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X360 off to slow start in Japan

But bigwig says it'll improve.

Microsoft of Japan executive Yoshihiro Maruyama has admitted that Xbox 360 sales in the territory have been disappointing so far, with less than 110,000 units shifted since the console launched in December.

In an interview with Famitsu magazine, partially translated by GameSpot, Maruyama said that launching the console had been "A lot more difficult than we had imagined. We couldn't prepare the launch titles that we had promised, and it made an impact."

The Xbox 360 went on sale in Japan on December 10. Just over 62,000 consoles were snapped up in the first two days after launch, but sales then slowed and by January 15 only 107,800 units had been purchased. Worryingly for Microsoft, the original Xbox - which never succeeded in capturing a substantial share of the Japanese market - performed somewhat better, with almost 124,000 units sold in the first three days after launch.

Maruyama went on to say that a failure to communicate the advantages of high definition had been a factor, stating: "We also received some criticisms toward our promotions, saying that people don't understand what high definition is. The Xbox 360's main appeal is high definition, but we couldn't successfully convey it."

However, Maruyama said he remains optimistic that things will pick up in the coming months. Two delayed titles - Dead or Alive 4 and RPG eNCHANT aRM - are now on the shelves, and other key games for the Japanese market such as Ninety-Nine Nights, Final Fantasy XI and Lost Odyssey are coming soon. Maruyama added that more titles designed to appeal to Japanese gamers are currently being developed and could be announced before E3.