Gamasutra Special: The State Of Japanese Game Retail
Posted by XanTium | September 18 20:05 EST
There have been plenty of articles in the past pontificating on the Japanese game market. But very few seem to have taken things down to a granular practical level, by simply analyzing what is stocked on Japanese video game store shelves, and how it differs to what we see in North America.
Xbox 360 - Not Quite Dead Yet
Now, given the news that Microsoft's Xbox 360 has sold less than 100,000 hardware units so far this year in Japan, and likely under 150,000 to date in the territory, one might wonder whether it would be impossible to find the hottest U.S. console in Japanese stores at all.
It was actually fairly easy - there was a demo Xbox 360 unit set up at the Odaiba branch of Toys 'R Us, and a similar unit at Sofmap in Shinjuku, and a not insignificant stash of games in each.
Of course, this was just one shelf for Xbox 360 titles, compared to three for PSP and five or more for DS (and no Xbox 1 games in Toys 'R Us at all!) But it is notable that Microsoft has managed to get such strong Japanese developer support for the first few months of its console.
By a rough count, around 50% of the Xbox 360 titles displayed on Japanese shelves were developed natively, and around 30% of those are Japanese exclusive right now. These Japanese X360 exclusives include New Japan Pro Wrestling and newer games such as Zegapain XOR, and cost around 6599 yen ($55.10), incidentally, fairly similar to some PlayStation 2 game prices.
But are these Japan exclusives going to dry up, if the horrid installed base makes it difficult to sell more than 10,000 copies of any one title? Quite possibly, though titles that are saleable in multiple territories, especially North America, will certainly continue to be produced. It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft discusses this issue in its pre-TGS press conference this Wednesday.
Read More: gamasutra.com