I’m a big fan of both Playstation and Xbox and I’ve always had a passing interest in how they are positioning themselves around the world. I’ve always been told Japan prefers Sony’s Playstation 3 over Microsoft’s Xbox 360 because Sony is a Japanese company and Japanese culture is very patriotic. While there is definitely some credibility to this, I can’t help but wonder if there is more to it than that. Before I get into this, let’s take a look at some numbers. Here is a graph I made of the total sales of both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.
The Xbox 360 has outsold the PS3; 31 million to 22.3 million or a difference of about 8 million. In Japan the PS3 has sold 3 times the amount as the 360, and in America the 360 has doubled the sales of the PS3. In the rest of the world the two consoles have sold a closer amount of units with a 2.1 million difference.
Just from this small graph what first jumps out is how we Americans have the luxury and the mindset of being a consumer. We account for 50% of the worldwide sales of the PS3 and the Xbox 360, but only 5% of the population.
At first glance it looks like both Japan and America are very patriotic towards their respective gaming companies, but I think that’s wrong. I don’t feel Americans are patriotic in any fashion towards the products they buy. We definitely develop brand loyalty, but where that product is made usually doesn’t account into our reasoning. Besides our food, most of the products we use are made and developed elsewhere. I’m not even sure the actual 360 is MADE in America. I’m also certain that if you were to ask the average person what they thought about Microsoft they would either have no opinion, or a negative opinion. Nobody goes to bed at night hoping Bill Gates is tucked in tight.
So why is 360 so huge in America and so small in Japan? I think that it’s not because we have a loyalty to Microsoft and the Xbox 360, it’s that we have to aversion to it. We also don’t really care who makes it, it’s made for us. Xbox 360 is a completely accurate representation of us as a nation. The Xbox is going through an image change (Natal) and America is going through an image change (Obama). That doesn’t take away from what made the Xbox great and America great…WAR! It’s true, America was literally founded by a war. We fought the British (revolutionary war), we fought ourselves (Civil War), and we fought the Nazis (WW2). These wars made America what it is today. We had some blunders (Vietnam) and learned some lessons (Iraq) and now we are trying to position ourselves as a kid friendly nation. Xbox was founded on war games; Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty. There were mistakes (Conflict: Denied Ops) but those games made the Xbox 360 in America and I think they are what doomed it in Japan, and slowed it in other countries.
Of course I could be wrong. Maybe it’s not an image issue at all, may be the only factor is releasing the right priced console at the right time. Maybe the only reason there are all those 360 and PS3 fanboys ruining every forum about video games is simply because one came out before the other and the rest fell into place.
I got my info from http://www.vgchartz.com/ . As far as I can tell they are completely credible.
Also I neither condone war or fanboys and I own both of the above and find them both useful.