News: Xbone Is Not to Japan’s Tastes

American engineering at its finest.
Who in their right mind would turn-down this proprietary Beta-Max technology?

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.

A kick in the teeth for anyone who paid money in order to compensate for the 3DS' design deficiencies.
Nintendo made this abomination, the least they could do is support it!

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.

One can't imagine that Minecraft fans will be best pleased with Microsoft.
This isn’t a strategy so much as wishful thinking.

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.

16 comments

  1. So what we have REALLY learned this week is that there are about 20,000 XBone fans in the US military at Okinawa.

    In a way, these sales numbers are a clue to our military presence. I wonder if AMERICA’S ENEMIES are considering this!

  2. Mojang is a one hit wonder and buying the studio that Minecraft built isn’t too wise, as many of us are quick to point out (let alone for 2 billion dollars).

    The 3DS ashtray not working with Smash is indeed perplexing. I think their general handeling of the game thus far has proven more than a bit opportunistic and I’m not sure it’s working out entirely in their favor. Had they not been so keen on trying to get their consumers to double dip on the 3DS version (the version no one actually cares about), they would have been able to help out their ailing Wii U platform all the more. As it stands they’re quite capable of losing some casual Smash sales to the popular 3DS from consumers who have gotten their fill on the lesser title and don’t care to double dip onto a platform they probably don’t even own…

    As for Xbone in Japan? “lol”

  3. Minecraft has been released for how long now? And it is still the only game that Mojang has put out. This is Microsoft squandering 2.5bn on wishful thinking that will not pay a dividend.

  4. Yeah, Minecraft was in full release in 2011, but in public alpha/beta since 2009. They’ve got a beta for whatever Scrolls and Cobalt are, but I don’t know anyone who has played those.

  5. I don’t think Cobalt is even a Mojang game – they just published it…

  6. You forgot about that Cortana voice for the Windows phones, Julian. THAT’S what is really going to save them.

  7. The sad thing is that with today’s consumers that almost sounded plausible…

  8. @Mel: I understand that Scrolls is pretty crap. I know people who have played it. They didn’t play it for very long.

  9. But now it’s a valued Microsoft exclusive!! :D

    They’d better relish it, because Scrolls is like half of their acquisition!! :D

  10. The more I think about it, the worse the Mojang purchase looks for Microsoft. Still, I don’t blame Markus Persson for a second on this deal. When he first saw the offer he must have thought it was some kind of joke from Microsoft, but lo and behold the man is now a billionaire.

  11. Persson was already pretty dang rich since Minecraft is one of the best selling games of all time and much of that money just went directly to him / the company.

    However, the same source that leaked the MS deal said Persson wasn’t going to stick around long afterward. I wouldn’t either.

  12. All of the founders are bailing out.

    The funny thing is that, before they ran for the hills, they told the user base, “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”

    And then they ran. They ran as fast as they could run. Inspires confidence, doesn’t it?

  13. It’s actually fairly impressive that they could run that fast while carrying all that money! ;D

  14. I have a Nokia Windows Phone, and actually like it for what it is. It has a good interface, easy to use, and does the things I want a phone to do – which is not very much. It does not have games or apps [which I don’t care about], and probably 100% of its consumer appeal is from being offered free with the cellular plan. Microsoft could have spent a fraction of that money to make up for its deficencies in a lot of areas, especially developing apps and games, but instead they dropped an insane sum onto one game that nobody’s asking for. There has to be a group of people in Microsoft who are actively trying to destroy the company from the inside. They continually outdo themselves in decisions which will blow up and hurt them.

  15. Could it be that Microsoft is trying to make the Xbox division more attractive for a potential buyer? I still think the 2.5 billion is way too much for Mojang, but by adding developers to the fold they can package the Xbox division as an all-in-one package for any company out there looking to break into the lucrative video game industry.

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