Ever since its launch in Japan, the Xbox One has suffered a lot in the region not only in terms of consoles sold but also games. Upon its debut, the Xbox One sold less than 10 times the units sold by PS4 or Wii U upon their debut in the region.
Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer recently talked about the reason behind this and ultimately it boils down to lack of games. It doesn’t mean that the console itself has very few games or the exclusives it does have are low quality, as both aren’t true at all, but the fact that almost all the exclusives available on Xbox One are targeted more towards western markets.
According to Phil, people in Japan are more into roleplaying games or visual novels, which Sony’s PlayStation 4 or Nintendo’s Wii U have a huge library of.
This genre preference has been prevalent in the Japanese gaming community for a long time. Microsoft tried to break through to the market with Xbox 360 exclusives such as Lost Odyssey and it did succeed to a certain extent. However, currently there isn’t any game on Xbox One yet that would please the gamers in a similar way.
Phil Spencer also said that there are:
plan to talk with many other developers in order to bring more games to the Japanese market
Keiji Inafune’s ReCore and Hideki Kamiya’s upcoming Scalebound are good examples of such games which should be popular in the Japanese market, provided they are good games and not just created to sell units in the region.
To really break through to the gaming community in Japan, Microsoft will, however, need to sign a deal with big publishers like Capcom or Square Enix and release multiple Xbox One exclusives which would shift the focus from PS4. Japanese gamers would be more interested in a sequel of their favourite franchises like Persona instead of seeing a new shooter or racer IP.