Long have Xbox fans been bemoaning the relative lack of Japanese-developed games on the platform, certainly when you compare the library of Xbox consoles to that of PlayStation and Nintendo platforms. Xbox’s golden era in this respect was during the early Xbox 360 era when the PlayStation 3 was struggling, and the Xbox platform was seeing sales that the console manufacturer has not since seen. It was during this time that Xbox invested heavily in the Japanese scene and it resulted in a host of fascinating titles, from Eternal Sonata, Blue Dragon, and Lost Odyssey, to quirky Square Enix RPGs like Infinite Undiscovery, and The Last Remnant, even Final Fantasy came to Xbox for the first time with the multiplatform release of Final Fantasy XIII.
Since then though, PlayStation has regained its footing in the sales race, and Japanese developers have begun to race back to their platform with it being the home to the bulk of players of their types of games. Xbox hasn’t given up though, as Sarah Bond, Microsoft’s corporate VP of gaming ecosystem at Xbox, has reaffirmed the company’s intent to nurture more Japanese and other Asian region-developed games in the future.
Speaking to IGN Japan at the recently run and won Tokyo Game Show during a live stream, Bond was asked about what Xbox owners should expect when it comes to Japanese developed, Xbox published titles in the future, similar to the Xbox 360’s golden patch, Bond’s response was definitive,
Completely. One of the things that I’m super excited about is that we have over 250 developers in Japan developing games for Xbox right now. 150 have already shipped, 100 of them are in Game Pass and we [recently] got to announce 15 titles made in Asia and 13 in Japan.
So much has come, but there’s even more that’s going to come in the future and I can’t wait to reveal it to you all as it starts coming out.
It’s not just Sarah Bond who has been talking a big game, Xbox’s Head Of Gaming, Phil Spencer reiterated to Famitsu the company’s focus, emphasizing the connections that he’d formed that he hoped would hold the company in good stead.
I have a lot of acquaintances and friends who make games in Japan, many of them we’ve known for a long time, and we’ve been asking, “What do you need for our platform?”
We have listened to Japanese game creators and received feedback. I think the fact that we have been able to improve has led to trust, which in turn has led to games being released on Xbox. I think that feedback loop will lead to many more Japanese games in the future, and I am happy about this trend.
Titles such as Hideo Kojima’s heavily rumored Overdose are a great start. Meanwhile, the company has locked down partnerships that will result in the likes of Persona, and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty coming to the platform.