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XBox (Games)

The Xbox 360 and Japanese Nationalism 111

Posted by Zonk
from the dig-deeper dept.
Ant writes "4 Color Rebellion has a transcript of a segment included with its recent Podcast. The piece concerns the launch of the Xbox 360 in Japan, a launch that's amounting to one of the weakest in Japanese gaming history. The authors look into the reasons behind the failure, and try to dissuade gamers from some poorly thought-out rationalizations for the console's lack of success." From the article: "McDonalds knew that some of its tastes would not appeal to the Japanese so they changed their menus. Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. They didn't force the American tastes on the Japanese and thus, they thrived. Now look at the Japanese Xbox 360 launch lineup. First person Shooters, sports and car games. Games that sell really well in America but other than the car games are not to the Japanese taste. Had they launched with RPGs, simulation games, party games, gambling games and fighters, they might have done a whole lot better. McDonalds changed their company for the Japanese taste. Microsoft tried to change the Japanese taste for their company."
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The Xbox 360 and Japanese Nationalism

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  • I'm also disappointed with xbox360's launch titles being mostly FPS, sports, and racing.
    • I'm sort of underwhelmed by the console... Nothing new about it.

      Waiting for the Revolution.
    • by Inoshiro (71693)
      It means you can save all that money you'd waste on a 360, and instead get a Revolution or something else much better :)
    • same old song (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I was at a tech preview for the original Xbox about 5 years ago. One of the speaker's boasts (I completely forget who, but it was one of the product managers) was that they would launch with a strong lineup of the "most popular titles." Which, of course, were "sports, racing, fighting, and ... other" in that order. Admittedly, this was before FPS was the xbox game of choice. Basically the kinds of games everyone else plays weren't even on their radar. By sports games, of course they meant football, basketba
  • XBOX360 Culture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:46PM (#14410223) Journal
    Microsoft has released a bunch of games that appeal to the "frat boy culture." I don't know the best way to describe Japan, but I don't think they're real heavy on that.
    • Re:XBOX360 Culture (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garylian (870843) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:57PM (#14410311)
      That might have something to do with the fact that they consider their target group to be frat boys and HS kids.

      I think good RPGs and SIMs take more time to develop, since you have to worry about storylines and character progressions. In FPS, you shoot to kill, and only aquire a small handfull of new weapons. In driving games, you drive fast around relatively static road courses. BFD.

      What is funny is that the XBox was considered superior for RPG type games by a lot of folks I talked to. More titles were offered there than PS/PS2. When I considered getting a console, my friends all said "Go XBox. You like RPGs, dude." Then I got electro-shock therapy, and stuck to my PC games. Why have a high powered gaming PC and then spend cash on a console?

      Besides, did you actually think M$ was going to work hard at getting out a set of games they didn't anticipate would sell well in the U.S. ready for the Japanese market? If nothing else, Gates has shown a willingness to turn his nose up at anything to do with the non-U.S./Canadian world. Sure, he wants their money, but he's not going to change his ways for a "smaller market". Though how he could think the Japanese console market would be small is beyond me.
      • Re:XBOX360 Culture (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Riddlefox (798679)
        I'm curious to see what the average development times for a good RPG and a good driving game are.

        I like the Gran Turismo series, and I like to write. Writing takes time. However, GT4 has 700+ car models. It's gotta take someone some time to make those. Then you have to collect the performance data for each vehicle (and I've seen photos of the GT4 team test-driving the actual cars with data-gathering gear attached all over). It's gotta take some time to simply find the real-life cars you want to inclu

        • Disclaimer: I'm not a big racing fan, so feel free to point out gaping holes in my assumptions.

          I would be curious to see how much time you could trim by asking the companies whose cars you are featuring in your game for surface models of their vehicles. The information for various tracks could be purchased, from the track owners, or racers whose sponsors analyze every possible piece of data for that quarter-second advantage over their opponents. While the artwork for backgrounds can look spectacular, t
          • Hi,

            I'm not a racing game developer by any means, so I can't speak with authority on the subject. I've mainly gleaned info from occasional books (like the Development of GT4 coffeetable book) and some articles on how simulations are getting ever closer to real life.

            Yes, I suppose you could buy the models from the companies; however, I don't think that this is done. For GT4, at least, the artists gathered up reference photos of all of the vehicles they included and modelled them by hand. Some of the cars i
      • Re:XBOX360 Culture (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pxtl (151020)
        Wow. That's the most spectacular line of bullshit I've ever seen. You know what character development takes? One good writer. You know what a solid FPS or racing game takes? A massive staff of modellers, engine developers, etc. Face it "character development" doesn't matter one iota to the development time. At worst, it means adding a few more scripted animations. Big whoop - like most modern FPS games don't have those.
        • It's not the writing I think that takes a long time for RPGs, but I do think RPGs tend to take longer to develop.
          In a given RPG you have hundreds of enemies to be modeled- with animations. You have NPCs. Most RPGs have a dozen or two towns with each town having a dozen or more simple interiors. Not to mention a couple of dozen dungeons, an overworld (in some RPGs more than one overworld), models for usually a couple of hundred items, weapons, armor, attack and spell animations for characters and enemies
        • Yes, I'm certain play-testing Final Fantasy X was a simple weekend affair and the materia system worked the very first time they implemented it. And all they did for the movies was go out to the state fair and grab some handy-cam vids and push them into the game at random intervals. Please, pass your crack so we can all share in the exuberance of blind first-person-shooter fanboyism... (/sarcasm)
      • "What is funny is that the XBox was considered superior for RPG type games by a lot of folks I talked to. More titles were offered there than PS/PS2. When I considered getting a console, my friends all said "Go XBox. You like RPGs, dude."

        As a matter of quantity, your friends had no clue what they were talking about. Look at this list [gamefaqs.com], then look at this [gamefaqs.com] and this [gamefaqs.com].

        Yes, the PS/PS2 lists have some duplicates and games that were never translated, but i'd say they have easily twice as many RPG's available as the X
        • And that XBOX list is considering games like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and X Men Legends as RPGs. The XBOX has a few good RPGs, but almost every single one of them is available in the PC, like Knights of the Old Republic, Fable and Morrowind.
          • That's because they are RPGs. They might not be the kind of RPGs that you like, but they're still RPGs. I think Diablo is one of the most overrated games ever, but I still have to admit that it's an RPG.

            Rob
          • Yeah I must say I have always been SORELY disappointed with the RPG selection on the XBox, Fable is the only remotely decent one in my mind [I just couldn't get in to elder scrolls for some reason] and Fable only held my interest for the first twenty hours...at which point I quit playing it.

            On more than one occasion, I've almost bought another PS2 just to play some decent RPG's...
      • the XBox was considered superior for RPG type games by a lot of folks I talked to. More titles were offered there than PS/PS2.

        Are you smoking crack? That's not even true if you count all the FPS/action titles that they tried to pass as RPGs.
        • Western RPGs. Think Morrowwind, or Knights of the Old Republic.

          • Yes, yes... Those are the ones I meant. Even if you count those, there were way less RPGs for Xbox than the PS2 or the PC.
          • Western RPGs. Think Morrowwind, or Knights of the Old Republic.

            Judging by the original comment, I doubt the OP really understands much about console RPGs, and/or the distinction between Western and Japanese style - it's more likely that PC ports like Morrowind, Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, etc. are just the only thing he knows as an RPG.
            • As the OP, I stated that I was TOLD by other people. I didn't buy one, because when looking at titles and reviews, most of the games looked like they weren't that great.
        • People who like western style rpgs are generally bored with the whack-a-mole crap interspersed with nonsensical cutscenes which fails miserably at bringing even a modicum of cohesion into their ridiculous plots which is found in Japanese rpgs, that's all. Different tastes. Some people prefer poorly-animated, androgenous, noseless freaks, some people prefer to stay away from teeny bopper two-dimensional caricatures.
          • ...while the rest of us prefer to skip the stereotypes and judge a game on whether it employs plot, strategy, reflex testing, good graphics, or a combination thereof.

            Most games don't fall cleanly into one of your two snottily worded flamebait categories.

            Incidentally, I thought both Final Fantasy VII, and Morrowind were two of the best games ever made, while I thought that Knights of the Old Republic was shit. Sure, many japanese style RPGs have a crappy plot, but many "western style" RPGs have shitty gamepl
          • Generalize much? Not all Japanese-made RPGs fit into that mold, or even all the FF games.

            Care to list what Japanese-style games you've actually played? I'm guessing it's not a very exhaustive list.
  • Excess inventory? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So there should be all sorts of 360's just collecting dust on store shelves over there, right? But is there? Or have they sold as many as they released?
  • I pre-ordered mine on the hopes that i'd get Oblivion on launch. Even the dudes from bethesda were claiming at E3, TGS, and X05 that it was a launch title. One month before launch, the delay was announced... I have a 360 collecting dust on my desk at home, and a Oblivion pre-order in my wallet. I don't know about MS, but I think they had better get in the habbit of developing first party games of ALL genres if they wish to compete globally in the console wars. Cause the third party developers aren't go
    • I have a 360 collecting dust on my desk at home, and a Oblivion pre-order in my wallet.

      At least you got your 360 machine. While units rot on the shelf in Japan, there are still people here at the local game shop (U.S.) who put down pre-order deposits and still haven't received their XBox 360 consoles, even after Christmas and New Years. Talk about a screwed up launch!

  • how's this any different from usual microsoft behavior ?

    this kind of arrogance is not a MS exclusivity. wall-mart had a really hard time here in brasil before they aknowleged the local culture and adapted. it took wall-mart some 5 years to get it right. lessee how long it take microsoft
  • I, for one, don't welcome our 360 overlords. I am not a PS2 fanboy. I LOVE my XBox and for the longest time I refused to name it favorite. I was sold on the graphics, library, and XBox Live interactivity, not to mention you DON'T NEED A FRIGGIN' MULTITAP ("Multi-pass") for 4 player fun! But what the heck WAS with the 360? Who cares if they staggered supplies, demanded on retailers like Wal-Mart a sales quota... It just had nothing I wanted. Where's HALO 3 Bill? Huh? There, buddy, where's the Master
    • Where's HALO 3 Bill? Huh? There, buddy, where's the Master Chief upon whose shoulders your gaming empire reigns?

      Do you think Bungie are a bunch of miracle workers? Halo 2 was just barely a year old at 360 launch (11/9/2004, compared to 11/22/2005). Consider that after Halo 2 I'm sure the guys took a nice long vacation, so scratch two months off of possible working time, and that the game would've needed to be completed by the beginning of November, so scratch of another month. So, Halo 3 designed and

      • Do you think Bungie are a bunch of miracle workers? Halo 2 was just barely a year old at 360 launch (11/9/2004, compared to 11/22/2005). Consider that after Halo 2 I'm sure the guys took a nice long vacation, so scratch two months off of possible working time, and that the game would've needed to be completed by the beginning of November, so scratch of another month. So, Halo 3 designed and developed with high quality in 9 months (call it February to October)? I think not.

        Of course, games companies don't

        • Of course, games companies don't start work on their next project before the current one hits retail. And they can have a two month vacation just for shipping. I'm sure a lot of developers reading this would like to live in your universe.

          Keep in mind that I was referring to primadonna Bungie, the darling of Microsoft's game studios. If they don't want to start working on Halo 3 until Halo 2 is out the door, I'm sure they won't. If they want to take 2 months of vacation time after a 3 year ship cycle,

  • by The-Bavis (855107) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:02PM (#14410348)
    They should have used better Japanese advertising, such as: "XBOX 360 - Beautiful Happy Exuberance Maker!!"
  • Nintendo isn't mad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126)
    Perhaps now people can see why Nintendo isn't (completely) mad, when it comes to the Revolution. They don't need the best graphics or a million button control pad, they just need something that has interesting and easy to access games.

    American, and to a large degree European gamers seem to be interested in graphics, action and above all easy games. Most western games now are little more than interactive movies, very easy to complete (except on the hardest mode which is often impossible, 100x harder than nor
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Most western games now are little more than interactive movies, very easy to complete (except on the hardest mode which is often impossible, 100x harder than normal). You just play through the story line and set pieces."

      Uh.... how is that different from Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy or many other Japanese game series? In fact Japanese games tend to be "interactive movies" much moreso than American games.

  • by astroblaster (600838) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:09PM (#14410394)
    Teriyaki and Fried Shrimp face plates for XBOX 360. Thanks for making me hungry with your analogy, jackass.
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:12PM (#14410414) Journal
    FTS/A: "[McDonalds sells] other things for the Japanese pallet"

    The Japanese pallet? Stuff for Japanese straw beds? Huh. I knew the Japanese have some strange boudoir practices (to my sensibilities, anyway), but McD's?

    Oh, wait... palate misspelled... I see.
  • Ironically, it took McDonald's years to allow U.S. customers to order "whatever they want however they want" instead of pulling an already made item that's been sitting under the heat lamp for hours. Nothing ruins my cheeseburgers than finding a pickle in the middle.
    • Ironically, it took McDonald's years to allow U.S. customers to order "whatever they want however they want" instead of pulling an already made item that's been sitting under the heat lamp for hours.

      Having just read your resume, I can tell you that you haven't been alive long enough to have seen a time when McDonalds let anything sit around for more than 15 minutes (I'm assuming you're approximately 30 judging from the dates on there), and they have always been willing to make you a fresh one with any custo
      • I'm 36 if that means anything. I've gotten into arguments with cashiers about removing the ding-dong-dang pickle from the cheeseburger when I was a teenager in 1980s. I've known friends who worked at McDonald who had managers who want the product -- no matter how long it's been sitting under lamp -- given to the customer instead of the trash can. McDonald's only a few years ago implemented a more stringent quality control and shutting down resturants that have poor quality. Obviously, you're not a McDonald'
        • Re:Changing taste... (Score:3, Informative)

          by ivan256 (17499) *
          Obviously, you're not a McDonald's shareholder who would be familiar with these problems.

          No, but I have been a McDonald's assistant manager signifigantly longer than a few years ago. What every your friend's managers were doing wasn't something McDonald's was doing, or needed to "figure out". For decades, the policy was after 20 minutes it gets marked on the 'waste' form and thrown out. Recently even 20 minutes was too long.

          As sombody who ate plane McDonald's cheeseburgers as a small child, and catered to c
          • I'm seriously surprised at your pickle problem.

            Both you guys seem to be overlooking the fact that McD's is a franchise system, with differing mangement styles being in force in different regions of the country, regardless of the nationwide "guidelines."

            For the record, I'm 33, and I remember a time when many McD's in both Ohio and South Carolina had "build to order" and "freshness" issues. It wasn't until I was in grad school and then in Chicago that I frequented McD's that regularly allowed Burger King

            • All franchise operations have the problem of enforcing their rules and procedures. I used to hear stories about Ray Kroc putting the fear of God into McDonalds franchise operators when he used to randomly drop in at McDonalds restaurants across the country. You could lose your franchise if you pissed him off. McDonalds employees were always supposed to throw out food that had sat out for more than X minutes, but implementation of that rule was very inconsistent.

              One big variable is the local labor market.

      • Considering how long the drooling, brain-dead McDonalds workers take to give you something already cooked, I dread to think how long it'd take them to do something from scratch.

        Not that it would make a difference. Fresh cooked plastic doesn't taste any different to 15-minute old plastic.
    • > Nothing ruins my cheeseburgers than finding a pickle in the middle.

      The pickle has an important purpose.

      You are meant to fling it and get it to stick to the highest point of a window within the mcdonalds (this is usually a window above the bottom of the stairs that is in the upsatirs of the place (if you see what i mean)), they often stay there for months because they never clean the place.
  • Way to rant! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b1t r0t (216468) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:18PM (#14410468)
    He spends most of his time on this topic just ranting about "wahhh wahhh wahhh racism racism look here the japanese buy lots of american stuff" and only a little time on the real reasons why the Xbox failed in Japan and why the 360 is gonna fail along with it.

    And all that without even going on about the badly chosen name. To someone in Japan, "X" means failure, and is pronounced "batsu", which is a penalty you have to take after a failure. And the kanji for bad luck (kyou) is an "X" in a box. Yeah, let's slap a 360 on it, to make it sound like "failure comes around again". And release it with weak software support so that it really is the "penalty box".

    Hell, if no other reason, they should have delayed the Japanese release to make sure there weren't any hardware problems, like, say, overheating? Hardware problems with the initial run of Xbox systems, and Microsoft's failure to respond properly, was one reason the main reasons behind the Xbox failure.

    • And all that without even going on about the badly chosen name. To someone in Japan, "X" means failure, and is pronounced "batsu", which is a penalty you have to take after a failure. And the kanji for bad luck (kyou) is an "X" in a box. Yeah, let's slap a 360 on it, to make it sound like "failure comes around again". And release it with weak software support so that it really is the "penalty box".

      I didn't know that. I learned something new today! That one comment was worth reading the whole thread for.
    • So, Japanese gamers are rejecting the Xbox because of its name? I guess people really can be shallow.
      • So you're "deep" enough to buy the "Failure Box" and the "Failure 360" its overheating underachieving successor, even if it only played quirky japanese games that you thought were stupid?
  • Excellent points. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lpangelrob (714473) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:22PM (#14410510)
    That's very interesting. Where did Microsoft's Tokyo / Kobe / wherever-in-Japan office for the 360 go? Entire industries are built off picking up exactly these sorts of cross-cultural reactions. (A professor my wife knows makes $120k+ by interpreting what English and German engineers say, and what they actually mean). Microsoft couldn't afford research into the Japanese market? I highly doubt that. Likewise, they probably didn't intend to botch the launch this badly, so... someone messed up.

    This also isn't a strictly-Japanese thing. In the early 2000's (from the Super NES onwards), there was this perceived slight in the U.S. over Nintendo, before Sony and Microsoft took over the game console market. Nintendo of America was, functionally, a branch office of Nintendo of Japan (where the translators worked). Sony and Microsoft read more correctly what American gamers wanted — and Sony is a Japanese company. I believe NOA has more input into the process now. Not that this stopped them; NOA still successfully brought over Mario Party, Pokémon, and Harvest Moon --> Animal Crossing.

    It's interesting to note that "The Last Samurai" wasn't received well in theatres on this side of the pond. It did well because it had Tom Cruise in it, before he went psycho.

    Kudos on the "Japans can be racist too" comment. Japanese have a low level of memory and anger about Hiroshima. There's magnitudes more anger at Chinese. See this article [csmonitor.com] for more insight.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:29PM (#14410571) Journal
    We all know the urban legends of the car that had a funny name in country X. However just because those are myths does not mean it doesn't have a basis of truth. Simple things like having butter in a gold wrapping does not appeal the same everywhere.

    There must be some reason why koreans love Starcraft while the west liked and moved on.

    The article does however make a couple of mistakes. It somehow credits McDonalds and Apple with getting it right. Sorry but McD learned the hardway and Apples success with the iPod is just lucky that western tastes and japanese tastes happen to match up in this instance. If Apple really had a clue they would have insisted on all their content deals for iTunes to be international. Selling song X to a world audience must generate larger sales then just to a fraction considering there is no extra cost.

    One thing however that most people forget is how that the japanese in general SUCK at english. Yeah yeah and americans suck at japanese BUT the americans have the advantage of their main language being THE international language. Americans can afford to be lazy.

    I am currently watching far to much japanse idol tv (Morning Musume) and while teenage girls are never a good indication of a country's education it becomes pretty clear that there english skill are very poor if compared to the english skill of mainland europeans. If you don't believe me use google. http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=ayaka/ [google.com] should give you a bunch of short clips showing a member of the group who was born and raised in hawaii giving english lessons to the japanese members.

    Considering they are around the age of 16 on average it is nothing their english teacher should be proud of.

    Learning a new language, especially one that has no common root, is hard. The hardest part is getting the basics, if you do not understand a simple sentence you do not use the language so you never get experience so you never learn to understand a simple sentence so you do not use it. ETC ETC. Japan probably isn't like holland were people of my generation had a choice, you watch american tv shows or you go play outside. If you didn't like the american show on then that was though, we had 1 tv station.

    I think the problem is two-fold, MS being a bit of the typical arrogant american, and the japanese being just a little to snobbish to learn the international language of the world. Oh well at least this might mean Europe becomes a less neglected market.

    Oh and if anyone wishes to point out that chinese is spoken by more people then english, I didn't say that. I said english is the international language. More people speak english as their 2nd or 3rd language then any other language. It is the language two people with different mother languages are most likely to have in common. Yes even the french. They all speak perfect english, they just enjoy being rude to americans. Who doesn't.

    • You're actually incorrect about that. Japanese people of recent generations, depending on what region of the country they were born in, are actually fairly fluent in English. There English is pretty bad to a native speaker, but it's more than enough for them to comprehend the text in games, movies, books and music with much more ease than your average American can comprehend the same things in Spanish. The Japanese know that English is the language of the business world, and business is very important in
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Friday January 06, 2006 @02:35PM (#14410634)
    I generally agree with the article. I, myself, am disappointed by the crap available for the Xbox360, which really reflects the American gaming market in general. On the otherhand, it's not like Japan is the pinnacle of gaming variety. They've got their own generic crap, it just so happens that what is overdone there is in a different genre than what we have here. We normally get the best the Japanese market has to offer.

    As for the failure of the Xbox360 in Japan, I agree that it's due to Microsoft's complete lack of understanding of that market. I really don't understand how they didn't see this coming. That said, if the Xbox360 and PS3 were released on the same day, with identical line-ups and at the same price the Xbox360 still would sell badly. Unlike Americans who generally would choose the foreign product, Japanese would overwhelmingly gravitate towards the Japanese product.

    I wouldn't say it's xenophobic, necessarily. That's just how they are. They still have nationalistic pride I suppose, something Americans are sorely lacking. The foreign products that do well are generally fashionable or luxury items. European luxury cars are always popular, as are european fashions in general. Hip hop culture has certainly had a big impact, although it's been diluted and changed in a way that renders it unrecognizable.

    Apple products have been successful for a few reasons. First of all, Macs have always been popular because of their ease of us. Japanese consumers are generally not inclined to deal with anything complicated. This is different from elsewhere in Asia, like Taiwan and Korea where PCs dominate the market. In those nations they want something that does it all that they can tinker with. It's why consoles are still so important in Japan and virtually no existant elsewhere in Asia.

    iPods have the advantage of being easy to use and very fashionable. And given how much disposable income Japanese have, buying an iPod is nothing to them. That, however, doesn't stop Japanese companies from trying to make an iPod rival, or a rival for anything foreign. And they often try to prove that their products are superior, whether they are or not.

    Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It just shows that they've got pride in what they do. Not just the manager, or the engineer, but the guy working on the factory floor, when it isn't a robot doing the job also cares about his job. It isn't like the US, and most western nations where workers are out for themselves and could care less what happens to the company.

    And it's not Japanese corporations that foster this attitude, it's the culture itself, because managment generally treat their workers like crap. They do so in ways that would be considered illegal in the US. Japanese managers are known to be abusive with employees. It doesn't happen everywhere, but it's common enough.

    Japanese generally don't treat foreigners well. They avoid sitting next to foreigners on trains, I think mainly to avoid being stuck in some potential uncomfortable situation. For a society who's young people have been drawn to hip hop they still manage to gawk at black guys. I've had numerous friends who've been rejected apartments for no reason other than being a foreigner, and the landlord was very direct about the reason. It's common to walk into a store and have the employees stare at you. Some Japanese just think foreigners buy weird stuff and are compelled to follow them around the store. They also like making sweeping generalizations about foreigners, usually based on what they see in movies.

    Then there are all the laws that generally give foreigners a hard time. And unlike the US where the government is excessively easy, even on illegal immigrants, in Japan even a minor infraction can be enough to get a foreigner deported.

    It's true, you encounter this sort of thing all over the world. But the reality is that Japan is especially bad. In Taiwan, by contrast, they're far more comfortable with foreigners, being very open towards them. It may
    • I wouldn't say it's xenophobic, necessarily. That's just how they are. They still have nationalistic pride I suppose, something Americans are sorely lacking.

      Uhhh... Have you ever been to America? Or even heard of it? Most non-Americans consider Americans overy jingoistic.

      The Japanese, and Europeans, are xenophobic. In Old World nations, you can be born there, live your entire life, die there, and yet always be considered an outsider. It's really sad. Where as New World nations were built on immigratio
    • This is different from elsewhere in Asia, like Taiwan and Korea where PCs dominate the market. In those nations they want something that does it all that they can tinker with. It's why consoles are still so important in Japan and virtually no existant elsewhere in Asia.

      Interesting observation but it's far from reality. Japan can buy consoles and games for consoles simply because they are rich enough. In other Asian countries where piracy is rampant, packaged games are not what you purchase with a reasonable
  • If all you need to do to appeal to the Japanese consumer is throw some teriyaki on it and fry some shrimp. I think McDonald's is a little patronizing or stereotypical to offer those choices on the menu.

    But true, Microsoft has failed again to wow the Japanese market which continues the entire lackluster roll out of the Xbox360. They aren't wowing North American audiences with their overheating and locking up problems either.

    The question is, why is this Microsoft's fault? Where are the Japanese game develo
    • Re:Not saying much (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phoenix.bam! (642635)
      Are you seriously blaming the japanese game developers for the XBOX360 sucking?

      That's insane.

      Of course there are no games from Japanese developers when they know there is going to be no demand for the system. There is more money to be had from developing games for the gamecube and ps2.

      Now it is true that the lack of developed games for the Japanese market is a large part of the xbox failure, but this is entirely Microsoft's fault. Either subsidising or completely funding some Japanese games may have creat
  • They knew they didn't have a shot at competing with Nintendo/Sony in Japan, so they didn't try.

    Only a few games are actually in Japanese, there was absolutely 0 marketing, and very few consoles shipped over there. The Xbox trying to conquer Japan is like Hitler invading Russia. Just 'aint gonna happen and Billy boy knew it.

    Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold. PS2 sold 200,000 in the first 3 months as a comparison.
    • Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold. PS2 sold 200,000 in the first 3 months as a comparison.

      Please, stop making up statistics - it sounds like you're even starting to believe them and that will really fuck up your perception of reality. The PS2 sold nearly 1.5 million units combined [wikipedia.org] between the Japanese launch weekend (980k) and the first 24 hours of sales in the US (510k). I have no idea which launch you were referring to when you said 200k in 3 months, bu
    • Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold.

      Come to the local Bestbuy (#431). They've got 30 sitting in stock for over a week now.

      Apparently the rush is over in this neck of the woods.
  • Teriyaki burger (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clambake (37702) on Friday January 06, 2006 @03:42PM (#14411187) Homepage
    That was is SO ironic considering teriyaki is something that Japanese resturants, almost exclusively, do not serve. It exists, it's a real Japanese word, but you won't find Teriyaki ANYTHING *except* at McDonalds.
  • and tell me that there is a lot of "Japanese nationalism" there. If you find ONE Japanese movie that is almost considered odd. American films through and through.
    It could just be that the XBOX doesn't appeal to Japanese tastes. End of story.
  • Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. [google.com]

    I didn't know there was anything that made Japanese pallets any different from American ones. Maybe you meant palate? [google.com]
  • I don't think you can conclude much from the McDonalds example.

    From the article: Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. They didn't force the American tastes on the Japanese and thus, they thrived.

    Well I'm happy for McDonalds, but take another example: Starbucks. It does very well in Japan (every location I've seen in Tokyo is equally busy as locations in the U.S. and Canada). And Starbucks did not alter
    • Starbucks. It does very well in Japan (every location I've seen in Tokyo is equally busy as locations in the U.S. and Canada). And Starbucks did not alter its menu.

      Starbucks Japan doesn't have a dramatically different menu than SB USA, but they've clearly changed it over time to better suit Japanese tastes. This is especially true of food; e.g. sandwiches 5 years ago were more "US style" and they have slowly become um, more "Japanese style" (i.e., they now suck; Japanese are not good at sandwiches), and th
    • "Well I'm happy for McDonalds, but take another example: Starbucks. It does very well in Japan (every location I've seen in Tokyo is equally busy as locations in the U.S. and Canada). And Starbucks did not alter its menu. "

      Well, even though Starbucks's menu is pretty uniform worldwide, Japan seems to have influenced it a little. See, for example, the matcha (virgin green tea) drinks you can get in the summer.

      That said, European-style coffee is one of those non-Japanese things that the Japanese really have a
  • While it's true that the XBox 360 launch in Japan has been dismal, the idea that Microsoft isn't trying to cater to Japanese tastes is totally false. In fact, MS has been trying to do just that ever since the original XBox came out, and they're finally beginning to succeed. The 360 is going to finally get some exclusive Eastern RPGs from a noted developer. There's going to be a port of Final Fantasy XI. They have significantly better Japanese third-party support in general than they did before.

    Now, is t
  • While it's true that the XBox 360 launch has been dismal in Japan, the idea that Microsoft has not been trying to cater to Japanese tastes is totally false. In fact, MS has been trying to do just that ever since the original XBox came out, and they're finally beginning to succeed. There are finally going to be exclusive Eastern RPGs from a noted developer. There's a port of Final Fantasy XI coming out. There is significantly greater Japanese third-party support in general than there was before.

    Now will
  • Microsoft kept asking 'Where do you want to go today?'

    Apparently they never bothered listening.
  • The article is correct that it's all about the games. But it's not like Microsoft isn't trying. Please remember that MS has many new agreements with Japanese development houses. Those games aren't out yet. It's not Microsoft's fault they aren't out yet. Don't attribute to malice or neglect what is simply bad luck or poor planning.

    Microsoft rushed the 360 out the door. Many of the games, as most of us know, were still undergoing certification as they were being manufactured. And that's from MS and o

  • Unfortunately this echos the GM vs Toyota war a bit too much. I'm neither Japanese nor American, but I acknowledge that the Toyota and the Playstation are both superior products. They both have a very strong foothold in N. America mainly for their quality. Meanwhile GM cars and the Xbox are being force-fed to Japan for Americans to feel the 'me too' factor. Microsoft being the 'me too' guy in case of Xbox.

    Maybe we shouldnt check the products being sold in America or Japan, but rather watch a third country p
  • Ok, granted, I haven't read the article, so take this for what it's worth.

    I was reading weekly famitsu (largest gaming magazing in Japan) the other week, and they had a new years special about the next gen, and what people were looking for. From their website poll, the thing that ranked second on everyone's minds was the Xbox 360. People are interested in this console. Then why the lukewarm reception?

    In the reader comments sections, some of the issues were
    * Didn't give a crap about HD
    * No good games at star
  • Microsoft needs to buy some companies who are making and selling the kind of games that are popular in japan.
    Most of those companies are either loyal to Sony or are platform neutral. If microsoft could buy up some japanese developers and make their games 360 exclusive, japanese gamers (especially fans of whatever games/companies are now 360 exclusive) would start buying.
  • Never ascribe to conspiracy what could more easily be explained by incompetence.

    Considering the troubles Microsoft has had trying to get their product to the American market, how can you expect them to have done their homework on the Japanese market?

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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