hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Constructoid: Helping the Xbox 360 to sell in Japan

6:01 PM on 01.12.2011 // Jonathan Holmes

Welcome everybody to Constructoid, a video series where a panel of videogame characters and myself engage in a (mostly) constructive critique of game developers, publishers, journalists, characters, and players. This is the first episode. It might be awesome.

In our glorious debut, Mr. Resetti, Parappa the Rapper, and myself try to identify why the Xbox 360 doesn't sell well in Japan, while coming up with ways that Microsoft could change that. The discussion goes just fine until Mr. Resetti does that thing that he does.

Let me stress right now that the opinions of Mr. Resetti are his and his alone, and are not necessarily shared by myself and/or by Destructoid as a whole.

Sadly, there was one major point that I didn't get to address in this video: how the very different values of Japanese gamers regarding online play are a reason -- maybe the reason -- why the Xbox 360 sells so poorly in Japan. I'm going to tackle that issue in the text below, so read on if you're interested.

More importantly, I really hope you chime in on this topic yourself. Why do you think that the Xbox 360 doesn't sell in Japan?

I think it's fair to say that the main thing setting the Xbox 360 apart from its competition is Xbox Live. Xbox Live provides unprecedented levels of ease and convenience in connecting players to each other online. If you like to chat with your friends (or troll unsuspecting strangers) over the Internet while playing videogames on a home console, the Xbox 360 is undoubtedly your best bet.

All the features and perks that Xbox Live provides are a perfect fit for where Western gaming is right now. Realistic graphics, accurate motion controls, cinematic storytelling; they all fall short of the selling power of online competition and camaraderie. The way that each and every new Halo, Call of Duty, and Gears of War title of this generation has consistently outsold its direct competition is proof of that.

Online play is also a really big deal in Japan, as evinced by the stratospheric sales of the new Monster Hunter title. Still, I think that says a lot about the difference between what the Eastern and Western gaming audiences value. The online experience that Monster Hunter offers doesn't even vaguely resemble the experience of playing Gears of War or Halo online. To me, the difference between these two series speaks to the greater difference between what the Western and Eastern audiences as a whole care about.

Though I've played a fair bit of Monster Hunter Tri and online shooters, I can't claim to be an expert on either of them. That said, I think that the difference between the two series should be easy enough to point out.

The Monster Hunter games are strategic hunting simulators that don't emphasize a need for online chat. All the communication you need can be performed through actions, or some pre-set commands. The freedom to keep your mouth shut means that you can play Monster Hunter on the train, in the company of your family, or in any public place, and not disturb those around you. You also don't have to worry about saying the right thing, or being stuck in an awkward online conversation with acquaintances (let alone being insulted by strangers).

Instead of social intimacy, the Monster Hunter games allow the player to run free in beautiful environments, where they can either work in a small team, or independently, to catch or kill a variety of awesome-looking monsters. Perhaps most importantly, it's all done in total anonymity. That experience is a great fit for Japanese gamers (for more reasons than I have time to list here). Monster Hunter allows players to connect with people, competitively or cooperatively, without having to be social in the process. That's what gamers in Japan are looking for in an online experience, at least right now.

Gamers in the West are also looking for anonymity, but for different reasons. Online shooters give players the opportunity to say and do things that they wouldn't (and probably shouldn't) do in real life. Strap on your headset, shut the door to your room, and fire up your 360, and you can really dig into your most primitive, mean-spirited instincts -- all in a safe and semi-private environment. As fun as that sounds, it's just not something that seems to appeal to the Japanese audience.

Understatement of the year: I think it would make a huge difference for Microsoft's next console if, in Japan, Microsoft secured an exclusive on the next Monster Hunter game. That may sound like it's asking a lot, but we all know that Microsoft could make it happen if they wanted to. To Microsoft's credit, they tried something like that with their deal with Mistwalker, but new IPs aren't the answer. New IP doesn't sell in Japan right now, particularly on home consoles.

In closing, a home console that has no Final Fantasy, Monster Hunter, or Metal Gear games, and a bunch of ultra-violent shooters in their place, will never sell in Japan, regardless of if it's Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo whose name is on the box. That's not racism. That's just the values of a different culture taking their toll on an otherwise fantastic console.

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I really wish MGO had been implemented with free-roam gameplay PMC (clan) setup instead of the standard matchmaking. Imagine roaming bands of PMC's opposing each other on the battlefield. How sexy would that be?
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Playing Shantae & The Pirates Curse, must say I'm loving it for the most part, barring the odd WHERE AM I D: moment
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Added a humble code to my steam account when I already had the game. Purely because the soundtrack was attached. Now I see it on 2 friends wishlists. They must never know.
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Okay so what 2, 3, 4 years later I bothered to finish. Now to write up that blog on why FFXIV lost my love by never challenging me and see if it's actually interesting...
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What's up with taking your phone or a magazine to the toilet? Y'all need more fibre in your diet, why should a toilet visit take more than 2 minutes? What are you people doing with your asses.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Finished Momohime/Jinkuro's story in Muramasa last night. I always liked that ending. I didn't know there were more endings, though. On to Kisuke's story!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -