2008 was a strong year for the Xbox 360 in Japan. With timed exclusives like Tales of Vesperia, Microsoft was able to draw both long lines and new gamers to its platform. 2009 was another story altogether.
Gamers started to notice that Xbox 360 titles (or their spin-offs) started making their way to other platforms like the PS3. Combined with a history of hardware issues, the Xbox 360 began to look less appealing when compared to the PS3, which had started gaining momentum.
The retail rot set in.
Either stores began posting signs stating they would not buy back used consoles made before August 2007 (above) or completely stopped buying back Xbox 360s.
One retail shop put stickers with cute Christmas trees that read "Great for a Christmas Gift" on the PS3 and the Wii, but not the Xbox 360.
When listing used hardware that the store below would buy back, the Xbox 360 was ignored, left out.
In late December, major retailer Yodobashi Camera no longer offered extended warranties for the Xbox 360. It was the only console for which Yodobashi Camera did not offer an extended warranty.
The problem here isn't so much what Japanese gamers think of the Xbox 360, but what Japanese retailers think.
Western titles such as Modern Warfare 2 (first person shooters are becoming trendy of sorts in Japan) have helped the console weather the storm. While the near future looks equally bleak, Microsoft does have an ace up its green sleeve with its Natal motion controller. Initial media reaction in Japan has been positive and if sold and packaged right, Natal could definitely breathe new life into Xbox Japan.
Xbox360衰退の歴史 「こくないで、敗戦しても最良機」 [はちま起稿]