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December 13, 2005

Xbox 360 stumbles off the mark in Japan

Posted by David Hunter at 10:01 AM ET.

We knew the start was slow ([1], [2]), but Enterbrain’s Famitsu Marketing Data Service reveals how slow it really was according to Reuters:

Microsoft sold less than half of the estimated 159,000 Xbox 360 consoles that were available in stores in Japan in its first weekend of sales, a survey result showed on Tuesday.

Only about 62,000 units were purchased on Saturday and Sunday, according to an independent study by Enterbrain, which publishes leading Japanese game magazine “Famitsu.” That was also less than half the 123,000 units Microsoft sold of its previous generation Xbox in the first three days of sales in February 2002.

“There is just one reason for the slow sales–the postponement of the launch of the ‘Dead or Alive 4′ game,” Munetatsu Matsui, editor-in-chief of “Famitsu Xbox 360″, said in a news release, adding that about 61.5 percent of his readers had planned to buy the highly anticipated game. Microsoft originally planned to release the 3D fighting game at the same time as the Japan launch, but has now postponed it until Dec. 29.

Enterbrain reported that some stores had customers who canceled pre-reserved Xbox 360s, while others asked to reserve a console for purchase when “Dead or Alive 4″ comes out.

But hope’s not lost based on just the opening.

Xbox may have started out slowly but sales will likely gain momentum in January when new titles like ‘Perfect Dark Zero’ come out,” said Matsui. “There is still plenty of opportunity for Xbox 360 to increase market share in Japan.”

But they’ll have to work quickly since the Sony PlayStation 3 is supposedly arriving in spring 2006.

Filed under Coopetition, Sony, Xbox

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