Let’s face it. Microsoft’s track record in Japan with the Xbox has not been good. In the past few years, Microsoft even stopped going to the Tokyo Game Show, but this year, the company is back.
At the virtual version of the show, at least.
In a pre-recorded message, exec Phil Spencer talked about Xbox and Japan, starting his presentation with a simple greeting in Japanese and adding that he looked forward to visiting players once again in Tokyo.
“Japan is a superpower in this industry with iconic characters and games that are highlights in the gaming histories of hundreds of millions of players across the globe,” Spencer said. “Yakuza, Metal Gear, Biohazard, Persona, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and even more recently, the phenomenon of Animal Crossing.”
“Japan and its creators have shaped so much of the magic we expect when it’s time to play a game.”
Spencer went on to discuss how much Japan has influenced gaming across the world, including on Xbox fans and the Xbox team.
“As we bring games to more devices, more countries and more people, we hope to see more players than ever falling in love with stories and characters imagined in Japan.”
“Japan is our fastest-growing region worldwide,” he continued. “We learn from the past.” Thus, Microsoft will be launching its new hardware in Japan at the same time as the rest of the world.
“Since we launched Game Pass for both console and PC in Japan this past April, we’ve seen more players on Xbox devices, games and services than at any time in our history in the market.” Game Pass might finally be enough of a reason for more people in Japan to jump in. So far, things have certainly improved: as Spencer notes, Xbox gaming monthly users have increased 82 per cent year on year.
Sony is a formidable opponent, especially in Japan, and people need a very good reason to buy the console. Maybe the one-two punch of the lower priced Xbox Series S and Game Pass will entice more than in previous generations. Maybe not. This presentation, though, was the most bullish Xbox has sounded on Japan in a long, long time.