Japan Hated The Xbox Before It Was Even Out

The Xbox never caught on in Japan. The 360 is having problems too. Ever wonder why? There are any number of reasons why Japan won't embrace the console now, but let's go back to the very beginning.

"...when I went to Japan to show the console, man, they really had a problem with it. I was told a number of crazy things, like the controller should weigh the same as water in your hands", former Xbox boss Ed Fries tells Develop, describing some overseas testing prior to the original console's launch in 2001.

"We heard all kinds of negative things from Japan, like we couldn't use the name Xbox because ‘X' means death, and the console couldn't be black, because that also was the colour of death. The first Xbox consoles we released in Japan weren't black, in fact, they were a smoky colour – but I was always thinking to myself, ‘hang on, isn't the PS2 black?!'"

Yes, Ed, it was.

It's said first impressions are the most lasting, and if Microsoft's console tested poorly prior to release then it was always going to have an uphill battle in Japan, regardless of how valid the market's objections to the Xbox were.

Inside story: The birth of Xbox [Develop]


    It's funny because white is actually one of the main colors that is involved in death in Japan. The white carnation for one and in a lot of funerals the deceased is placed in a white kimono.

    Wven now, the market is incredibly small for the 360 in Japan. Most stores simply don't stock it. Even the ones that do only have a token offering in store. If you want anything xbox, you pretty much have to go to Yodobashi Camera.

    However, the people who DO own it (mostly incredible otaku stereotypes) are really very loyal to the console. I suppose a small, hardcore audience is better than the original xbox got out of Japan, so things are improving slowly.

    Japan...the MOST racist of all countries in the world, even to the extent to affect what brands they purchase. "Oh no, I can not buy that...because it isn't Japanese". Judgement based on country of origin and not merit.

      They are very proud patriots.

        The same way the hoodlums who cruise around in utes with "Australia, love it or leave it" bumper stickers and tell people "Country's full mate" are proud patriots?

          +1 Internets for you

      Completely correct.

      Japan as a nation is hideously xenophobic. Japanese citizenship is exclusively for those of Japanese heritage, unlike the West.

      And indeed, in Japan white is associated with death, much moreso than black.

      Of course, it is quite probable that the Xbox was much, much more expensive in Japan than the PS2 was.

      So yes, there is clearly an element of Xenophobia in Japanese purchasing patterns. Can the entirety of Xbox sales in Japan be explained by Xenophobia? Of course not. But it is clearly a contributing factor.

      Luckily the Xbox 360 has done much better in Japan than the original Xbox did.

      Just because someone wants to buy local products rather then other products does not equate to racism. There's no link there.

    God damn it Japan! Why do you have to be so... aklsfhlasjkdfhajksdfhasdf.


    Nonsense so what about Megaman X, Metal Slug X and the many games which featured the year 20XX.

    I believe it simply is a case of bias towards anything foreign.

    Most of us embraced their foreign consoles but they won't try ours.

    Racists exhibit xenophobia... pictures at eleven.

    yeah Japan as much as I love it seems stubborn and old fashioned for such a modern tech revolutionised country. In saying that though the PS3 is awesome so maybe they just don't care?
    most people in the west argue that you don't need both a 360 and ps3 so maybe they are being sensible??
    Or maybe I have no clue what I'm saying?

      Nah, it's clearly that the Japanese are racist. Don't you know nothin?

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