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Xbox to be delayed in Japan?

It should tie itself to a single aim and actually talk to developers, say Capcom

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft's Xbox is due out late this year in the States, and in Europe in early 2002. The system had been expected to hit Japanese shores about the same time as it arrived in Northern America, but according to analysts, the big M is having to rethink its strategy due to a lack of interest from developers. So far, Microsoft boasts support from all corners of the globe... except the far East. Studios like Lionhead and publishing giants like Electronic Arts practically offer an excuse for the Seattle-based firm to start their own mint, but so far only Konami have hesitantly signed up for the next generation system. Speaking to Bloomberg, Capcom's general manager of R&D Keiji Inafune said that "Japanese video-game developers cannot afford to invest aggressively in making Xbox games because Microsoft has yet to show its specific intentions, such as what age demographic it is targeting." As is widely known, Japanese console game demographics are very different to the West. The level of interest in popular Western titles like FIFA 2001 is nothing when compared to the interest in, say, a game about helping a schoolgirl to get a date for the dance on Friday. Although industry observers are now plotting the Xbox's arrival in Japan for early next year along with its arrival in Europe, Microsoft are standing firm to their release estimates. The Tokyo Game Show at the end of this month is expected to showcase an announcement from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, and an announcement about rollout may well be forthcoming. What have Microsoft to lose by confirming the delay? Why, market share with Nintendo of course. The GameCube is expected to signal a return to fortune for Nintendo after the relative failure of its N64 console. Although the Xbox boasts an impressive hardware makeup, including the latest GeForce 3 -based XGPU from nVidia and more, Nintendo is being praised for going back to basics and focusing on the games. The GameCube's relationship with the GameBoy Advance will also be dangerous for Xbox, and with both products now expected to hit Japanese shores first, Microsoft's ability to gain a foothold will rely on extensive developer support, something which they have up until now been neglecting. Related Feature - Thinking About the Box

Source - Bloomberg

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