MS responds to Xbox 360 in Japan concern

Remains committed but admits challenges.

Microsoft has responded to recent concern over the Xbox 360 in Japan, dismissing the suggestion it will pull out of the market.

Microsoft endures high-profile struggles in Japan with the Xbox 360, which continues to sell poorly.

Recent reports suggested Japanese retailers were removing the Xbox 360 from sale, but Microsoft told Eurogamer at Gamescom it remains committed to making the console a success there.

“No, of course we're not pulling out,” Chris Lewis, Microsoft's European boss, told Eurogamer.

“It's a challenging market. We are up against very strong competition there. All of our competition is strong. We're very respectful of what Sony and Nintendo do and where they've come from and what they bring.

“Nintendo, particularly with the Wii, have opened up a market opportunity there. We've leapfrogged that handheld technology with Kinect. What we're seeing is users love using their own body without worrying about how to work a controller. So we see ourselves as, frankly, a company that does bring an awful lot of firsts, and we've enjoyed fabulous success with Kinect.”

There are a slew of Xbox 360-exclusive, Japanese-made video games in development, including Capcom's Kinect-fuelled Steel Battalion, which Eurogamer saw this week at Microsoft's Gamescom Play Day event.

It remains to be seen whether Steel Battalion and games like it will boost sales of the Xbox 360 in Japan, which saw a dramatic 46.7 per cent year-to-date decline in sales this week, according to Media Create. Microsoft has sold 1.5 million Xbox 360 units in Japan – six years after launch. The Nintendo 3DS, boosted by a price cut, has already outsold the Xbox.

But Lewis suggested Microsoft will use next month's Tokyo Game Show to show its continued investment in Xbox 360 in Japan.

“Japan remains important to us. We're very committed to that market. The development community there is very important. Tokyo Game Show will be a notable element in the year as usual.”

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