In mid-August, a seemingly unbelievable thing happened: The Xbox 360 sold out in Japan. Unbelievable because for years Japan ignored the Microsoft game console. But there we were, mid-August and an Xbox 360 sell out. This came just as Namco Bandai RPG Tales of Vesperia hit the Xbox 360. It got so bad that Microsoft actually had to issue an apology for the sell out. September saw a Microsoft Tokyo press conference that announced a console price cut that would hit when stores were restocked with consoles.
The timing for all this is just too damn good. When asked if this was a moved engineered by Microsoft, company exec Aaron Greenberg said, "Oh, it was totally legit. The demand for the console shot up suddenly. How can you plan for that?" Even now, the situation is so bad that apparently there are only roughly 18 or so consoles in the Japanese warehouse. "Everything we're making, we're selling straight through," Greenberg said. "That's why we're selling out. The only machines we're not selling have dents in them or have been accidentally damaged."
Microsoft's optimistic that this isn't a flash in the proverbial pan. "I see no reason this sales trend won't continue," said Xbox Japan boss Takashi Sensui (pictured). "We have the third party line-up." Sensui doesn't think the sell out was necessarily a plus. "It's not good when customers cannot buy your product," he said. Though, it certainly hasn't hurt Nintendo! The Kyoto-base company has profited from product scarcity.
With the Xbox 360 gaining momentum, are there any Japanese titles or franchises that Microsoft still wants on its console? Greenberg didn't specifically point out any titles in particular, but did add, "We want more." Agreeing, Sensui stated, "I'd like to see Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360 in Japan." Square Enix has announced the game for Xbox 360 and the PS3 in the West, but only for the PS3 in Japan.