YVONNE EPPS WRITES — The next generation console war is heating up in the West as Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are neck and neck. In the East, however, Sony has had Microsoft on the ropes.
According to Arcade Sushi, the Xbox One launched in Japan in September and was a big dud. About 23,000 units were sold over the four-day weekend it was released – a fraction of the 300,000 PS4s sold during Sony’s launch weekend. The low numbers are a lance through the heart of Xbox One’s die hard fans…but did Microsoft deserve to bellyflop? Kotaku posted pictures of plasma screens flashing with advertisements and employees wearing bright green t-shirts, but the empty lines reveal the preparation was unnecessary.
How did the Xbox One bomb so badly? Arcade Sushi suggests the price tag or dismal pool of launch titles, but Forbes thinks it could be bad marketing in Asia, as Microsoft is now delaying the launch of the Xbox One in China. As reported, the Xbox One is the worst selling next gen console world wide, the worst selling Microsoft console at launch in Japan, and the worst selling console brand at launch in Japan. Clearly something is happening on Microsoft’s end that isn’t reaching the Asian consumer market. How can it be that a big Western company like Microsoft could misunderstand their Eastern audience?
The Japan Times seemed optimistic in their advertisement about the Xbox One’s launch, but as you scroll down further, you realize what Microsoft isn’t offering.
The colorful cover art of Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS, the sleek PS4 bundle pack for the Diablo-eque Destiny, and the femme fatale protagonist of Bayonetta 2 stand in stark contrast to the completely westernized Xbox One, with its gritty, mature library of games. This sob story isn’t about the number of units sold, but how a Western company has failed to understand the wants of an Eastern audience. This isn’t to say that this is just a Western problem, as the Wii U struggled to penetrate the Western audience with their niche choice of games, but the Asian market is on the rise and cannot be ignored.
How can Microsoft expect to slay their opponents worldwide when the Eastern market wants colorful, poppin’ fresh RPGs rather than the realistic military combat that dominates the Western genre of video games?