When it comes to the Xbox One, one not so high profile, yet regularly asked question is how Japan fits into the picture. Especially given that original Xbox and Xbox 360’s cold reception in the East already.
The question as posed to by 4gamer to Yasuyuki Higuchi, president and CEO of Microsoft Japan, in a recent press briefing. Edge states that the Xbox One was hardly represented when MS Japan laid out their fiscal roadmap for 2014.
The reason? According to Higuchi: “(Xbox One) is geared towards a Western lifestyle, and we’re looking at whether or not to launch it ‘as is’ in Japan.”
As such, Japan is considered a "Tier 2" country, and the Xbox One is going to initially target "Tier 1" territories, like the North America and Europe.
One major challenge is how the Xbox One is not being positioned as just a simple game console (which hasn't done the machine any favors in many circles). It’s largely built around online services, stuff like video on demand and music streaming.
Which is all fine and dandy in the west, but not so much in the east, where entertainment is consumed differently. Furthermore, 4gamer's report states that most gamers in Japan are the hardcore variety, who could care less about having a media center that commands the living. Their consoles, instead, are usually found in the bedroom. They just to play some games, and that’s about it.
You also have the same old song that's sung here in the States; more and more are moving away from traditional hardware and turning towards smart phones/tablets. A trend that Microsoft in America, along with other parties, are at least trying to fend off; sounds like Microsoft Japan is already throwing in the towel. Which is does not bode well for Japanese game development on the machine.
Games for big publishers will still provide content for the Xbox One, so no worries about Metal Gear Solid V or Final Fantasy XV not making an appearance. But what about the smaller outfits, developers who have less resources to spare? Who now all of a sudden have even less reason to develop games for the Xbox One.