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If I’ve learned anything from karaoke, it’s that you shouldn’t give up just because people really don’t like you. As it is with me crooning Danzig’s “Mother,” so it is with Xbox in Japan.
Microsoft revealed today that it will release Xbox One in Japan on Sept. 4. This is the first official date for Microsoft’s planned 26-country expansion for its latest gaming hardware. In March, the hardware manufacturer revealed that it would head to Japan and other territories in September, and now it has set a date for at least one of those regions. This Japanese release will come nearly 10 months after the console debuted in its 13 launch regions in November. It also comes nearly seven months after Sony started selling the PlayStation 4 in Japan. Microsoft only sold around 1.6 million Xbox 360s since 2005. Japan also has a shifting gaming landscape that sees consumers spending more time and money than ever on mobile, which will likely also present a problem for the American machine.
As part of its announcement, Microsoft confirmed 40 games that are in the works for Xbox One in Japan. That includes Killer Instinct, the new Halo, and Kingdom Hearts III.
In addition to Japan, Microsoft will roll out its latest console to the following territories:
- Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
So far, Microsoft has shipped 5 million Xbox Ones to retailers, and launching in the above-mentioned regions will help to boost that number.
Japan, however, might not make much of a difference. Microsoft started selling Xbox 360 in December 2005, but Nintendo’s Wii U, which debuted in November 2012, has already surpassed that number.
The biggest issue is that Japanese gamers are less interested in Western games, and they already have two domestic consoles from Sony and Nintendo in addition to gaming-dedicated portable devices. On top of that, smartphone gaming has erupted onto the scene in the country in a major way, which is drawing $5 billion in consumer spending in the country. That combination of factors could make Xbox One’s life pretty rough in Tokyo and beyond.