Why Xbox Failed In Japan

  • Published: 08 October 2019
  • Microsoft's Xbox consoles have become a global hit. But there's one market where they don't work — Japan. Of the 46.9 million Xbox Ones sold worldwide through the second quarter of 2019, just 0.3% of them have been in Japan, according to IDC. Meanwhile, Japanese companies Sony and Nintendo are popular with consumers.

    When Microsoft announced it was developing a video game console, the industry was skeptical. In the ’90s, Microsoft was known for its software, not its hardware business.

    Almost two decades later, Microsoft’s Xbox has become a popular console, holding its own against Sony and Nintendo.

    But there’s one market where the Xbox hasn’t been a hit with consumers — Japan.

    When Microsoft released the Xbox in 2001 in the United States, Japan was the gaming juggernaut of the world. It was home to the three big console makers, Nintendo, Sega and Sony, and had the best developers.

    Microsoft faced three big challenges launching the Xbox in Japan. It had to convince Japanese developers to make games for Xbox, overcome consumers’ skepticism about the first edition’s bulky design, and make up for lost sales from launching after the holiday period.

    Today, Microsoft still struggles to sell consoles in Japan. Of the 46.9 million Xbox Ones sold worldwide through the second quarter of 2019, just 0.3% of them have been in Japan, according to the International Data Corporation.

    While Japan is a big market for video games, Dean Takahashi, the lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat, said Microsoft doesn’t rely on Japanese consumers.

    “Japan is still down, but they don’t actually need it to make billions of dollars,” Takahashi said.

    In a statement to CNBC, Microsoft said Japan is an important part of its global gaming community.

    “We’re committed to bringing innovative and homegrown content from Japan’s leading game creators to a global audience,” said Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s executive vice president of gaming, in a statement.

    While Japanese consumers prefer Sony’s PlayStation or Nintendo’s Switch, Microsoft’s relationship with its Japanese competitors is changing. Watch this video to learn more about how Microsoft is working with Sony on the future of video gaming.

    » Subscribe to CNBC: cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC
    » Subscribe to CNBC TV: cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision
    » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic

    About CNBC: From 'Wall Street' to 'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more.

    Connect with CNBC News Online
    Get the latest news: cnbc.com/
    Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC
    Follow CNBC News on Facebook: cnb.cx/LikeCNBC
    Follow CNBC News on Twitter: cnb.cx/FollowCNBC
    Follow CNBC News on Instagram: cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC


    Why The Xbox Failed In Japan

Comments • 1 568

  • Mikail last life
    Mikail last life  23 minutes back

    Because Im asian people

    • Down fall
      Down fall  48 minutes back

      Lol gayxbox

      • Gustavo Fernandez
        Gustavo Fernandez  2 hours back

        That’s why you never get a Xbox

        • l Cort
          l Cort  2 hours back

          Xbox 360 will always be my favorite no matter what

          • Darshan Singh
            Darshan Singh  2 hours back

            A lot of repeated information in this video. Needs to be reviewed and shortened.

            • Mr100irvin
              Mr100irvin  3 hours back

              Xbox is failing because they fail to upgrade to a PCs speed and capabilities. Why spend $600 on junk that will be obsolete in 3 years, when you can instead build a gaming pc

              • Kevin Alonso
                Kevin Alonso  3 hours back

                Because it sucks? Just a wild guess.

                • Naim Zahari
                  Naim Zahari  4 hours back

                  Ew i saw mobile legend

                  • kaede
                    kaede  5 hours back

                    Same reason as why most American products fail in Japan, “America makes X, but Japan makes X better”

                    • kosrules
                      kosrules  5 hours back

                      because the Nintendo and Sony who are both well respected in Japanese market and then you have an American company coming in. That's like saying where to buy brand new console from a foreign country that you know nothing about or one from your own country that you know a lot about

                      • keenan harrison
                        keenan harrison  5 hours back

                        I remember buying my brand new Xbox one in japan it was so cheap I thought it was fake lol!!

                        • milk shake
                          milk shake  6 hours back

                          Playstation better than Microsoft

                          • Razgriz
                            Razgriz  6 hours back

                            Playstation has been the dominating power in many countries and Japan is its homeworld that's why.

                            • Scott Sullivan
                              Scott Sullivan  6 hours back

                              Why I hate Xbox?
                              At the end of a long day working on Microsoft Windows with all its bugs and bad designs one wants nothing more to do with Microsoft.

                              • EradicatorYT
                                EradicatorYT  6 hours back

                                Japan has suffered the Hagibis....
                                10 minutes silence please.

                                • See Gotcha
                                  See Gotcha  7 hours back

                                  obviously play station.

                                  • Dimitriy Mirovsky
                                    Dimitriy Mirovsky  7 hours back

                                    Japan resistance to foreign culture is unfathomable. No matter what, they tend to ignore foreigners stuff. That's why Japan has unique market that is unpenetrable to foreign invasion.

                                    • Blue Sky
                                      Blue Sky  7 hours back

                                      Microsoft have purchased new gaming companies to address they software problem. Why do they need the Japanese market Xbox has everything else. Xbox scarlett will be Sony biggest rival.

                                      • Asher Paul Tan
                                        Asher Paul Tan  7 hours back

                                        Actually. The reason it failed is because of the games. The game developers of xbox only made games for USA. They didn't made proper research

                                        • Águila701
                                          Águila701  7 hours back

                                          I think the Xbox is overrated.

                                          • PorterPickUp
                                            PorterPickUp  7 hours back

                                            Interesting story but Japan hasn't had the top game development studios for over 20 years now. They refuse to use the newest technologies and firmly believe in the philosophy of 'Not Invented Here'. Not Invented Here is the same reason the XBOX was not as popular.

                                            • ALL HAIL KING JAMES
                                              ALL HAIL KING JAMES  7 hours back

                                              Quality over Quantity am I right, yanks?

                                              👇🏻This is how many people agree

                                            • Kevin Lau
                                              Kevin Lau  8 hours back

                                              The problem taxes from western countries are much more higher than as compared to Asian countries. There is also the matter of logistical shipping which increases the price of the xbox

                                              • Matthew Gaines
                                                Matthew Gaines  8 hours back

                                                Economic nationalism is a component overlooked in this story. "The Xbox was too big and Japanese homes are small" is a ridiculous answer. If you can accommodate a Playstation, you call accommodate a Xbox. Nintendo and Sony are home products. Xbox was an insurgent product from a unknown in the console gaming market. They stuck with the known, home grown products.

                                                • NzT
                                                  NzT  9 hours back

                                                  The reason why i didn't bought xbox coz u need to pay gold to play

                                                  • Bonfire Sgt
                                                    Bonfire Sgt  9 hours back

                                                    Xbox: heavily marketed as shooter game machines, few JRPGs, little marketing.

                                                    American cars: unnecessarily big (for Japanese users), few dealers available, not competitive in pricing.

                                                    You know, you have to try a little harder if you want to sell well in a +100million population market.

                                                    • Chuck Norris
                                                      Chuck Norris  9 hours back

                                                      Because of hit games like uncharted, the last of us, days gone...... not only in japan try the world

                                                      • Tho Athome
                                                        Tho Athome  10 hours back

                                                        Japanese doesn't like games with guns, heavy body armor, and hoodie. You can not sell a system with only 4-5 Japanese titles and expect them to like your other 50 titles with only guns.

                                                        • mikael facelo
                                                          mikael facelo  10 hours back


                                                          • Fox T.
                                                            Fox T.  10 hours back

                                                            Basically, Japanese xenophobia strikes again.

                                                            • osakaboyz
                                                              osakaboyz  11 hours back

                                                              McDonalds,Starbucks,and iPhone are found everywhere in Tokyo.
                                                              Xbox is just unattractive for Japanese.

                                                              • Reydriel
                                                                Reydriel  11 hours back

                                                                It's not just Japan, but pretty much everywhere else in Asia too...

                                                                • Aufa K-Live
                                                                  Aufa K-Live  11 hours back

                                                                  Do Why Pepsi Failed In South East Asia Please

                                                                  • Andrew Baang
                                                                    Andrew Baang  12 hours back

                                                                    They don't need xbox. They got nintendo.

                                                                    • CO0OK ANNNG
                                                                      CO0OK ANNNG  12 hours back

                                                                      Damn as an Xbox head since 06, this hurts lol

                                                                      • ayaanle idris
                                                                        ayaanle idris  12 hours back

                                                                        the hand set is what turned me off when i was a kid....im playstation till i die.
                                                                        im neither japanese nor american by the way .

                                                                        • Black cat photography
                                                                          Black cat photography  13 hours back

                                                                          I never understood why buying Xbox sony Playstation why not buy a good computer and you can do more jobs and upgrade it through time.

                                                                          • Slavin Ragnavoire
                                                                            Slavin Ragnavoire  13 hours back

                                                                            playstation and nintendo kingdom *cough cough

                                                                            • Rpg maniac
                                                                              Rpg maniac  14 hours back

                                                                              I love jrpgs not to into the shooters but ill play them

                                                                              • kyle hubbs
                                                                                kyle hubbs  14 hours back

                                                                                Future future!

                                                                                • 115Kramer
                                                                                  115Kramer  14 hours back

                                                                                  not just japan but the majority of asia, it is easier to get playstation games and services in all of asia compared to xbox.

                                                                                  • Killer Cushion
                                                                                    Killer Cushion  15 hours back

                                                                                    The real reason is propaganda... Nations are brainwashed by media and culture.. Once a million sheep are on the bandwagon, then the rest will follow...

                                                                                    • Darrell Willis
                                                                                      Darrell Willis  15 hours back

                                                                                      The PS4 sells went down because almost everyone already has one which gave the switch the advantage to sell more

                                                                                      • Nevoy
                                                                                        Nevoy  16 hours back

                                                                                        Playstation is way better anyways

                                                                                        • Benjamin Figgins
                                                                                          Benjamin Figgins  16 hours back

                                                                                          Because they're racist and don't want to buy filthy gaijin products.

                                                                                          • X ERROR X
                                                                                            X ERROR X  16 hours back

                                                                                            6:25 that's what she said

                                                                                            • holitinne
                                                                                              holitinne  17 hours back

                                                                                              The Japanese have standards.

                                                                                              • iAMe100XP
                                                                                                iAMe100XP  17 hours back

                                                                                                I love how they make it a big deal that japan didn't get Xbox at the same time as the US, when tons of japanese hardware and software comes to the US later.