You've got to admire Microsoft's determination. Millions of dollars spent on marketing, years of work spent on promotion, and still only 12 people in Japan own an Xbox.
But all that's set to change, at least as if Phil Spencer has anything to do with it. He's the corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios and he delivered the keynote presentation at this year's Tokyo Game show - as you'll know if you read our live text of his speech.
Spencer announced no less than five new Xbox 360 titles from Japanese developers, including a few Kinect offerings. But will these be enough to convince Japan that Xbox 360 isn't rubbish? Can Microsoft's motion-controller compete with Move? What does the future hold for the Xbox platform? And how many times can one man say "experience" in a single interview? Read on to find out.
Eurogamer: How was the keynote for you? Were you nervous?
Phil Spencer: Of course I was nervous! From a sense of personal pride, I've been in the Xbox business since the beginning of Xbox 1 and as an American company, getting to come to TGS to host the keynote and bring 10 Japanese creators on our stage, talking about the products they're building for our platform... It wasn't always true that would have been a natural conclusion for us.
Those creators aren't just jumping on the installed base that we have, but also looking forward to the future. It was good to see the level of support.
Eurogamer: Speaking of your installed base, yesterday you pointed out that Xbox is number one in the States and number one in Europe. You didn't say what position it is in Japan...
Phil Spencer: Actually I don't know. I mean, I'd guess we're third, historically, if you take PS3, Wii and us as the set.
I'm proud of the products we shipped here. We're clearly the away team; Sony and Nintendo have a long track record of success. But we're dedicated to this market. That's why the $2.1 billion in sales for Japanese creators on our platform is also a mark of pride.
Eurogamer: You've made pushes into Japan before, and had presence at TGS before, yet Xbox never seems to have gathered enough momentum to take off here. Why is that?
Phil Spencer: Momentum builds over time. Before Xbox we had no presence, and the other two competitors were in the market, and I do think we've made strides. If we look at where we've come from from Xbox 1... I do think it's a steady momentum.
We'll continue to push. Microsoft's a big company with big ambitions, and in certain regions those ambitions will take time to come to fruition. Japan's part of our global community there and we're dedicated to this space for the long term. There's no magic tick-boom point for us.
Eurogamer: With regard to the new games you announced yesterday, how come we didn't see any gameplay?
Phil Spencer: Truthfully, we're just early. We want to show things when we actually can show, in a visually stunning way, the promise of what the game's going to be about. I don't know if a one-hour TGS keynote is the place for somebody who wants to see a gameplay prototype played out on stage.
Eurogamer: The Kinect titles on show yesterday seemed more hardcore in tone than the games you've got coming out at launch. Would you say that's an accurate appraisal?
Phil Spencer: Our focus was really on celebrating Japanese creators. There wasn't a specific, 'Hey, we're going to show a bunch of hardcore stuff,' attempt to prove a point. It turns out that the content was different than the content we had at E3, and I don't see that as a bad thing.
Kinect will be entertainment for everybody - gamers who have shown support and new people who probably look at controllers as too much friction for them.
Eurogamer: A few of the comments by readers on our live text were suggesting they're still not interested in Kinect, that they don't want to stand up to play games. What would you say to that?
Phil Spencer: I'm happy for people to be sceptical. People aren't going to buy something based on the front of the box for an ad we present, especially people who understand games. They want to play and experience. That's why we do our mobile tours and retailer events.
Scepticism, I think, is healthy. I wouldn't want someone to buy something because I say it's going to be good.
Eurogamer: Aaron Greenberg's just been quoted as saying he reckons you'll sell more Kinects at launch than you did Xbox 360s. Would you agree?
Phil Spencer: Yeah, touch wood. We're investing in this so people will know Kinect is here. Retailers are telling us from their buzz and what they hear from people walking the store asking questions that this is going to be the biggest consumer home electronics launch of this year, and they're gearing up towards that.
Given all the momentum that I see and the way we're investing, I'll bet this is the biggest platform launch ever.
Eurogamer: Counting all consoles and everything?
Phil Spencer: For the holiday, yeah, I bet it is. We have 15 launch games - few consoles have shipped with 15 launch games. They're really high quality. And there are some things we can take advantage of - the fact the 360 is a platform people know, so the technology involved in putting a game on the platform, connecting to Live - those are things that developers have become adept at.
It will be about how we execute, but we'll see. I don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we're invested and we expect, yeah, that this will be the biggest launch we've ever seen.
Eurogamer: Three million shifted this Christmas, then?
Phil Spencer: That's what my friend Don [Mattrick] said. I think that's an ambitious number. I would expect that we could at least do that.
Eurogamer: Go on, say a bigger number. Let's up the stakes. Three million and one?
Phil Spencer: Like The Price is Right... We're in this for the long run, we're investing in this as if it's a core part of our platform. This is something that's going to transform the way people play on the 360. We think that starts this holiday and continues for evermore.
Eurogamer: You say you're confident in the potential of the launch titles for Kinect. Your very own Peter Molyneux doesn't seem quite so confident - he's been saying recently that perhaps we shouldn't judge Kinect on the first wave of titles. He seemed to be saying, don't expect amazing things...
Phil Spencer: What I would say, having been through a few platform launches, is launching is always a unique challenge for a team.
Eurogamer: Challenging is just another word for hard, isn't it?
Phil Spencer: Yes, it is difficult because figuring out the hardware while we're figuring out the operating system and trying to figure out the experiences on top... All of that does make it challenging, absolutely. Difficult.
That said, if we look historically at what happens at launches of platforms, that is when true franchises are created. I can focus on Halo as our classic example - that was a launch game on Xbox 1 and now it has its own place in gaming. It's a unique opportunity to create a franchise that lasts for an awful long time.
Eurogamer: Do you ever wish you had some kind of tranquiliser gun for Peter Molyneux so you could stop him saying these things?
Phil Spencer: No, I don't think he's wrong there. Peter is funny. We had breakfast together this morning. We did his annual review this morning.
Eurogamer: Oh? How many marks out of 10 did he get?
Phil Spencer: Oh, you know, he always wants 12 out of 10.
Eurogamer: Knowing Peter Molyneux, he probably wants 5000 out of 10.
Phil Spencer: Exactly. But he's had a good year. I've been playing Fable III and - of course I'm going to say this, so everybody can kind of go, 'Whatever, Phil,' but - it is the best Fable yet.
Eurogamer: Whatever, Phil.
Phil Spencer: But you'll play and you'll tell me. I said the same thing about Reach and I think people are telling us back that this probably is the best Halo ever.
Peter is a very important person - while we haven't announced any Kinect games from Lionhead, Peter's role as creative director in Europe and what he does to our overall creative eco system inside our organisation is very strong. So no, I don't want to tranquilise him.
Eurogamer: PlayStation Move launches today - have you pre-ordered yours?
Phil Spencer: This is going to sound like a cheeky comment, but I hadn't realised it launched today.
Phil Spencer: I mean, I knew it was coming up. I've been focused a little bit on our Halo launch, so maybe that's why I have my blinders on, to be honest.
I did not pre-order one. I will play it, absolutely. I play most of the games on the other platforms. I want to know what people are doing. I walked the booth and saw what some of the people are doing. It looked - I'm not trying to take shots at them - it looked kind of similar to what they'd shown at E3. I didn't see a ton of new stuff.
Eurogamer: Sony's pushing 3D very hard, they seem very confident it's the future of gaming...
Phil Spencer: Yeah. They want to sell you a TV.
Eurogamer: They do, yes. Is the only reason Microsoft isn't pushing too because you don't want to sell me a TV?
Phil Spencer: We support 3D on 360, absolutely.
Eurogamer: Sure, but you don't seem to be saying it's the future of gaming. Sony is saying, yes, OK, people don't have 3D TVs now, but...
Phil Spencer: But they should, because they want you to buy one... We're about mass-market scale opportunity, and today in the home, 3D isn't there. It's just not.
When we think about a platform for content creators, where they can ship titles on our platform, and sell millions of units, and have the success they need to have for their business, 3D it just doesn't have that surface area yet in the home.
From a creative standpoint, I'm not really seeing the innovation in 3D I think we need. More stuff flinging at me from a screen... I don't know if that's creativity. The first few times it was novel, but I think we're going to want to see some kind of evolutionary step and creativity in using 3D that will really drive consumer demand.
You see that even on the silver screen - when 3D movies came out it used to spike box office sales. Now the novelty has worn off a little bit and people are saying well, what is remarkable about this?
Eurogamer: Sony might argue that people used to say that about HD - that it was too expensive, not enough people were interested in it, that it didn't make much difference... But now high definition has become the standard.
Phil Spencer: I didn't say it didn't make a difference. I believe 3D will absolutely be a core component. I'm just saying for us, as a platform company and a content creator, I want to have a larger addressable audience we can sell content to and then do things that actually move the state of the art forward.
Other than copying what other people are doing or just trying to sell you a TV, I want to see that creative movement going forward. So I'm not a non-believer in 3D; I just think it's a technology in the home which is still in an incubation phase.
Eurogamer: Kinect is £130 in the UK. Do you think that's low enough to make it an impulse buy for the casual user to pick up?
Phil Spencer: Yes.
Eurogamer: Oh right OK good answer.
Phil Spencer: As a console, we've been fairly priced relative to the competition and the value we deliver to the customer. We thought long and hard about Kinect and we want to make sure it's a long-term part of our platform, so getting the pricing right is important. We want to make sure the experience we deliver is in line with the price and we think we've done that.
Eurogamer: There's been a lot of talk about features which have been removed from Kinect as it was first shown a year or two ago, and how it is now, to bring the price down... How similar is it to the technology you originally showed?
Phil Spencer: The technology is the same. With platform evolution there's code that goes in and code that comes out and code that gets fixed and code that gets added. The important thing for us was thinking about the play sessions that we really wanted to support. For us, that was about multiple people playing in the home.
Kinect is actually very affordable, relative to maybe what some of the competitors are shipping today. If it was here in this room, you and I wouldn't need to buy two sensors to play. Four of us could play. That's the core tech we wanted to nail, and I think we have.
Eurogamer: There's been a lot of talk about how Kinect will extend the life of the platform and we're moving away from five-year console cycles. But some gamers are saying they want a new machine, not more add-ons. What would you say to them?
Phil Spencer: [Pause]
Phil Spencer: No. I think even the corest of the core understand there's some kind of price envelope you want to sit in...
Eurogamer: Price envelope? That's a new one.
Phil Spencer: Well, you know, selling a $10,000 console... If we had a $10,000 console I'll bet it would sing and dance.
Eurogamer: I bet there's at least one Eurogamer reader who would buy one.
Phil Spencer: Yeah, and that's probably how many we would sell... The whole notion of the console generation is going to blur a little bit, especially as the online service becomes such a pervasive part of the experience.
We are significantly adding to our platform this fall with Kinect - not only from a hardware standpoint but from a software standpoint. Does this extend life for the 360? Absolutely. Right now when we look at our hardware we're very comfortable with the kind of experiences we can bring to market and we think Kinect opens up a whole new opportunity.
Eurogamer: Have you started work on the next Xbox yet?
Phil Spencer: We're always thinking about what's next; that's how Kinect came about. We asked, 'What's the biggest barrier right now to us getting to the hundreds of millions our aspiration?' It turns out it wasn't the GPU, it wasn't the CPU, it was something as simple as the friction that's created by everything having to go through a controller.
Eurogamer: Let's finish with one more question about yesterday's keynote yesterday: do you really go down Akihabara looking for copies of Radiant Silvergun?
Phil Spencer: I didn't make Akihabara this time, but yeah, I'm kind of a collector. When we purchased Rare it was funny because I wasn't a Nintendo person growing up, I was more of an Atari, Commodore person. I remember trying to go find copies of GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and the old Banjos. That peaked my interest in collecting old consoles and it's a little bit of a hobby, yeah.
But I'm not sure we made the collectors happy with our announcement. I'm sure the prices on eBay took a dive.
Eurogamer: You probably just ruined those peoples' lives.
Phil Spencer: I apologise for that. I hope the gamers are happy though.
Phil Spencer is corporate vice president, Microsoft Game Studios.