Microsoft, Xbox and the Japanese Defiance

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  3. Microsoft, Xbox and the Japanese Defiance

User Info: SigmaLongshot

SigmaLongshot
1 month ago#1
"Why is Microsoft not caring about Japanese games?" I read fairly frequently on many a videogames forum - it's a query that gets asked repeatedly by frustrated fans and gloating fanboys alike. But the truth is far more complicated than the usual "they're inept and stupid and don't know business" verbal hotpot you'll get from the usual poster.

Just recently, we read the Nippon Ichi Software claim that Microsoft was not supportive enough of Japanese games as a whole. They claimed that Microsoft "didn't do enough to drive sales of distinctly Japanese-influenced or created games in any of their market-dominant regions". But the reality is, it simply does not make any sense fiscally.

In Japan, only 79,000 Xbox One consoles have been sold. Let that sink in. The adoption of the American console has been extremely poor compared to Japan's own consoles. And why does that matter? Test marketing. Test Marketing is when you take the a game that's been developed, then introduce it to the native market of the product (that is to say, if it's a Japanese game, market it in Japan) -
you produce a short-term run of that game to gauge uptake. The reason it is done this way is because you eradicate the need for localisation - the game is effectively ready to go, after the ubiquitous standard quality and system checks for the platform (which, by the way, costs quite a bit of money. I can't begin to tell you how often I hear the "port the game, it's basically free" madness).

Normally, a test market for a full Microsoft or Nintendo retail released game is a minimum run of 50,000 units (I have never heard of a full test market release of fewer than this. At the extreme minimum end of the spectrum, Limited Run Games offer a minimum of around 2.5k units in very rare circumstances, but never for Nintendo or Microsoft, saying that those companies' minimum orders are, in their opinion, "ridiculous"). When you take this into consideration, two thirds of Xbox One owners in Japan would require to purchase a copy of a minimum order of a test marketed Japanese game.

What's the alternative? A pre-localised test market in the NTSC or PAL regions? Well, the latter comprises of over one hundred different countries. Localising for 100 countries for the sake of 100k units is just madness, if we're honest. But what about 50k units for USA?

Well, after the localisation process, 50k units would no longer be largely profitable (especially removing the Japanese market from the equation), so a higher bulk would be required. At approximately 200k units, a profit could potentially be seen if the uptake was high enough.

But we've been here before - when Mistwalker made Blue Dragon, their break even point was 200,000 copies. Even with Japan in the mix, guess what? They only just broke their target. Same with Lost Odyssey. Though targets were met, the profits were in no way significant enough to overflow into a sequel or follow-up, despite the critical acclaim.

Microsoft then went on to offer free games, big Xbox Live point incentive programs, and even some significantly reduced bundles on Xbox 360s (at one point the console with four games even being cheaper than a PSP). Japan didn't bite.

Microsoft's big pushes to entice Japanese gamers to the platform over the past fifteen years have never once made a significant profit.

And so, it's come to this point. With the dire state of affairs in Japan being something of an impasse - with proudly defiant Japanese gamers refusing to adopt Microsoft's machine, even a test market of a Japanese game on the Xbox One serves to be a certain financial loss.

Why would Microsoft consciously throw money away?
XB1/XB360/Wii U: TotoMimo PS4: Gooey_Toto/SigmaLongshot
A decade working in AAA game development? Time certainly flies.

User Info: jon davis

jon davis
1 month ago#2
Your topics are always long winded pretentious drivel.
Strength is the only thing that matters in this world, everything else is just a delusion for the weak.

User Info: SigmaLongshot

SigmaLongshot
1 month ago#3
Oh, and just so we're aware - I love Japanese games, guys. Maybe not the niche games where you shoot underage girls' skirts off with a rapey-gun or the JRPGs where you play as a lolita half-cat infant, but I do like 'em.

I just wanted to think realistically about what it means to bring Japanese games to the system with such an enormous defiance impeding the company.
XB1/XB360/Wii U: TotoMimo PS4: Gooey_Toto/SigmaLongshot
A decade working in AAA game development? Time certainly flies.

User Info: KinjoTakemura

KinjoTakemura
1 month ago#4
jon davis posted...
Your topics are always long winded pretentious drivel.

*Giggling*
"When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger." - Confucius

User Info: VENOMOUS75

VENOMOUS75
1 month ago#5
jon davis posted...
Your topics are always long winded pretentious drivel.


And your responses are just pretentious drivel. Not necessarily long-winded.
XBL-AMITYPREDATOR75
Yeah, Gamefaqs is the pimple on the backside of the internet. The moderators are the ingrown hairs. --Me

User Info: jon davis

jon davis
1 month ago#6
VENOMOUS75 posted...
jon davis posted...
Your topics are always long winded pretentious drivel.


And your responses are just pretentious drivel. Not necessarily long-winded.


Im sorry, do you have a point at all orrrrrr?
Strength is the only thing that matters in this world, everything else is just a delusion for the weak.

User Info: Omega_Red

Omega_Red
1 month ago#7
Good informative post.
Very insightful, but anyone who's been gaming since the 90s is well aware of the situation.
Steam Profile: http://steamcommunity.com/id/omega-red/
PlayStation Network: The_Red_KingIII

User Info: Omega_Red

Omega_Red
1 month ago#8
Microsoft would be doing much better had they just purchased Sega and given them the boost Sega needed.
I dare say Microsoft would have a few gens under their belt.
Steam Profile: http://steamcommunity.com/id/omega-red/
PlayStation Network: The_Red_KingIII

User Info: lunaticcore

lunaticcore
1 month ago#9
It's a vicious cycle. They don't buy the console or the games, (also we don't buy the games), then Microsoft doesn't put money into Japanese development support, then they have no reason to buy the console or make the games.

To be fair Microsoft tried to pump a ton of money into Japanese developed games, they didn't get a lot of return on them.
Endless Metroid month.. Samus Returns HYPE... Come watch us playthrough Super Metroid, Zero Mission, AM2R and Metroid Fusion. http://bit.ly/2vlfYbS

User Info: VENOMOUS75

VENOMOUS75
1 month ago#10
jon davis posted...
VENOMOUS75 posted...
jon davis posted...
Your topics are always long winded pretentious drivel.


And your responses are just pretentious drivel. Not necessarily long-winded.


Im sorry, do you have a point at all orrrrrr?


You're speaking volumes of your intelligence if the point went over your head.
XBL-AMITYPREDATOR75
Yeah, Gamefaqs is the pimple on the backside of the internet. The moderators are the ingrown hairs. --Me
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