[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 11:18 GMT
Slow start for Xbox 360 in Japan
Japanese gamer with an Xbox 360
Some Japanese gamers snapped up an Xbox 360 on Saturday
Microsoft's next generation Xbox 360 has got off to a slow start in Japan.

According to a study by leading Japanese game magazine Famitsu, less than half of the estimated 159,000 360 consoles in stores sold in the first weekend of sales.

The poor performance of the console has been blamed on postponement of the Dead or Alive 4 game.

Japan's games market is traditionally dominated by Sony and Nintendo, which are releasing new consoles next year.

Catching Sony

Japan is the biggest market for console games, after the US but Microsoft has struggled to make headway in the Japanese market, where Sony is estimated to have an 80% market share.

Xbox 360
Microsoft had to start out strong and it failed to do that
Takashi Oya, Deutsche Securities analyst
But it had hoped to steal a march on both Sony and Nintendo as their next-generation consoles are not available for a few more months.

When the original Xbox went on sale in February 2002, Microsoft sold 123,000 in the first three days of sales.

But according to an independent study by Enterbrain, which publishes leading Japanese game magazine Famitsu, Microsoft has failed to sell even half of that figure with its new machine.

Only about 62,000 units were purchased on 10 and 11 December, said Enterbrain.

Lack of games

Famitsu Editor Munetatsu Matsui said the sole reason for this was the postponement of the much anticipated game Dead or Alive 4.

Microsoft had intended to launch the game with the box but it will not now be released until after Christmas.

Enterbrain also reported that some customers had cancelled pre-reserved Xbox 360s and that others would wait until the much-anticipated game is available on December 29.

"Microsoft had to start out strong and it failed to do that," Deutsche Securities analyst Takashi Oya told the Reuters news agency.

"I feel sorry for them since they had put a lot of effort into promoting Xbox 360 in Japan."

Sales of the first Microsoft Xbox in Japan have always lagged behind Sony PlayStation 2, which was launched two years before it.

When Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 games console in Japan it received a more subdued response than it received in Europe and North America.

Queues of hardcore fans greeted the console on both sides of the Atlantic. It quickly sold out, partly because of limited supplies.

Analysts estimate the 360 has sold 400,000 units in the US and 75,000 in the UK.

The Xbox 360 costs 39,795 yen ($331; 188) in Japan.

The price is cheaper than the comparable package in the US, where it sells for around $400.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific