Microsoft pins Japan hopes on new RPGs

Tales of Vesperia, Star Ocean 4 and Infinite Undiscovery top the list

Microsoft has released further details of the titles it hopes will ignite the Xbox 360's ailing sales in Japan at a press event in Tokyo today.

At the Xbox 360 RPG Premiere 2008 stage show, Corporation executives introduced a number of games to be released in the territory in the next 12-18 months, including projects from both Namco Bandai and Square Enix.

Top of the list was the announcement of new details on Star Ocean 4, which will be released on the Xbox 360 in 2009, according to an article on IGN.

It's the first time that the Square Enix franchise will be available on a Microsoft platform, although it's unlikely to be an exclusive.

Other Square Enix titles shown at the event included Infinite Undiscovery, to be released globally this September, and Last Remnant, which will be released first on Xbox 360 and released simultaneously across the world "this Winter".

Also demonstrated was the Namco Bandai title Tales of Vesperia, which will be launched in Japan and North America in August, and in Europe next year, with a planned premium bundle for Japan containing a 20GB hard drive and mystery bonus item.

Mass Effect and Fable 2 were also mentioned in passing, bringing the total number of RPG titles on the slate for the next 18 months up to six.

Microsoft's flagship console has struggled to make an impact in Japan to date, selling just over 567,000 units in its lifetime to the end of May, according to Media Create data.

But for the 2008 calendar year that figure falls to just 60,000, which doesn't compare well to Sony's PlayStation 3 on 427,000 and Nintendo's Wii on 1.5 million in the same period.

Previous attempts to stimulate the market for the Xbox 360 with titles such as Lost Planet and Blue Dragon having only been marginally successful for short periods.

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