      April 2, 2013 at 15:45

      There’s nothing wrong with having a sense of national pride, but generally extreme nationalism makes way for xenophobia and bigotry (and both lead to extreme racism – with the sentiment “birds of a feather flock together” being the rallying cry).

      Your example of China and Taiwan is incorrect, since the Chinese that inhabited Formosa are ethnically Chinese (mostly han Chinese . They’re not a different race to the mainlanders, but the difference was fostered post Qing-dynasty fall and the ideological funk that occurred as communism (under Mao took hold in mainland China).

      And if you want to go back further, the Ottoman empire for instance (prior to it’s slow and steady demise – due to what happened in Baghdad with the Mongol invasion), was multi-ethnic. So, if your argument is that a homogeneous group tend to fare better than multicultural nations, then I have a long list of seemingly “homogeneous”empires and states falling to the wayside of history. History is littered with the corpses of civilisations past, and their failure has nothing to do with genetic or ethnic reasons, but rather… purely because nations and civilizations fall and rise naturally (it’s the ebb and flow of human society).


    • Tbone187

      April 3, 2013 at 08:50

      I reckon he should’ve used the word patriotic instead of racist…Makes more sense actually…


  9. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    April 2, 2013 at 16:04

    “Unfortunately, Microsoft’s big Japanese push came in the middle of that Red ring of Death fiasco, and the Japanese are not fond of things that break.”

    Lol Capetownians don’t like that either… we’re very vocal.


  10. Aussious

    April 2, 2013 at 17:29

    I think everybody is overlooking the fact that generally all western games don’t perfom so well in Japan. I mean the Japanese have never taken to American games ever regardless of where they are on Xbox or PS the likes of COD, GTA, Mass Effect or even FIFA just don’t sell in Japan and they never have. This problem goes as far back PSOne days.


    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      April 2, 2013 at 19:19

      They’re obviously footie mad (ever since Japan and Korea hosted the world cup), and ISS and eventually pro-evo are loved there, but FIFA… FIFA has always struggled in the land of the rising sun 🙁


      • Aussious

        April 3, 2013 at 19:39

        LOL, agreed I am a PES fan myself and even though I have to download the fan made patch with all the official kits and stadiums myself, it is a labour of love.


  11. Skyblue

    April 3, 2013 at 09:34

    and i’m sure there are no hard feelings after a couple of atomic bomb drops either…


    • Ray

      June 13, 2013 at 15:26

      I don’t agree with what America did, but lets take a little look at what Japan did to China, and you realize Japan got exactly what they deserved, not saying it should have been the US that served them.

      Lets leave the politics at the door – a real reason for this is the lack interest in the type of games Xbox specialize in, a good few of their big name exclusives are shooters (games that dont do well in Japan).

      Another reason that to me seems silly, but its how the Japaneses see it, if the belief that Sega got killed of by Microsoft (when in reality it was Sony), many Japanese see the similarities between the two, the time the Sega died was around the time Microsoft entered the fray and a lack of looking into the real reason Sega went bust (mostly their own doing) – serves to strengthen their misconception that Microsoft killed Sega. So many Sega fans in Japan (millions of them) swore to never go near Xbox – in fact i have a Japaneses friend who use to think Microsoft was the one who killed his precious Sega Dreamcast, when i showed him different, he was less than pleased (as he currently owns the product of the company that really killed Sega – Sony)


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