If you needed more proof that Microsoft is experiencing a turnaround in this Xbox generation, look no further than across the Pacific Ocean.
The Xbox Series X just sold 100,000 units in Japan in less than a year, whereas previously it took the Xbox One more than four years to sell the same amount.
Now the Xbox Series X is expected to globally overtake the Xbox One by November, with the X1 having estimated sales of 115,000 in Japan.
To be clear, the PS5 still dominates in Japan. Sony’s system just exceeded one million units sold in Japan in September, so Xbox still only accounts for 10% of its sales there this generation. And yet, the fact that Xbox is dramatically Outperforming the Xbox One generation, which was nothing short of a disaster for Microsoft last time around, is still remarkable. For the previous generation, the latest data available to us is that the PS4 has sold over 9 million units in Japan compared to 115,000 for the Xbox One. Forget 10% of sales, that’s 1.2% of sales. The Nintendo Switch, however, has dominated all newcomers over two generations now in Japan with 21 million in sales.
Why is the Xbox Series X / S doing so much better in Japan this generation? There does not seem to be a single compelling reason to point out. The point is, the Xbox Series X and S are doing much better than the Xbox One in just about every region of the world, and Japan is just another reflection of that. The system was launched with little controversy, compared to the Xbox One with its built-in Kinect and questions about the rights of discs and online recordings.
Xbox has also grown in popularity with Game Pass, the subscription service that unlocks an endless chain of “free” games that don’t need to be purchased individually, including all of Microsoft’s proprietary titles. Microsoft did not have tonne super-exclusive exclusive this generation at the moment, but previews for Forza and Halo Infinite suggest they are poised to have a pair of massive hits on their hands in the coming months.
It’s likely to be a much improved generation for Microsoft overall, although they’re never close to catching PlayStation, which is also breaking world records with the PS5. Gaming in general is just booming as an industry as a whole, and that includes the console space. Microsoft has just made solid hardware here, which has allowed it to better penetrate more regions, including Japan. We’ll see if this trend continues, or if it could be amplified if rumors circulate that Microsoft is considering adding a major Japanese publisher to its growing list of studios.
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