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It’s a tale as old as time. From the very first Xbox, to the new-gen Series X and S, Microsoft’s console has just never really taken off in Japan. Like, at all. But nothing has put that into perspective more than a report from the latest issue of the Weekly Famitsu magazine, celebrating Xbox’s 20th anniversary in Japan. There’s, uh, not really a lot to celebrate.
As reported by VGC, a total of 2,345,975 Xboxes have been sold in Japan as of 6 February 2022. That’s including all the different iterations, by the way - not just the original Xbox released back in 2001. What's more, it’s actually the 2005-launched Xbox 360 that’s carrying the majority of those sales - 1,616,128 of them, to be exact - rather than a newer console.
Before we go on, check out this awesome creation of a carbon fibre Xbox controller below.
Coming in dead last is the Xbox One, which shifted a frankly upsetting 114,831 units. The Series X and S aren’t doing a great deal better at 142,024 units sold so far, but they at the very least have the excuse that they’ve not been out as long, and stock issues are still very much a thing. Finally, the original Xbox sold 472,992 units, which compared to the others doesn’t really look too bad. Still not good though.
You don’t realise quite how low these numbers are until you compare them to Japan’s other console sales, and last year’s figures alone highlight the difference in popularity very well. Unsurprisingly, the 2021 sales figures saw the Nintendo Switch sitting pretty at the top of the rankings, with 5.3 million units sold. On the other end of the spectrum though were the Xbox Series consoles, which sold 95K units, making them about 10 times less popular than the PS5. They even sold less than the PS4, which, need I remind you, released in 2013. Yikes.
The Famitsu article also revealed the best-selling Xbox games, and the title in the number one spot was none other than Dead or Alive 3 for the original console, coming in hot with 271,149 copies sold. While that doesn’t sound massive (and don’t get me wrong, it isn’t), what is interesting is that that means almost half of the people who owned an Xbox in Japan also owned this specific game. It’s like the Wii Sports of Xbox over there. Or something.
Anyway, even when stock shortages aren’t such a huge problem, if history is anything to go by, it’s unlikely that we can expect the sales to start rocketing up in Japan any time soon, despite Phil Spencer's hopes to crack that market and do "a much better job" there this time around. Oh well, more for the rest of us, right?
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