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Japan’s a Tough Nut to Crack

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to make the 360 a success in Japan. Microsoft is unveiling software on the “scale of E3” later this month in Japan, showing off a number of first and third party titles. But this might not be enough.

According to a survery of 1,000 Japanese consumers, 60% chose the PS3 as the most appealing next-gen console, followed by the Revolution with 8% and 2% for the 360, leaving 30% undecided. Even if those 30% went for the 360, that would still mean 60% PS3 and 32% 360.

What were the reasons for their PS3 choice? Here they are:

  • it is a Sony product
  • perceived technological superiority – including Blu-ray
  • it was thought likely to have the largest range of software

Microsoft can spend all the money in the world and it’ll never be Sony. And unless they change the 360’s specs or mount a massive educational campaign, it’s unlikely they’ll change people’s minds about the PS3’s technical capabilities. So that leaves just one area where they can make an impact – breadth of software titles. They’re starting on their back foot already, but a concerted effort might change the minds of Japanese consumers. Or at least make them reconsider. Microsoft has a long way to go, and with numbers like these I don’t think they’ll break through in the lucrative Japanese market like they hope to. And if they don’t break the Japanese market, it’s unlikely they’ll garner the kind of developer support the PS2 currently enjoys. And if they don’t have that kind of support, they won’t be number one this time around either.

Microsoft might have one fact in their favour. The survey was conducted on a group of consumers aged 10 to 59. Is that really Microsoft’s target market? I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so.

Link: GamasutraJapanese Next-Gen Interest Gauged In Survey
Link: Gamer LoungeJapanese E3: Now Showing
Link: gameindustry.bizSurvey suggests tough times ahead for Xbox 360 in Japan