Xbox just hit an important sales milestone in Japan, where the brand has noticeably struggled for years to establish a foothold.
(Photo : Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images)
KATWIJK, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 20: Microsoft Corp.'s X-box logo is pictured on a computer screen on April 20, 2020 in Katwijk, Netherlands
According to Windows Central, sales of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles there have already surpassed 100,000 units, over a year after its initial launch date.
While this might not sound impressive to some, it's worth noting because Microsoft's current-gen consoles reached the milestone way faster than the previous-generation Xbox One.
The Xbox One only sold a paltry 115,000 units in Japan for its entire life cycle. It took that console over two years to break the 100K barrier.
This news comes from the Japanese language site Famitsu, whose report was translated to English by the Twitter user @Welfare_Queen_I:
Xbox Series X|S has passed 100K units in Japan at 102,591 (Famitsu). This is faster than the Xbox One which needed 50 months to hit 100K.
My opinion: XBS will outsell XB1 in mid to late November. That would be ~115K.
— John Welfare (@Welfare_Queen_I) October 14, 2021
As of this writing, the Xbox Series X has sold a total of 62,284 units, while the Series S has tallied 38,307.
Despite the massive, relative success of Xbox Game Pass, actual console sales for Microsoft has been lagging behind Sony's competing PlayStation 5. But with this milestone, some are expecting that Xbox's performance in the Eastern Hemisphere would further improve, as Sony PlayStation have been increasingly going West.
Japan: A Historically Problematic Market for Xbox
Over the years, Microsoft and Xbox have had so much trouble breaking into the Japanese market, and the numbers have always shown it.
(Photo : TORU YAMANAKA/AFP via Getty Images)
A customer holds a box containing Microsoft's video game console "Xbox One" at a household appliance shop in Tokyo on September 4, 2014. Microsoft Japan launched the company's latest video game console to the Japanese market on September 4.
According to a report by CNBC, the first time Xbox was introduced, Japan was considered a gaming juggernaut. Three of the biggest game publishers and developers were there: Sega, Nintendo, and Sony. Microsoft's new console at the time was, by all means, an outlier.
As such, Japanese gamers (and developers) didn't take Xbox too seriously. The sales numbers reflected this, especially during the Xbox One's life cycle.
Of all the Xbox One consoles sold throughout Q2 2019 (46.9 million units), a tiny 0.3% of them were sold in Japan.
PlayStation's Increasingly Westward Expansion
Some might say that the reason why Japanese gamers didn't like the Xbox is because of nationalistic pride. After all, Sega, Nintendo, and Sony were all Japanese companies, with Sony eventually taking the reins for the past few years.
Sony PlayStation, however, have been largely moving west, as reported by Windows Central. This was made clear when several of the biggest current and last-gen PS exclusives were Western titles, such as "God of War," the "Spider-Man" series from Insomniac Games, and "The Last Of Us Part 2."
(Photo : PlayStation.com )
As a result, the Nintendo Switch has largely overtaken PlayStation in the region, and once again, the numbers don't lie. According to SiliconEra, the top 30 best-selling games in Japan (listed by Famitsu as of August this year) were all Nintendo Switch titles. There was literally no PlayStation exclusive in sight.
Opening The Floodgates for Xbox in Japan
There's no telling whether Microsoft would see the momentum for Xbox Series X and Series S will continue in the Japanese market. But for now, they're doing way better compared to last generation.
Written by RJ Pierce