Japan began taking pre-orders for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S earlier today and as expected, all available stock was sold out within minutes.
Amazon and the official Microsoft Store, which understandably always have the most available units, sold out all Xbox Series X consoles in less than 20 minutes of pre-orders going live. Xbox Series S took a little more time but also ran dry at both online stores within the hour.
Elsewhere, major Japanese electronic retailers like Yodobashi, Softmap, and BicCamera; as well as other smaller chains, sold out their next-generation inventory within the first few hours on average. Consumers are still frantically searching for available units but while Xbox Series S may possibly surface, the chances of pre-ordering an Xbox Series X in Japan is slim for the time being.
Microsoft should already be trying to get the second wave of stock to Japanese retailers out as soon as possible. The company even reduced the price of Xbox Series S from ¥32,980 to ¥29,980 for a price reduction of about $29 or £23 a few hours before pre-orders were schedule to open up. Xbox Series X though remains at the same ¥49,980 retail tag in Japan.
Japan has historically been friendlier towards PlayStation than Xbox. Hence, the amazing response for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in the country should be a sign of things to come.
That being said, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will be able to enforce a major presence in the Japanese market down the road. Since the Xbox brand has struggled to perform in Japan in past generations, stock allocation for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pre-orders was probably lower than in the west.
Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand, has previously stated that Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will not be delayed in Japan. Microsoft wants a simultaneous launch across all major regions, which is in contrast to how Xbox One was delayed in Japan by several months last time. Microsoft does not want history to repeat again.
Both next-generation consoles are scheduled to hit markets on November 10, 2020.