Though it’s been available in other territories for a little over six months at this point, Microsoft has finally confirmed that the Xbox One will launch in Japan on September 4th.
In a report published by Famitsu, the Japanese video game magazine confirmed that the console will debut in The Land of the Rising Sun with a host of first-party software in tow, including Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals and Sunset Overdrive, among others.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Microsoft’s newly-appointed Xbox boss Phil Spencer stressed the importance of the Eastern market:
“The Japanese development community remains incredibly important to us, and we’re continuing to invest there. We’re having great conversations with people. We’re not announcing anything, but I can say both RPGs and specifically the Japanese developers are really important to our ecosystem.”
It is also understood that third-party studios such as Level 5, From Software and Bandai Namco are currently working on new titles for the system ahead of its launch. And while Microsoft may refrain from focusing on the Japanese market at E3 in June, we can readily expect the company to bolster the Xbox One’s status for eastern audiences at this year’s TGS event.
However, considering how the Xbox 360 fared in Japan, which fell into the paradox of a meagre install base and, subsequently, a lack of third-party support, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft angles its approach.
By comparison, the PlayStation 4 launched across Japan in February. Although, since its debut, hardware sales for Sony’s latest system have declined steadily; in fact, its second week on the market represented the worst sales in recent history for a new console.
Ultimately, this portrays the inherent nature of the country’s video game market, one which is traditionally more oriented towards portable devices in lieu of consoles experiences (hence the success of Nintendo’s 3DS). Nevertheless, in pushing the Japanese release date back to September 4th, 2014, Microsoft has carved out an opportune window of time to gain a foothold in the market — a foothold that could also bring worldwide sales of the Xbox One on par with PlayStation 4.