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Microsoft aims for Japan with Xbox Live promotion

Microsoft aims for Japan with Xbox Live promotion

Thu 18 Apr 2013 3:35am GMT / 11:35pm EDT / 8:35pm PDT
Hardware

With a new console on the horizon, Microsoft takes another shot at Japan

Microsoft is running a new Xbox Live promotion in Japan, according to a report from Siliconera. The promotion, Aim to Do It! One Million Hours, will give Xbox Live Silver and Gold users free Microsoft points for playing certain titles between April 20 and June 19. If the region spends 300,000 cumulative hours on Xbox Live, Gold members will receive 100 MSP, while Silver members will receive 10 MSP. At 500,000 hours, Gold nets 200 MSP and Silver gets 20 MSP. Finally, at 1,000,000 cumulative hours, Gold members will receive 400 MSP and Silver members will get 30 MSP.

The following titles count towards the campaign:

  • Battlefield 3
  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Forza Horizon
  • Halo 4
  • Dance Central 2
  • Skyrim
  • Gears of War Judgment
  • Crysis 3
  • Far Cry 3
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Borderlands 2
  • Tomb Raider
  • Resident Evil: Revelations
  • Resident Evil 6
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge
  • Caladrius
  • Dodonpachi: Saidaioujou
  • Child of Eden
  • Monster Hunter Frontier/Frontier G

Microsoft has never had a strong foothold in the region. In a recent interview with IGN, Comcept boss Keiji Inafune said that the Xbox may have been crippled from the beginning, due to the console not being a Japanese product.

"Probably one of the reasons is because PlayStation is a domestic brand in Japan," he said. "When you see two products with similar features and one is from your own country and the other is from foreign countries, it's easy to pick the one from your own country. From this perspective, Xbox is made by Microsoft in the US, so it's not a domestic product. It's only natural that you want to support your domestic products. If there were more Xbox-exclusive games out there, things may have been different, but usually a title is developed for multiple platforms so that's not the case."

This promotion is one way for Microsoft to improve its current standings in Japan, but at this point Sony's PlayStation 3 already has a commanding lead. At the very least, the promotion could change the sentiment from Microsoft's next Xbox.

"Microsoft's Japan promotion is quite unique, but without being able to drop price on its software or hardware, Microsoft has few options to correct their Japan performance. Microsoft could have simply increased its marketing and retail presence. Large media companies tend to throw money at their problems, so I admire Microsoft for at least speaking directly to gamers in Japan," EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich told VentureBeat.

"The promotion is likely to increase Xbox 360 engagement in Japan, which should trickle down into sales, but given PlayStation 3's five-times lead over the Xbox 360 in Japan, I doubt that this promotion will shift the tides anytime soon. But from Microsoft's point of view, it is certainly worth the effort."

6 Comments

Craig Burkey
Software Engineer

151 142 0.9
I agree with that, the pull of domestic developers is quite strong. One of the reasons I bought Gamecube,360 was, that I was following who, I at the time considered the best British Developer, Rare and I know some people that bought a PS3 specifically for Sony Liverpool.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,227 388 0.3
30 msp? 25p? I think I got 10msp or something for my birthday but I wasn't sure what to spend that 7p on.

Not sure who would find that an incentive really.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

869 1,274 1.5
First, I agree with Andrew. You aren't going to convince a country(who generally has no interest in your console) to either buy a 360 or even start playing the one that approximately 0.0001% of the population have by offering them an amount of MS points so small that the only thing they could hope to get with it is a bunch of avatar clothes.

Second, not only is it a bad promotion in theory(for the actual "reward") but take another look at that list. Half those games are shooters, which is not a strong genre in Japan, especially first person shooters.

Third, this is all that really needed to be said:
In a recent interview with IGN, Comcept boss Keiji Inafune said that the Xbox may have been crippled from the beginning, due to the console not being a Japanese product.".
I've been saying that since the original Xbox days. While I've heard every excuse from the size of the console was too big for Japanese apartments all the way to the "X" translated into the "No" Box, it basically comes down to the Japanese not wanting to support the non-domestic console, regardless of what games it has. However.....
"Probably one of the reasons is because PlayStation is a domestic brand in Japan," he said. "When you see two products with similar features and one is from your own country and the other is from foreign countries, it's easy to pick the one from your own country. From this perspective, Xbox is made by Microsoft in the US, so it's not a domestic product. It's only natural that you want to support your domestic products"
Yeah, except that in the US gamers aren't that.....um, for lack of a better word, shallow. Don't get me wrong, theres nothing wrong with supporting your locally made console/food/business/etc. But when it comes to consoles it seems like the Japanese only support their own consoles. Whereas here in the US we've managed to support multiple consoles, regardless of where they were made. For instance, anyone who thinks the 360 is outselling the PS3 and Wii in the US because it's an American system obviously wasn't paying attention last gen when the Japanese PS2 was outselling the American Xbox 5 to 1 every month. Nor were they paying attention at the begining of this gen when the Japanese Wii was outselling the American 360 here in the US.

I guess it's just a cultural thing for the Japanese and I get that an American made system wouldn't sell as much as the Japanese made systems. But what has always baffled me a bit is when the 360 in ones months US sales(pick any holiday month) could outsell it's entire Japanese sales from launch to present.

To be honest theres really nothing Microsoft can do at this point to win over Japan, not only for this gen but I suspect for next gen as well. I use to joke that Microsoft would have to buy Square Enix and Capcom so that they could have Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter exclusively. But then I realized that all that would do is cause the Japanese to declare they never liked those games in the first place.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,136 914 0.8
Microsoft will never give up on Japan and I don't think they should...

An Xbox Live promotion won't be enough to sway the market but I expect a far greater push for Xbox in the near future. There's been a lot of talk in subsquent years about the failures in their 360 strategy and many things can be fixed there.

Of course, its more than just a strategy required to get people to want something.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

351 116 0.3
@ Andrew
I got 20 MSP for my birthday. Can't wait for it to process so I can buy... erm...

You have a point :)

Posted:A year ago

#5

Saehoon Lee
Director - Gaming

59 40 0.7
It is regional discrimination I say! :D

Posted:A year ago

#6

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