In 20 Years Microsoft Has Only Sold 2.3 Million Xboxes In Japan
Two decades ago, the first Xbox went on sale in Japan.
In the US, Microsoft slot machines have always been a big hit, but not in Japan. To date, only 2.3 million Xbox consoles of all generations have been sold in the country. Microsoft has had trouble selling the Xbox in Japan for a long time for a number of reasons. The biggest of these was Sony’s dominance and home advantage. But not for lack of effort: in the Xbox 360 era, for example, Microsoft regularly aired Xbox ads on television and enlisted well-known Japanese celebrities to help sell the device. However, nothing seemed to work. Like the country was allergic to Xbox.
Famitsu Weekly wrote a long anniversary article looking back at the last twenty years of the Xbox in Japan. It contains some interesting data, such as local lifetime sales for each Xbox console. (Because VGK notes that the best-selling product was the Xbox 360.)
Xbox: 472,992 units
Xbox 360: 1,616,1289 units
Xbox One: 114,831
Xbox Series X/S: 142,024 units
That’s a total of 2.3 million units across four different platforms over twenty years.
By comparison, the original Xbox sold over 24 million units worldwide, while the Xbox 360 sold over 84 million units. To put the Xbox sales figures in Japan in more context, Sony sold 19 million PlayStation 1s and 24 million PlayStation 2s domestically. We hope this should give you an idea of what the first Microsoft consoles looked like, but even they performed much better than later generations. The same applies to game sales.
The top five best-selling games in Japan for the first three generations of Xbox show how gamer tastes have changed over the years. For Xbox in Japan, the biggest sales were Dead or Alive 3 (217,149 copies), Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (127,576 copies), Halo (76,963 copies), Dead or Alive Ultimate (62,890 copies), and Ninja Gaiden (56,544 copies).
For the Xbox 360 in Japan, the top five best-selling games are Star Ocean 4 (208,521 copies)
, Tales of Vesperia (204,305 copies), blue dragon (203,740 copies), Last remnant (154,493 copies), and Kinect Adventure (154,217 copies). The biggest Xbox One sellers were Complete failure 43,717 copies, Kinect Sports Rivals (25,090 copies), Halo: The Master Chief Collection (18,876 copies), dead Rising 3 (13,987 copies), and Forza Motorsport 5 (13,140 copies).
Falling sales have meant that Microsoft has started skipping gaming events in Japan, but the company has been looking far more optimistic about the country in recent years than before. “Japan is our fastest growing region in the world,” said Xbox CEO Phil Spencer in a pre-recorded message for Tokyo Game Show 2020. “We’re learning from the past.” The past is full of disappointments, so there’s definitely a lot to learn