Xbox Japan confirms 2020 Series X launch as it attempts to do ‘much better job’

Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Series X will launch in Japan during the 2020 holiday season.

The news was confirmed in a statement supplied to Famitsu, and represents an improved commitment compared to Xbox’s previous console, Xbox One, which arrived almost a year late in Japan compared to the West.

At present, four Xbox Series X titles have been confirmed for release in Japan; Halo Infinite, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Scarlet Nexus and Bright Memory: Infinite.

The Japan Xbox Series X launch could occur simultaneously with Western regions and follows a renewed commitment from the platform holder to improve its position in Japan.

Xbox head Phil Spencer recently said that he felt the platform’s market position in Japan wasn’t acceptable and pledged to do “a much better job” with the Series X launch in the region.

According to market research company IDC, Xbox One has made just 0.3% of its global sales in the region. In Famitsu’s latest annual sales report for 2018, it’s claimed that Xbox One sold just 15,339 units during the entire year (compared to 1.7 million for PS4 and 3.5 million for Switch).

Xbox One has sold less than 0.3% of its consoles in Japan. (AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA)

Speaking in an interview with Gamertag Radio, Spencer said he remained committed to the region and wanted Xbox “to mean more than it does today” in Japan.

“Our market in Japan for Xbox is important to us,” he said. “Obviously, Sony and Nintendo are both strong Japanese companies who have done a great job. I don’t know if we’re winning in Japan any time soon, but the position that we have in Japan today from a platform isn’t acceptable to me.”

Spencer added: “We’re going to do a much better job with this next, upcoming launch of not waiting ten months to launch in Japan like we did last time. We’re going to make sure our services like Game Pass, xCloud and stuff are there so people will have access to it.”

PlatinumGames’s Hideki Kamiya recently told VGC he felt Xbox could do more to market towards Japanese players’ tastes for their console.

“If I were to share my innocent opinion as a gamer, I would say that ever since the Xbox has been introduced to the Japanese market it’s always felt like something foreign and far away,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s ever been cultivated for Japanese tastes.”

PlatinumGames also suggested it likely would not be interested in any potential acquisition offer from Xbox Game Studios, following claims Xbox would like to add a Japanese studio to its first-party roster.