Xbox tries to lure PlayStation gamers into Tokyo Game Show

The US video game maker Xbox hasn’t made its mark on Japan in terms of sales, but after two decades and many missteps, it has no plans to let it go.

Last week, Xbox shared news of upcoming games at the Tokyo Game Show, and said that more Asian titles will be added to the Game Pass subscription service over the next year. It announced that “Deathloop,” which was a PlayStation exclusive, will be available for Xbox starting September 20.

The presentation was part of Xbox’s broader strategy to appeal to Asian audiences and capture market share from Japan, a country that has traditionally moved away from its consoles. In 20 years, Xbox has sold a total of 2.3 million consoles in Japan, according to Famitsu Weekly Magazine.

“We’ve been on this journey for a long time, and we’re not afraid,” Sarah Bond, Xbox vice president of game creator experience and ecosystem, said in an interview with The Washington Post after returning from Tokyo.

Bond said Xbox is betting that the company’s investment in a slate of Asian titles will pay off and show that Xbox is more than just Halo and Forza. Asian players usually prefer to buy PlayStation and Nintendo consoles, as they can find more Japanese role-playing games and combo-based games.

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“We’ve invested in both the depth and breadth of the titles on our platform, and that’s exactly how reputation is built,” Bond said. “We see that game makers are more willing to take risks because of Game Pass because they already know they will be better able to find an audience. Someone will fall in love with something that doesn’t have to be a big brand name, but is a really fun player experience.”

Bond said there are more than 250 developers in Japan building more than 150 games so far, including titles like “Tetris Effect: Connected” and “Craftopia.” These titles will be published on the Xbox platform, even if many of them aren’t exclusives. During the Tokyo Game Show, Xbox announced that pre-existing PlayStation titles such as “Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Anniversary Edition” and “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” are now available on Game Pass. It has plans to bring “Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes” and several character titles to Game Pass over the next year.

While the Xbox Series isn’t expected to sell anywhere near the level of Sony’s PS5 over the coming years, Microsoft is now much more competitive than it has been for at least a decade. [in Japan]said Pierce Harding Rolls, an analyst with market research firm Ampere Analysis. “This shows that Microsoft’s approach to the market is paying off.”

Microsoft has noted that its current generation of consoles are selling better than previous generations, although it hasn’t shared specific sales numbers.

Bond said the company has thought about its past mistakes, such as releasing the Xbox One console in Japan nearly a year later than other markets.

“When we were talking about the Xbox One launch, there were a lot of things about that launch that we know we didn’t get right,” Bond said. “It took a long time for us to learn from our mistakes and really put that into practice and start building both our devices, our product lineup, and our relationships with creators.”

For the launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S console in 2020, the company has released the new consoles in Japan in conjunction with other parts of the world. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Series X is the best-selling generation to date. Harding-Rolls-owned market research firm found that Xbox sold fewer than 100,000 consoles in Japan last year, compared to Sony and Nintendo’s combined sales of more than 6.7 million.

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Harding Rolls said Microsoft’s small improvements to a small market share lagged badly behind Japanese gaming and mobile devices.

“There is a lot that Microsoft can achieve with its Japan console product strategy, and [that] It underlines why it strives to reach players across all devices with its cloud gaming strategy.”

Bond said Microsoft’s investment in growing its audience in Japan and abroad will take time.

“The hardware generation is a long time coming to build all that architecture,” she said. “It’s a process that takes five to seven years to bring that forward. It takes a long time to build relationships. And building a real AAA game can – we’ve seen that it takes up to six years to build a AAA game.”

In June, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer I acknowledge that the Japanese developers It doesn’t always come to Xbox and the company has been working on adding more games from the country, like upcoming Persona titles and an unannounced game Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima supervised. Atlus, developer of Persona games, did not respond to a request for comment.

Bond has been very silent about her meeting with Spencer and Kojima last week, simply saying, “We’ve been working with creators in Japan to create things that are really special for people who play on Xbox, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Includes Xbox’s current business model Sell ​​your devices at a lossAnd, last year in the Epic Games trial against Apple, Microsoft’s vice president of games Laurie Wright testified that the company didn’t make money selling consoles, instead focusing on selling software and subscriptions. Bond confirmed that the model remains the same, even as more game titles are added to Game Pass.

“The way our business works is that we build the console and then support the console so that it is an affordable price point for the consumer,” Bond said. “Then consumers make console purchases, buy games, buy subscriptions, and as a result, we make profits and margins on that.”

The tech giant is keeping an eye on most of Asia, not just Japan. In April, Xbox announced was going The PC version of the subscription service is available in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Microsoft’s acquisition of other studios helped its Asian ambitions. Bond noted that “Deathloop’s” eventual arrival on Xbox makes sense, as the game is made by Bethesda, which was It was bought by Xbox last year for $7.5 billion. In the same deal, the company also acquired Tango Gameworks from Bethesda, Headquartered in Tokyo studio Behind “Ghostwire: Tokyo”.

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Although audiences differ between PlayStation and Xbox, there is still a fair amount of overlap in the titles offered on the two platforms. Earlier this month, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said Microsoft’s pledge to keep Call of Duty on the platform for at least three years following the current agreement between series publisher Activision and Sony was “insufficient on many levels,” as the first Reported by GamesIndustry.biz. (Microsoft announced in january It plans to acquire Activision for $68.7 billion in a landmark deal that is currently being reviewed by regulators.) Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft Vice President of Communications Frank Shaw responded to Ryan’s statement by saying that “it does not make sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation, given its market leadership position.”

Bond said the way Xbox thought about expanding into other markets was by looking at how there are more than 3 billion players, but only several hundred million game consoles. Its approach is to stop focusing on consoles.

Bond said when asked if Ancient console wars Between Xbox and PlayStation will continue. “It could be a console, it could be a computer, it could be a phone, it could be a tablet, it could be some other kind of handheld device.”