Xbox consoles have typically struggled in Japan and are regularly among the lowest selling games hardware 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).
Speaking in a new interview with Gamertag Radio, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said he remains committed to the region and wants Xbox “to mean more than it does today” in Japan.
Spencer said he feels Japan is an important market because of its creative community and game-playing audience.
“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.”
The Xbox boss reiterated his comments from 2019 that he’d like to add a Japanese developer to Xbox’s first-party studio line-up.
“I think what you’re asking about is, could we have more homegrown, first-party content that’s developed there, and I’ll just say that I think we can,” he said.
“I’m not announcing anything, but I think the Japanese market is specifically important because of the creative community there and because of the gamer community there.
“I want Xbox to mean more there than it does today and that means working across a bunch of different fronts to make that possible and it takes time.”
Spencer said that while the public will still see third-party games announced that aren’t on Xbox, – “and I cringe every time that happens” – he feels that it’s in a better position than it was five years ago.
“When I’m over there, the number one piece of feedback I get from the studio heads is… ‘the people in our studio love working with you guys, they just wish they saw more Xboxs in the stores around here’,” he said.