Japan loves foreign products — Apple, BMW, and even Red Wings shoes are popular here. Yet, there's the Xbox 360. Gathering dust on store shelves in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Unloved. People in Japan just don't care! Poor Xbox.
The original Xbox was a failure in Japan. The Xbox 360 was a failure in Japan. Microsoft's gaming console and Japan just don't get along. Its heart already belongs to two other hardware makers: Nintendo and Sony.
So what can Microsoft do to win over Japanese gamers?
Here is some unsolicited advice from 2ch, Japan's largest online forum.
"Give away the console for free".
"From the moment PS4 comes out, a flawless victory is impossible."
"If they did a better job of promoting Kinect, it would do well."
"Stop calling it Xbox. It might be cool over there, but in Japan, the name is very strong and seems very junior high. Thus, it doesn't appeal to women and children."
"Name it PlayStation. Well, that might be impossible..."
"It seems hard to sell as a game machine. Bundle it with Kinect and brain training software, pegging it to education, and try to venture into a new market share."
"[The Xbox brand] looks like it's been a mistake. If you compare it to Apple, it seems hillbilly. I don't think they should do any promotion."
"They should put a boy band in their commercials. Oh wait."
"There's nothing. (Quick reply)"
"The image for 'Box is that it only appeals to core male gamers, so they need to make and promote content that appeals to everyone and doesn't stink of Western games."
"I want them to continue flooding us with RPGs."
"Buy Square Enix. Make Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy exclusive. Then, they'll win Japan."
"I'll buy it if they put out a Halo and a Gears of War. In truth, the PC is enough for me."
What does Japan matter? With this generation drawing to a close, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 global sales numbers are neck and neck. If Japan were to tip slightly more in Microsoft's favour, the Xbox 360 could take a decisive lead. Only 1.59 million Xboxes have been sold in Japan; in comparison, 10 million PS3s have been sold and over 12 million Wii consoles. Will Microsoft have better luck with its next console?
In case you missed it, here's Kotaku's exclusive report on the next Xbox.