There’s been a lot of talk about Phil Spencer and Xbox lately due to the leaked email issue that flooded the news channels last week. The brand and Microsoft were put under the spotlight in the worst way because of past statements that were made public by accident because of the FTC court battle they won. But even with those issues, Spencer is still taking time to build up the Xbox brand and assure gamers that big things are coming. For example, you might know that the Xbox line has never done well in Japan sales-wise.
There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which is “brand loyalty” within the nation, but that hasn’t stopped Phil Spencer from talking about how Microsoft is trying to build up a rapport with Japanese gamers, and that includes bringing in Japanese developers to make AAA titles for their systems. As VGC notes, Spencer did an interview where he stated:
“We released Hi-Fi Rush in January 2023. It may not have been a major title like Blue Dragon, but it was certainly high-quality. There are also Japanese game creators who are part of Microsoft Game Studios, and while there are titles we can’t announce yet, we are currently developing new games in collaboration with Japanese companies. With further growth, including first-party and third-party, I believe you can look forward to the arrival of even more Japanese titles in the future.”
We know that this isn’t just bravado, as at a special conference for Square Enix, Spencer arrived to help reveal that Final Fantasy XIV would be coming to the Xbox Series X/S, with the promise that more from the legendary RPG franchise could come after. Square Enix is easily one of the best Japanese developers in the world, so Xbox building up a relationship with them would fulfill Spencer’s promise.
However, in another interview last year, Spencer also stated that they had “250 developers from Japan” working on titles, some of which have already been released on Xbox or Game Pass. While this may be interesting on the gaming side for certain people, the question is whether this will help bolster their console and software sales. As you can see below, a new update on the 2023 hardware sales highlights how the Xbox Series X/S isn’t doing too well. In fact, their new systems are trailing behind the Nintendo Switch by leaps and bounds, and the Nintendo system is in its “last year of life.”
So, no matter how things go with the Japanese market game development-wise, they have to hope it all adds up to more sales.