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December 3, 2005

Xbox 360: Next week in Japan

Posted by David Hunter at 8:30 AM ET.

Xbox 360 launches in Japan on Dec. 10, a week from today, and some of the details have been revealed:

Microsoft has begun rolling out its promotional material for the December 10 Japanese launch of the Xbox 360, its next-generation console, which will be released for 39,800 yen ($335 USD) on December 10th. Unlike the American release, the Japanese version will come in only one format, which includes the system, a wireless controller, the 20GB hard drive, an Xbox Live headset, HD AV cables, the media remote controller, broadband cable, and a 1-month trial membership for Xbox Live Gold.

The official launch event will take place at the Tsutaya electronics store in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, where the original Xbox also debuted in 2002. Unlike the midnight countdown celebrations seen throughout the U.S., the Shibuya launch will officially happen at 7 A.M. Those who attend will receive free bonus goods from a specially constructed gashapon machine at the site.

Gashapon machines are Japanese vending machines that sell high quality collectible toys in plastic eggs. Things really are different over there. Something else that’s different about the rollout is the giant Xbox advertising kiosks:

Shaped like a giant Xbox 360 and standing 12 feet tall, they house a 65″ screen playing game trailers. The monuments will loom over the public for a three-week period and be removed about a week after the December 10th launch.

As far as the Japanese market goes:

The current generation Xbox has yet to top the 500,000 units sold mark in Japan. But Microsoft isn’t letting that dismal figure force it to think small for the Japanese market. Japanese Xbox business manager Yoshihiro Maruyama, commenting to Dengeki Xbox 360, a special one time publication released to commemorate the 12/10 launch of the Xbox 360, stated that he hopes the X360 will reach a figure double that by Summer!

“It’s only a target,” Maruyama says in an editorial to the magazine, “but the one million mark is a figure we’d like to reach by next summer. And then, we’d like to go to 1.5 million, then 2 million in next year’s end of year sales rush. We believe the one million mark to be an important figure. If we cross one million, it will be easier for developers to do business, so we’d of course like to reach it quickly.”

There are some problems though. There will be only 6 games available at launch:

Consumer site GameSpot translates an interview that Japanese Xbox general manager Yoshihiro Maruyama granted to Weekly Famitsu. In it, Maruyama says that despite the system’s launching with only 6 games (Perfect Dark Zero, Ridge Racer 6, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Every Party, FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, and Tetris: The Grandmaster Ace), he expects there to be over 100 titles available by the end of 2006.

and only 12 backward compatible games.

Filed under General Business, Public Relations, Xbox

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2 Responses to “Xbox 360: Next week in Japan”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Blog Archive » Rest of Asia has to wait for Xbox 360 Says:

    [...] Microsoft has already launched the Xbox 360 in N. America and Europe and the launch in Japan is this coming Saturday, but the rest of Asia will have to wait a bit longer. Evan Ramstad at Wall Street Journal Asia: The company announced it will sell the new system, called xBox 360, in South Korea on Feb. 24, 2006, and in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan on March 2, 2006. [...]

  2. Microsoft News Tracker » Blog Archive » Xbox 360 launches in Japan shortly Says:

    [...] As mentioned last week, Microsoft has a round of festivities planned for the Japanese Xbox launch at 7AM on December 10 in Tokyo which due to timezone differences is less than 7 hours from the time of this post. Martyn Williams explains what’s at stake at InfoWorld: The launch is important for the software maker as its previous Xbox console never gained much traction in Japan despite doing well in the U.S. and European markets. Not only does success in Japan mean higher sales for Microsoft, but it also gives the console a better image among Japanese software developers, and that could mean more and better games on sale everywhere. [...]

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