Xbox One Japanese Launch Establishes Record Low for Xbox in Japan
Nobody was under the impression that the Xbone was going to take Japan by storm on the system’s September 4 launch. An Xbox launch in the land of the rising sun has never been so much of an afterthought as it was for the Xbone, with the region being designated as a tier-2 launch country, meaning that the console is seeing launch nearly a full year after the system’s release in North America. Nor has Microsoft shown much in the way of support for development of content likely to appeal to Japanese audiences this time around – sure, Platinum Games’ Scalebound and Access Games’ D4 are Japanese titles, but they are likely being developed for Western audiences. More to the point, Scalebound is not expected to see release this year, and D4 is no shoe-in either. Contrast that to Sega’s strong support of the OG Xbox, or Microsoft’s massive JRPG buying spree for the launch window of the 360, which saw the 360 as the exclusive home of titles such as Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, and Tales of Vesperia.
It is little surprise then that the lines for the Xbone’s Japanese debut were literally non-existent. Any content even vaguely appealing to the Japanese audience is already available on the PS4, so there is very little in the way of push factors that might see a Japanese family pick one up – a fact that is reflected in the sales figures from the Xbone’s opening weekend. In fact, only two systems have ever had a poorer launch in Japan: the NeoGeo Pocket and NeoGeo Pocket Color. Across the Xbone’s launch weekend, which consists of sales from September four to seven, the console managed to sell just 23,562 units – and most of these sales were likely to US Marines stationed there. To put this into perspective, the OG Xbox sold 123,929 units on its Japanese launch, while the 360 sold 62,135 units on launch, meaning that the Xbone is on track for record-low Japanese sales for the current generation. One wonders why they even tried launching there in the first place. On the eve of the Xbone’s Japanese launch, Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg was asked why the company no longer tweets Xbox NPD data, to which he replied:
“summer is always slow, like pre-season. We tend to focus on holiday when it really counts!”
Funny then that Sony’s PS4 has experienced nothing in the way of pre-season lethargy. At any rate, Microsoft probably should not look to their Japanese market to compensate for the console’s dearth of sales elsewhere.
Nintendo Extends the Middle Finger to Buyers of the 3DS and 3DS XL Ashtray Attachment
In the wake of Nintendo’s unveiling of their ‘New 3DS’ it looks as though the greedy company is set to try every method at its disposal to force owners of the 3DS and 3DS XL to upgrade once again, even if circumstances do not necessarily warrant it. First came the announcement that the New 3DS would have the ability to play exclusive software, which really begs the question of why not just make it its own system at that point? Exclusive software seems a tad unnecessary, but one is unable to state for a fact that the extra processing power of the New 3DS was not required for software of this scope, so the potential exists that this may in fact be a legitimate move on Nintendo’s part. What one can categorically state for a fact however, is that the deliberate hobbling of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS was one-hundred percent avoidable, and is a real dick-move on the part of Nintendo.
Nintendo has stated that Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS will not support the 3DS ashtray peripheral even in spite of the fact that these additional control inputs will be supported on Nintendo’s New 3DS. In fact, considering that legacy 3DS software which uses the 3DS ashtray will operate natively with the New 3DS, treating the additional control inputs as though they belonged to the ashtray, we can probably conclude that it will actually require more work on the part of Nintendo to disable the game’s support of the ashtray. The use of the second stick in order to smash is pretty much universally accepted as a quicker way to smash, meaning that by restricting this functionality to New 3DS owners, Nintendo is pretty much unbalancing their own game by creating two different classes of Smash players. It is times like these that one is gladdened that the sales of the Wii U are tanking on a grand scale, as it means that Nintendo is unable to pull this kind of heavy-handed shit with their home console.
Minecraft Will Save the Windows Phone
Microsoft’s Windows Phone is a dead brand. The time for drastic rehabilitative action to be taken was long ago, as the product at this point is grown too moribund to salvage. This fact is not enough to prevent Microsoft from doing what Microsoft does best however, meaning that the out-of-touch OS giant is once again set to swoop in with their chequebook, and drastically overpay for a popular service in an effort to force existing users to purchase inferior Microsoft products in order to continue receiving the optimal experience. Microsoft has identified one of the key limiting factors holding back Windows Phone adoption as being the reluctance on the part of mobile developers to develop Windows Phone versions of software, on account of the fact that the market for software is so negligible. It is for this reason that Microsoft is set to purchase Minecraft developer Mojang for 2.5 billion dollars – eight times Mojang’s 2013 earnings.
Minecraft is something of a cultural phenomenon, a graphically unimpressive Indy game that has gone on to sell over fifty-four million copies. Microsoft is banking on this popularity, as it believes that by offering the best Minecraft experience on Windows Phone, the company will be able to coax Minecraft‘s userbase into adopting the platform. It seems quite unlikely that any serious Minecraft user would prefer to play on Windows Phone even if it is more feature-rich, as the screen is simply too small. One suspects that the title’s stellar iOS and Android sales are the result of consumers picking Minecraft up for whatever platform they happen to have, which makes it seem rather doubtful that a few additional bells and whistles would provide much of a push-factor for Windows Phone adoption. The only way that Minecraft could possibly influence Windows Phone adoption is if Microsoft forbid Mojang form supporting other platforms, yet if this were the case then it would reduce Mojang’s earnings potential by such a degree that it would see Microsoft drastically devalue their 2.5 billion dollar acquisition. At any rate, this situation once again sees the intellectually bankrupt Microsoft attempting to buy their way to popularity by purchasing the pre-established intellectual property of another company, rather than through any hard work of their own. This kind of chequebook acquisition is also a widely prevalent element of their Xbox strategy, though Xbone owners could only dream of having 2.5 billion dollars lavished on exclusive content for them.