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The Xbox 360 and Japanese Nationalism

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the dig-deeper dept.

XBox (Games) 111

Ant writes "4 Color Rebellion has a transcript of a segment included with its recent Podcast. The piece concerns the launch of the Xbox 360 in Japan, a launch that's amounting to one of the weakest in Japanese gaming history. The authors look into the reasons behind the failure, and try to dissuade gamers from some poorly thought-out rationalizations for the console's lack of success." From the article: "McDonalds knew that some of its tastes would not appeal to the Japanese so they changed their menus. Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. They didn't force the American tastes on the Japanese and thus, they thrived. Now look at the Japanese Xbox 360 launch lineup. First person Shooters, sports and car games. Games that sell really well in America but other than the car games are not to the Japanese taste. Had they launched with RPGs, simulation games, party games, gambling games and fighters, they might have done a whole lot better. McDonalds changed their company for the Japanese taste. Microsoft tried to change the Japanese taste for their company."

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All hail.... (1)

deathwombat (848460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410155)

Your new emperor bill gates!!!

It's not just the japanese... (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410196)

I'm also disappointed with xbox360's launch titles being mostly FPS, sports, and racing.

Re:It's not just the japanese... (1)

heavy snowfall (847023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410366)

I'm sort of underwhelmed by the console... Nothing new about it.

Waiting for the Revolution.

Why? (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412978)

It means you can save all that money you'd waste on a 360, and instead get a Revolution or something else much better :)

XBOX360 Culture (4, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410223)

Microsoft has released a bunch of games that appeal to the "frat boy culture." I don't know the best way to describe Japan, but I don't think they're real heavy on that.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (4, Insightful)

garylian (870843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410311)

That might have something to do with the fact that they consider their target group to be frat boys and HS kids.

I think good RPGs and SIMs take more time to develop, since you have to worry about storylines and character progressions. In FPS, you shoot to kill, and only aquire a small handfull of new weapons. In driving games, you drive fast around relatively static road courses. BFD.

What is funny is that the XBox was considered superior for RPG type games by a lot of folks I talked to. More titles were offered there than PS/PS2. When I considered getting a console, my friends all said "Go XBox. You like RPGs, dude." Then I got electro-shock therapy, and stuck to my PC games. Why have a high powered gaming PC and then spend cash on a console?

Besides, did you actually think M$ was going to work hard at getting out a set of games they didn't anticipate would sell well in the U.S. ready for the Japanese market? If nothing else, Gates has shown a willingness to turn his nose up at anything to do with the non-U.S./Canadian world. Sure, he wants their money, but he's not going to change his ways for a "smaller market". Though how he could think the Japanese console market would be small is beyond me.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (2, Interesting)

Riddlefox (798679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410383)

I'm curious to see what the average development times for a good RPG and a good driving game are.

I like the Gran Turismo series, and I like to write. Writing takes time. However, GT4 has 700+ car models. It's gotta take someone some time to make those. Then you have to collect the performance data for each vehicle (and I've seen photos of the GT4 team test-driving the actual cars with data-gathering gear attached all over). It's gotta take some time to simply find the real-life cars you want to include in your game.

Then you have to generate those static tracks. The real-life tracks featured in GT4 (Laguna Seca, Nurburgring, etc) were all meticulously surveyed - the virtual versions are supposed to be within 15mm of their real-life counterparts. That's gotta take some time, not only to collect the data, but to convert it into a format that can be used to render the track on game.

I'd say that both RPG's and driving simulators take a ton of time to do, but perhaps in different areas. It does take a long time to write out a good back story, and it takes a lot of time to gather up all of the data that you need to make a good driving game (arcade racers, I'm sure, take a lot less time).

Re:XBOX360 Culture (0)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411325)

Disclaimer: I'm not a big racing fan, so feel free to point out gaping holes in my assumptions.

I would be curious to see how much time you could trim by asking the companies whose cars you are featuring in your game for surface models of their vehicles. The information for various tracks could be purchased, from the track owners, or racers whose sponsors analyze every possible piece of data for that quarter-second advantage over their opponents. While the artwork for backgrounds can look spectacular, the need for extreme detail is low, as you are passing the surrouding buildings at high speed.

For an extensive RPG to work, dozens of monster models have to be thought up and modeled, then digitized with artwork then added. Even the most generic of creatures, say "Goblin" or "Dragon" has got to be created from scratch. Detailed scenes are expected, so artwork is crucial. RPG's also have higher requirements in the area of dialogue, story writing, voice acting, and (arguably) cut-scenes.

I won't say that making a good racing game is easier or cheaper than making a good RPG, but it would seem to be much easier to do a good job in a hurry. There are many short-cuts available to racing games that not only shorten development time, but add to the realism of the game (such as detailed models directly from the company).

Re:XBOX360 Culture (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410577)

Wow. That's the most spectacular line of bullshit I've ever seen. You know what character development takes? One good writer. You know what a solid FPS or racing game takes? A massive staff of modellers, engine developers, etc. Face it "character development" doesn't matter one iota to the development time. At worst, it means adding a few more scripted animations. Big whoop - like most modern FPS games don't have those.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411296)

It's not the writing I think that takes a long time for RPGs, but I do think RPGs tend to take longer to develop.
In a given RPG you have hundreds of enemies to be modeled- with animations. You have NPCs. Most RPGs have a dozen or two towns with each town having a dozen or more simple interiors. Not to mention a couple of dozen dungeons, an overworld (in some RPGs more than one overworld), models for usually a couple of hundred items, weapons, armor, attack and spell animations for characters and enemies.
Granted- most of these things are simpler to model than- say- a realistic looking model of a vehicle. Overall though I would say it's still a lot more than what you would find in a standard FPS.
On top of all the modeling- you also have voice acting in most modern RPGS (whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for debate) which takes time. Then there are the requisite pre-rendered cutscenes (which are becomming less common as game-engines get better).
I'd also argue that it takes longer to balance the gameplay of an RPG than a FPS or a racing game.
Just look at Star Ocean- the game comes on 2 DVDs- and that is with only a couple of short pre-rendered cutscenes taking up space.
It also takes more than 1 good writer to develop an RPG. Most RPGs I've played tend to credit at least a dozen writers in the ending credits. It takes a lot of work to write all of the main dialog, NPC text, develop the storyline, plot twists, main events, etc.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411474)

Thank you.

You expounded on my point very well.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14413455)

In a given RPG you have hundreds of enemies to be modeled- with animations.

Don't you mean a dozen or two enemies, and some color variations thereof? (Red Slime, Blue Slime, etc.) Be honest here.

Same critique goes towards most of your points, actually. FPS environments generally have to be more detailed and take into consideration the greater freedom of movement and type of gameplay that happens in them.

And any decent FPS nowadays is fully voice-acted.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

darkhadden (941003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411368)

Yes, I'm certain play-testing Final Fantasy X was a simple weekend affair and the materia system worked the very first time they implemented it. And all they did for the movies was go out to the state fair and grab some handy-cam vids and push them into the game at random intervals. Please, pass your crack so we can all share in the exuberance of blind first-person-shooter fanboyism... (/sarcasm)

Re:XBOX360 Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410595)

It isn't about the cost of developing a game that apeals to the Japaneese market nearly as much as convincing a Japaneese developer that they're not wasting their money producing a game for the XBox; if you produce a game for the XBox that targets a Japaneese market you'll be targeting a couple hundred thousand users, on the other hand the Gamecube (which did not sell all that well in Japan) has about 4 Million Japaneese users and the PS2 has a massive userbase compared to the other two. I would bet that the Japaneese developers that are producing games for the XBox have recieved alternative compensation from Microsoft (that is Microsoft probably funded development).

Now the question is, if you're a Japaneese developer why would you provide exclusive content for the XBox that targets the Japaneese market when there are (essentially) no XBox users in Japan; on the other hand, why would a Japaneese videogame player buy a system that doesn't have any exclusive games that they like.

On a bit of a detour, the XBox will (probably) never gain a user base in Japan because many people expect it to be pulled from Retailer's shelves because it is not selling(thus anyone who is even remotely intersted won't buy it); PSPs, GBAs, Nintendo DSs, Gamecubes, PS2s and soon The Revolution and PS3 sell a lot more units than the XBox 360 and their Games (and UMD movies) outsell any XBox/360 games, thus (with Limited Retail Space) something has to go.

The XBox 360 was doomed in Japan before it launched, anyone who disagrees doesn't understand how poorly the XBox performed in Japan and what the consequences of that are.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410645)

"What is funny is that the XBox was considered superior for RPG type games by a lot of folks I talked to. More titles were offered there than PS/PS2. When I considered getting a console, my friends all said "Go XBox. You like RPGs, dude."

As a matter of quantity, your friends had no clue what they were talking about. Look at this list [gamefaqs.com] , then look at this [gamefaqs.com] and this [gamefaqs.com] .

Yes, the PS/PS2 lists have some duplicates and games that were never translated, but i'd say they have easily twice as many RPG's available as the Xbox, if not more. Heck, you'd probably even be better off buying a GBA or a Cube for RPG's.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411248)

And that XBOX list is considering games like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and X Men Legends as RPGs. The XBOX has a few good RPGs, but almost every single one of them is available in the PC, like Knights of the Old Republic, Fable and Morrowind.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411728)

That's because they are RPGs. They might not be the kind of RPGs that you like, but they're still RPGs. I think Diablo is one of the most overrated games ever, but I still have to admit that it's an RPG.

Rob

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411825)

Yeah I must say I have always been SORELY disappointed with the RPG selection on the XBox, Fable is the only remotely decent one in my mind [I just couldn't get in to elder scrolls for some reason] and Fable only held my interest for the first twenty hours...at which point I quit playing it.

On more than one occasion, I've almost bought another PS2 just to play some decent RPG's...

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410662)

the XBox was considered superior for RPG type games by a lot of folks I talked to. More titles were offered there than PS/PS2.

Are you smoking crack? That's not even true if you count all the FPS/action titles that they tried to pass as RPGs.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411180)

Western RPGs. Think Morrowwind, or Knights of the Old Republic.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411512)

Yes, yes... Those are the ones I meant. Even if you count those, there were way less RPGs for Xbox than the PS2 or the PC.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411542)

Western RPGs. Think Morrowwind, or Knights of the Old Republic.

Judging by the original comment, I doubt the OP really understands much about console RPGs, and/or the distinction between Western and Japanese style - it's more likely that PC ports like Morrowind, Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, etc. are just the only thing he knows as an RPG.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14413616)

As the OP, I stated that I was TOLD by other people. I didn't buy one, because when looking at titles and reviews, most of the games looked like they weren't that great.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

Bluetick (516014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412131)

People who like western style rpgs are generally bored with the whack-a-mole crap interspersed with nonsensical cutscenes which fails miserably at bringing even a modicum of cohesion into their ridiculous plots which is found in Japanese rpgs, that's all. Different tastes. Some people prefer poorly-animated, androgenous, noseless freaks, some people prefer to stay away from teeny bopper two-dimensional caricatures.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412481)

...while the rest of us prefer to skip the stereotypes and judge a game on whether it employs plot, strategy, reflex testing, good graphics, or a combination thereof.

Most games don't fall cleanly into one of your two snottily worded flamebait categories.

Incidentally, I thought both Final Fantasy VII, and Morrowind were two of the best games ever made, while I thought that Knights of the Old Republic was shit. Sure, many japanese style RPGs have a crappy plot, but many "western style" RPGs have shitty gameplay. It works both ways. Sorry to shatter the clean black and white reality of your little world.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412951)

Generalize much? Not all Japanese-made RPGs fit into that mold, or even all the FF games.

Care to list what Japanese-style games you've actually played? I'm guessing it's not a very exhaustive list.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14412166)

This post is just another case of "They don't make the kind of games I like. Waaah!" There's nothing insightful here except for the fact that 360 bashers never fail to mod each other up.

Re:XBOX360 Culture (0, Troll)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414635)

This is what's going to cause the console collapse in a couple years, frat-boys aren't gamers at heart, and when the novelty wears off they're going to go right back to cheap beer and cheap sluts. Especially when the $500 consoles and the $70 games start interfering with the pursuit of said beer and sluts. Hmmm, this months supply of cases of Natty light, or "Random Shooter Sequel 13" for the Xbox? Right-o, beer it is!

Excess inventory? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410234)

So there should be all sorts of 360's just collecting dust on store shelves over there, right? But is there? Or have they sold as many as they released?

Re:Excess inventory? (3, Informative)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410257)

Why yes. Yes, there would be...

TOKYO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) sold less than half of the estimated 159,000 Xbox 360 video game consoles that were available in stores in Japan in its first weekend of sales, a survey showed on Tuesday. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051213/tc_nm/japan_x box_dc [yahoo.com] )

MS Better Take Control (1)

Durrill (908003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410252)

I pre-ordered mine on the hopes that i'd get Oblivion on launch. Even the dudes from bethesda were claiming at E3, TGS, and X05 that it was a launch title. One month before launch, the delay was announced... I have a 360 collecting dust on my desk at home, and a Oblivion pre-order in my wallet. I don't know about MS, but I think they had better get in the habbit of developing first party games of ALL genres if they wish to compete globally in the console wars. Cause the third party developers aren't gonna cut it for them, especially if all they cared about was porting over old gen titles or old series sequels.

Re:MS Better Take Control (1)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412546)

I have a 360 collecting dust on my desk at home, and a Oblivion pre-order in my wallet.

At least you got your 360 machine. While units rot on the shelf in Japan, there are still people here at the local game shop (U.S.) who put down pre-order deposits and still haven't received their XBox 360 consoles, even after Christmas and New Years. Talk about a screwed up launch!

Japanese Pallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410290)

I guess Japanese Pallets are smaller than Western ones?

Oh, you mean palette!

Re:Japanese Pallet (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410543)

Are you referring to "a board, typically with a hole for the thumb, which an artist can hold while painting and on which colors are mixed" or "the range of qualities inherent in nongraphic art forms such as music and literature"? Oh, you mean palate! [reference.com]

Re:Japanese Pallet (2, Funny)

renehollan (138013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410733)

No, clearly they are referring to a base for a shipping containers. See, Japanese pallets are smaller than American ones, and the XBox boxes don't fit on them quite right, so the Japanese, looking at how that would mess up their JIT delivery systems, said, quite rightly, "it isn't worth the hassle".

considering who we're talking about (0, Flamebait)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410292)

how's this any different from usual microsoft behavior ?

this kind of arrogance is not a MS exclusivity. wall-mart had a really hard time here in brasil before they aknowleged the local culture and adapted. it took wall-mart some 5 years to get it right. lessee how long it take microsoft

Unoriginal, unanticipated, uninspired (1)

darkhadden (941003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410330)

I, for one, don't welcome our 360 overlords. I am not a PS2 fanboy. I LOVE my XBox and for the longest time I refused to name it favorite. I was sold on the graphics, library, and XBox Live interactivity, not to mention you DON'T NEED A FRIGGIN' MULTITAP ("Multi-pass") for 4 player fun! But what the heck WAS with the 360? Who cares if they staggered supplies, demanded on retailers like Wal-Mart a sales quota... It just had nothing I wanted. Where's HALO 3 Bill? Huh? There, buddy, where's the Master Chief upon whose shoulders your gaming empire reigns? There's a reason Halo 2 isn't on PCs yet. Because Gates nigh-Lucasian empire of videogaming goodness would topple without console sales of Halo 2. Okay, to be fair, I completely pulled that out of me nethers and it's not true... But I'm a Halo fanboy above and beyond any rootkit viruses or Machiavellian marketing ploys. Americans have been demanding XBox role-playing games since the inception of the big black box. We haven't been heard. Where are the epic Square-style RPGs that will tie me up for hours. What, I get a shitty port of Elder Scrolls and a buggy Star Wars game? Now, Knights was AWEsome, but had its little burps now and again. Fine, regardless, the game is for rpgaming what a Lambo is to car buffs. All the launch of 360 brought to the party was a movie game, we all know how those turn out, a WW2 game... I'm more sick of these than I am of Kathy Lee Gifford. And it's kind of disrespectful to make war games in the first place... We're glorifying or making trite the death and sacrifice of thousands of real people that fought those wars. This aside, I still prefer killing aliens to people. Scroll back, remember, I LOVE Halo. And, lastly, a racing game. Great. Another racing game. O, not to forget, Perfect Dark Zero. Quite aptly named. You cannot build upon Rare achievements. Frankly, if the releases for 360 continue in this track, I must quote Maynard James Keenan here, the 360 is, "One great big festering neon distraction," and, "I've a suggestion to keep you (360 fanboys) all occupied: learn to swim."

Re:Unoriginal, unanticipated, uninspired (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412237)

Where's HALO 3 Bill? Huh? There, buddy, where's the Master Chief upon whose shoulders your gaming empire reigns?

Do you think Bungie are a bunch of miracle workers? Halo 2 was just barely a year old at 360 launch (11/9/2004, compared to 11/22/2005). Consider that after Halo 2 I'm sure the guys took a nice long vacation, so scratch two months off of possible working time, and that the game would've needed to be completed by the beginning of November, so scratch of another month. So, Halo 3 designed and developed with high quality in 9 months (call it February to October)? I think not. Halo 2 took 3 years, and Halo 1 took much longer than that. Maybe Bungie should've held onto Halo 2 for one more year and shipped it on 360 (complete with a real ending!), but that would have causedother problems.

There's a reason Halo 2 isn't on PCs yet. Because Gates nigh-Lucasian empire of videogaming goodness would topple without console sales of Halo 2.

First, the usage of the word "yet" is incorrect. Halo 2 will not ever be on the PC (well, except perhaps under emulation in a couple years). Halo 1 only made its way back to PC and Mac because that's where it started. Halo 2 was designed exclusively for the Xbox from the ground up, with no plans to ever port it to PC.

Americans have been demanding XBox role-playing games since the inception of the big black box. We haven't been heard. Where are the epic Square-style RPGs that will tie me up for hours. What, I get a shitty port of Elder Scrolls and a buggy Star Wars game? Now, Knights was AWEsome, but had its little burps now and again.

Well, there were two Knights games, and Jade Empire. As for epic Square-style RPGs, that really would've entailed getting Square (because they're the only ones who do that well). It's well-known that Square was in Sony's back pocket for quite some time, and that they generally only really support one console at a time (Crystal Chronicles and portable games aside). But Square is coming to the 360 (albeit with an aging FFXI), and ex-Square developers are also working on 360 games. Also, Bioware's upcoming game Mass Effect [bioware.com] looks like it'll be pretty sweet.

As for launch titles, I'll agree that they are mostly weak (though I'm really digging on PGR3 and Kameo right now). However, you completely overlooked the Live Arcade [xbox.com] . Geometry Wars [xbox.com] has been hailed as one of the best launch games on the platform (yes, it is a little sad that the best launch title for a $400 console is a $5 old-school-style shooter of infinite difficulty), and there are several old arcade favorites like Gauntlet and Joust, puzzle games, and card games if those are more your style.

Keep in mind, though, that these are launch titles. They're games that had at most of year of development time. They're barely stretching the capabilities of the platform because it hasn't been around long enough to truly be learned. They have bugs or missing features or jaggies where we were promised none. And yet, they don't speak at all to the quality or type of games we'll see on the 360 a year from now. The Xbox launch library was a fluke with Halo. Every other console has had a horrible launch line-up, with the possible exceptions of the Dreamcast (Soul Calibur) and SNES (Mario World).

Re:Unoriginal, unanticipated, uninspired (1)

fondue (244902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414520)

Do you think Bungie are a bunch of miracle workers? Halo 2 was just barely a year old at 360 launch (11/9/2004, compared to 11/22/2005). Consider that after Halo 2 I'm sure the guys took a nice long vacation, so scratch two months off of possible working time, and that the game would've needed to be completed by the beginning of November, so scratch of another month. So, Halo 3 designed and developed with high quality in 9 months (call it February to October)? I think not.

Of course, games companies don't start work on their next project before the current one hits retail. And they can have a two month vacation just for shipping. I'm sure a lot of developers reading this would like to live in your universe.

Re:Unoriginal, unanticipated, uninspired (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414609)

Of course, games companies don't start work on their next project before the current one hits retail. And they can have a two month vacation just for shipping. I'm sure a lot of developers reading this would like to live in your universe.

Keep in mind that I was referring to primadonna Bungie, the darling of Microsoft's game studios. If they don't want to start working on Halo 3 until Halo 2 is out the door, I'm sure they won't. If they want to take 2 months of vacation time after a 3 year ship cycle, I'm sure they will. It definitely helps to have blockbuster games and a wealthy parent. They're certainly no EA, pumping out the same game every 9 months, or an indie developer working nights and weekends.

That said, even if they did immediately start in on Halo 3 after Halo 2, we're still only talking about a year (maybe a little more, assuming they rolled onto H3 before H2 shipped). Given their past track record of Halo games, there's no way H3 will take only a year. And that's assuming that there even will be an H3. Yes, H2 had a cliffhanger, and everybody wants H3, and they'd be fools not to do it, but so far Bungie has said that they're not doing another Halo game (whether true or not, that's what they said around the H2 ship) yet. While they've said they are currently working on another game, they've not said that it's H3. If we see something at E3 this year, the game is probably still at least a year away. If there's nothing at E3, expect even longer than that. As much as I'd love H3 now, or to compete with the PS3 when it launches, I'd rather wait it out and let Bungie do an awesome job. Maybe they'll actually finish the story this time ...

Better Advertising (5, Funny)

The-Bavis (855107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410348)

They should have used better Japanese advertising, such as: "XBOX 360 - Beautiful Happy Exuberance Maker!!"

Re:Better Advertising (1)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410979)

It could be worse yet: "XBox 360: Jump in the seaman ship"

Nintendo isn't mad (1, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410390)

Perhaps now people can see why Nintendo isn't (completely) mad, when it comes to the Revolution. They don't need the best graphics or a million button control pad, they just need something that has interesting and easy to access games.

American, and to a large degree European gamers seem to be interested in graphics, action and above all easy games. Most western games now are little more than interactive movies, very easy to complete (except on the hardest mode which is often impossible, 100x harder than normal). You just play through the story line and set pieces.

Re:Nintendo isn't mad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14411107)

"Most western games now are little more than interactive movies, very easy to complete (except on the hardest mode which is often impossible, 100x harder than normal). You just play through the story line and set pieces."

Uh.... how is that different from Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy or many other Japanese game series? In fact Japanese games tend to be "interactive movies" much moreso than American games.

Re:Nintendo isn't mad (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412256)

Yea, he just more or less defined the Japanese 'RPG'...

Coming soon to Japanes game retailers... (3, Funny)

astroblaster (600838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410394)

Teriyaki and Fried Shrimp face plates for XBOX 360. Thanks for making me hungry with your analogy, jackass.

McSheets? McBeads? (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410414)

FTS/A: "[McDonalds sells] other things for the Japanese pallet"

The Japanese pallet? Stuff for Japanese straw beds? Huh. I knew the Japanese have some strange boudoir practices (to my sensibilities, anyway), but McD's?

Oh, wait... palate misspelled... I see.

Changing taste... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410452)

Ironically, it took McDonald's years to allow U.S. customers to order "whatever they want however they want" instead of pulling an already made item that's been sitting under the heat lamp for hours. Nothing ruins my cheeseburgers than finding a pickle in the middle.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410722)

Ironically, it took McDonald's years to allow U.S. customers to order "whatever they want however they want" instead of pulling an already made item that's been sitting under the heat lamp for hours.

Having just read your resume, I can tell you that you haven't been alive long enough to have seen a time when McDonalds let anything sit around for more than 15 minutes (I'm assuming you're approximately 30 judging from the dates on there), and they have always been willing to make you a fresh one with any customizations you asked for... Turns out the only thing ironic here is your post.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411089)

I'm 36 if that means anything. I've gotten into arguments with cashiers about removing the ding-dong-dang pickle from the cheeseburger when I was a teenager in 1980s. I've known friends who worked at McDonald who had managers who want the product -- no matter how long it's been sitting under lamp -- given to the customer instead of the trash can. McDonald's only a few years ago implemented a more stringent quality control and shutting down resturants that have poor quality. Obviously, you're not a McDonald's shareholder who would be familiar with these problems. :P

Re:Changing taste... (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411488)

Obviously, you're not a McDonald's shareholder who would be familiar with these problems.

No, but I have been a McDonald's assistant manager signifigantly longer than a few years ago. What every your friend's managers were doing wasn't something McDonald's was doing, or needed to "figure out". For decades, the policy was after 20 minutes it gets marked on the 'waste' form and thrown out. Recently even 20 minutes was too long.

As sombody who ate plane McDonald's cheeseburgers as a small child, and catered to customers who ordered "Cheese Delights" (a "secret" McDonalds menu item which is a bun with cheese only stuck in the BigMac bun toaster for 30 seconds) even when they technically weren't on the menu, I'm seriously surprised at your pickle problem. Forgetful line cooks, I can see, but cashiers that refuse to do it is at best uncommon, and something they should and could easily be fired for. There's even a button on the cash register for it... Even the old school registers with the printed on buttons.

Re:Changing taste... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14411588)

We had a cashier try to fix a misorder (can you make that one drink instead of 2?) and come out with a straight face trying to charge us MORE for less.

As much as I bitched and moaned at my Dad, he absolutely did not want to correct the cashier a second time.

So we paid for 4 drinks, and got 2. Sigh.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412043)

As much as I bitched and moaned at my Dad, he absolutely did not want to correct the cashier a second time.

Wow.

If you're too lazy to bitch to the manager, the least you could have done is walked out. Bitching to the manager would probably have yielded a free lunch though.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412289)

I'm seriously surprised at your pickle problem.

Both you guys seem to be overlooking the fact that McD's is a franchise system, with differing mangement styles being in force in different regions of the country, regardless of the nationwide "guidelines."

For the record, I'm 33, and I remember a time when many McD's in both Ohio and South Carolina had "build to order" and "freshness" issues. It wasn't until I was in grad school and then in Chicago that I frequented McD's that regularly allowed Burger King-like "have it your way" style kitchen layouts. The central company actually had to redesign the kitchen workflows to facilitate custom sandwich building; beforehand, it could take as long as 10-15 for a special order to be processed. This kitchen refurb may have helped delay the current ordering system in parts of the country as more stingy or backwater frachisees retooled later.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14413540)

All franchise operations have the problem of enforcing their rules and procedures. I used to hear stories about Ray Kroc putting the fear of God into McDonalds franchise operators when he used to randomly drop in at McDonalds restaurants across the country. You could lose your franchise if you pissed him off. McDonalds employees were always supposed to throw out food that had sat out for more than X minutes, but implementation of that rule was very inconsistent.

One big variable is the local labor market. I've noticed major differences in quality in between areas where jobs are hard to get, even minimum wage jobs, and areas where anyone with a pulse can get a job.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14413719)

Considering how long the drooling, brain-dead McDonalds workers take to give you something already cooked, I dread to think how long it'd take them to do something from scratch.

Not that it would make a difference. Fresh cooked plastic doesn't taste any different to 15-minute old plastic.

Re:Changing taste... (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414327)

> Nothing ruins my cheeseburgers than finding a pickle in the middle.

The pickle has an important purpose.

You are meant to fling it and get it to stick to the highest point of a window within the mcdonalds (this is usually a window above the bottom of the stairs that is in the upsatirs of the place (if you see what i mean)), they often stay there for months because they never clean the place.

Way to rant! (5, Insightful)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410468)

He spends most of his time on this topic just ranting about "wahhh wahhh wahhh racism racism look here the japanese buy lots of american stuff" and only a little time on the real reasons why the Xbox failed in Japan and why the 360 is gonna fail along with it.

And all that without even going on about the badly chosen name. To someone in Japan, "X" means failure, and is pronounced "batsu", which is a penalty you have to take after a failure. And the kanji for bad luck (kyou) is an "X" in a box. Yeah, let's slap a 360 on it, to make it sound like "failure comes around again". And release it with weak software support so that it really is the "penalty box".

Hell, if no other reason, they should have delayed the Japanese release to make sure there weren't any hardware problems, like, say, overheating? Hardware problems with the initial run of Xbox systems, and Microsoft's failure to respond properly, was one reason the main reasons behind the Xbox failure.

Re:Way to rant! (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412386)

And all that without even going on about the badly chosen name. To someone in Japan, "X" means failure, and is pronounced "batsu", which is a penalty you have to take after a failure. And the kanji for bad luck (kyou) is an "X" in a box. Yeah, let's slap a 360 on it, to make it sound like "failure comes around again". And release it with weak software support so that it really is the "penalty box".

I didn't know that. I learned something new today! That one comment was worth reading the whole thread for. I don't have any thing for or against MS and the XBox line. I went with a PS2 because I had purchased an N64 before and was burned on the RPG front. N64 had like 2-3 good RPGs through its entire life. I watched PS1 get all those FF games. I bought the PS2 mainly to play all those older PS1 FF games. I picked up all the older FF games really cheap as well. I'm thinking about picking up a Revolution if it is backwards compatiable with the GameCube. (I'm not made out of money, and I'd like to get the most band for my buck.) I'm not into FPS, or racing games or sports games. I've got 2 elementary age kids so Nintendo will almost have to be my next 2 console purchases. My kids have been having alot of fun playing Zelda for N64 so I may hold off on getting anything newer though and just stick with PC stuff for myself.

Re:Way to rant! (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14413482)

So, Japanese gamers are rejecting the Xbox because of its name? I guess people really can be shallow.

Re:Way to rant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14414504)

You have to remember that these are the same people that believe that you can tell a person's personality from their blood type. Asians in general are much more superstitious than Westerners.

Excellent points. (2, Interesting)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410510)

That's very interesting. Where did Microsoft's Tokyo / Kobe / wherever-in-Japan office for the 360 go? Entire industries are built off picking up exactly these sorts of cross-cultural reactions. (A professor my wife knows makes $120k+ by interpreting what English and German engineers say, and what they actually mean). Microsoft couldn't afford research into the Japanese market? I highly doubt that. Likewise, they probably didn't intend to botch the launch this badly, so... someone messed up.

This also isn't a strictly-Japanese thing. In the early 2000's (from the Super NES onwards), there was this perceived slight in the U.S. over Nintendo, before Sony and Microsoft took over the game console market. Nintendo of America was, functionally, a branch office of Nintendo of Japan (where the translators worked). Sony and Microsoft read more correctly what American gamers wanted — and Sony is a Japanese company. I believe NOA has more input into the process now. Not that this stopped them; NOA still successfully brought over Mario Party, Pokémon, and Harvest Moon --> Animal Crossing.

It's interesting to note that "The Last Samurai" wasn't received well in theatres on this side of the pond. It did well because it had Tom Cruise in it, before he went psycho.

Kudos on the "Japans can be racist too" comment. Japanese have a low level of memory and anger about Hiroshima. There's magnitudes more anger at Chinese. See this article [csmonitor.com] for more insight.

son of a junk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410561)

I submitted this back when it was posted and got rejected. Grr. Grr, I tells ya! Now my heart is filled with a bitterness that only trash talkin' Zonk can cure.

Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares????? (-1, Troll)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410567)

"Had they launched with RPGs, simulation games, party games, gambling games and fighters, they might have done a whole lot better."

Actually, had they released the SAME EXACT SYSTEM WITH SAME LAUNCH TITLES, but it happened to come from Nintendo or Sony, they would have done a whole lot better.

Let's not forget that the Japanese have a strong anti-American bias when it comes to this industry. They fall all over anything and everything Nintendo/Sony, and automatically hate anything Microsoft.

At least many Americans realize that the Japanese tend to make better cars than Americans. You would think the Japanese would give us the same open mind towards video games.

The FACT that XBOX 360 with the SAME launch titles would have done much better if it simply had a Nintendo or Sony stamp on it PROVES that the Japanese are closed-minded when it comes to the video game market.

Re:Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares?? (2, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410729)

Right. That explains why the Japanese hate the iPod and are buying Sony Walkmen.. wait, they don't hate the iPod.

Or why they hate McDonalds... wait, they don't hate McDonalds.

Or why they hate the US... no wait, they don't hate the US.

Call it for what it is, Microsoft mis-stepped. They didn't have any compelling games for the Japanese market. Japanese games like Katmari Damacy, DDR, Lumines, DOA, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, etc.

You've proved nothing because Nintendo or Sony DIDN'T release a console with the same launch titles and do better. When the DS was launched, there was the Mario games, there was the quirking date-sim games, there was the Meteos puzzle game, etc. When the PSP was launched there was the Metal Gear Acid rpg game, there was the Lumines puzzle game, etc. Where are the puzzle games for XBox 360? Where are the dating sim games for the XBox 360? Where are the RPGs for the XBox 360?

Re:Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14411905)

"Where are the puzzle games for XBox 360?"

I thought they were on Live Arcade?
Mind you, after Meteos, I just don't want to play a puzzle game without a stylus.

Re:Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares?? (1)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14413636)

"You've proved nothing because Nintendo or Sony DIDN'T release a console with the same launch titles and do better. "

So you honestly think that if it was Nintendo XBOX 360 with the same launch titles that it would NOT be a glowing success??

Your other examples are not about the video game market. I was only referring to the video game market and how the Japanese automatically hate anything in the video game world that isn't Japanese. Do you have any evidence of an American based puzzle/RPG that does well in Japan, regardless of platform?

Does the Sims, the best selling game of all time for the PC, do well in Japan, or do they prefer some Japanese knock-off SIMPLY because it's Japanese.

You really need to open your eyes to this. The Japanese are notorious for automatically hating American games and consoles.

Re:Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares?? (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414412)

I can give you examples of anime and video games that do poorly in Japan but do well here... due to differences in culture.

Metal Gear Solid was not so hot in Japan, such that Metal Gear Solid 2 was released in the US FIRST. Likewise the anime Escaflowne did poorly in Japan but well here in the US.

The Japanese may be racist, but so are Americans, what with their preferences for Detroit steel and stuff. Whatever. Everyone is subtly, grossly, or contextually racist, but that's not enough to kill a product. If the XBox 360 had compelling games, then it will succeed DESPITE Japanese racism.

I actually don't think that an Nintendo XBox 360 launched with Project: Gotham Racer, Need For Speed, Call of Duty, Kameo, Criminal Intent, or Gun would do well. Nintendo would, I think, launch with at least Mario/Link/Samus product, probably a Pokemon title, three puzzle titles, a voice activated dating sim, some kind of wacky Para Para game, and probably a fly fishing game, and that would be a big hit.

Keep track of this, in a year. We'll see what Nintendo launches with, because this is what kind of games they launched the DS with.

Re:Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares?? (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410730)

RPGs, party games, etc, sell well in Japan. Sports games do not. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any big sports games from Japan. But out of America, you have annual releases of EA everything: FIFA, NCAA, NFL, etc. Contrast that to American and Japanese RPGs, for example. From the US you have the Elder Scrolls series (which is the only reason I have right now to buy a 360, and I'm beginning to question whether it's enough,) and the Bioware games (ie Baldur's Gate and Star Wars KOTOR, which I think are too repetitive and suck.) The list from Japan are endless, and begin with MANY from SquareEnix than you can find from the US put together, (ie. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, Star Ocean, etc.) That's evidence that Microsoft isn't catering to Japanese tastes, but rather expecting Japan to buy imported American tastes. Now, onto your statements. The FACT that XBOX 360 with the SAME launch titles would have done much better if it simply had a Nintendo or Sony stamp on it PROVES that the Japanese are closed-minded when it comes to the video game market. How is that a fact? And if it isn't actually a fact, then doesn't that mean it doesn't prove anything? Maybe there is a strong anti-American bias, or a strong pro-domestic bias, but you haven't provided any evidence to support it.

Re:Japanese video games are BIASED, so who cares?? (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410886)

Sorry. I forgot my HTML.

RPGs, party games, etc, sell well in Japan. Sports games do not. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any big sports games from Japan. But out of America, you have annual releases of EA everything: FIFA, NCAA, NFL, etc. Contrast that to American and Japanese RPGs, for example. From the US you have the Elder Scrolls series (which is the only reason I have right now to buy a 360, and I'm beginning to question whether it's enough,) and the Bioware games (ie Baldur's Gate and Star Wars KOTOR, which I think are too repetitive and suck.) The list from Japan are endless, and begin with MANY from SquareEnix than you can find from the US put together, (ie. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, Star Ocean, etc.) That's evidence that Microsoft isn't catering to Japanese tastes, but rather expecting Japan to buy imported American tastes. Now, onto your statements.

The FACT that XBOX 360 with the SAME launch titles would have done much better if it simply had a Nintendo or Sony stamp on it PROVES that the Japanese are closed-minded when it comes to the video game market.

How is that a fact? And if it isn't actually a fact, then doesn't that mean it doesn't prove anything?

Maybe there is a strong anti-American bias, or a strong pro-domestic bias, but you haven't provided any evidence to support it.

Selling abroad is difficult (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410571)

We all know the urban legends of the car that had a funny name in country X. However just because those are myths does not mean it doesn't have a basis of truth. Simple things like having butter in a gold wrapping does not appeal the same everywhere.

There must be some reason why koreans love Starcraft while the west liked and moved on.

The article does however make a couple of mistakes. It somehow credits McDonalds and Apple with getting it right. Sorry but McD learned the hardway and Apples success with the iPod is just lucky that western tastes and japanese tastes happen to match up in this instance. If Apple really had a clue they would have insisted on all their content deals for iTunes to be international. Selling song X to a world audience must generate larger sales then just to a fraction considering there is no extra cost.

One thing however that most people forget is how that the japanese in general SUCK at english. Yeah yeah and americans suck at japanese BUT the americans have the advantage of their main language being THE international language. Americans can afford to be lazy.

I am currently watching far to much japanse idol tv (Morning Musume) and while teenage girls are never a good indication of a country's education it becomes pretty clear that there english skill are very poor if compared to the english skill of mainland europeans. If you don't believe me use google. http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=ayaka/ [google.com] should give you a bunch of short clips showing a member of the group who was born and raised in hawaii giving english lessons to the japanese members.

Considering they are around the age of 16 on average it is nothing their english teacher should be proud of.

Learning a new language, especially one that has no common root, is hard. The hardest part is getting the basics, if you do not understand a simple sentence you do not use the language so you never get experience so you never learn to understand a simple sentence so you do not use it. ETC ETC. Japan probably isn't like holland were people of my generation had a choice, you watch american tv shows or you go play outside. If you didn't like the american show on then that was though, we had 1 tv station.

I think the problem is two-fold, MS being a bit of the typical arrogant american, and the japanese being just a little to snobbish to learn the international language of the world. Oh well at least this might mean Europe becomes a less neglected market.

Oh and if anyone wishes to point out that chinese is spoken by more people then english, I didn't say that. I said english is the international language. More people speak english as their 2nd or 3rd language then any other language. It is the language two people with different mother languages are most likely to have in common. Yes even the french. They all speak perfect english, they just enjoy being rude to americans. Who doesn't.

Re:Selling abroad is difficult (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410812)

becomes pretty clear that there english skill are very poor

Indeed. ;-)

Re:Selling abroad is difficult (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14415131)

You're actually incorrect about that. Japanese people of recent generations, depending on what region of the country they were born in, are actually fairly fluent in English. There English is pretty bad to a native speaker, but it's more than enough for them to comprehend the text in games, movies, books and music with much more ease than your average American can comprehend the same things in Spanish. The Japanese know that English is the language of the business world, and business is very important in Japan. English classes are very prevalent in all schools in the major cities there.

Japan and the Xbox360 (3, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410634)

I generally agree with the article. I, myself, am disappointed by the crap available for the Xbox360, which really reflects the American gaming market in general. On the otherhand, it's not like Japan is the pinnacle of gaming variety. They've got their own generic crap, it just so happens that what is overdone there is in a different genre than what we have here. We normally get the best the Japanese market has to offer.

As for the failure of the Xbox360 in Japan, I agree that it's due to Microsoft's complete lack of understanding of that market. I really don't understand how they didn't see this coming. That said, if the Xbox360 and PS3 were released on the same day, with identical line-ups and at the same price the Xbox360 still would sell badly. Unlike Americans who generally would choose the foreign product, Japanese would overwhelmingly gravitate towards the Japanese product.

I wouldn't say it's xenophobic, necessarily. That's just how they are. They still have nationalistic pride I suppose, something Americans are sorely lacking. The foreign products that do well are generally fashionable or luxury items. European luxury cars are always popular, as are european fashions in general. Hip hop culture has certainly had a big impact, although it's been diluted and changed in a way that renders it unrecognizable.

Apple products have been successful for a few reasons. First of all, Macs have always been popular because of their ease of us. Japanese consumers are generally not inclined to deal with anything complicated. This is different from elsewhere in Asia, like Taiwan and Korea where PCs dominate the market. In those nations they want something that does it all that they can tinker with. It's why consoles are still so important in Japan and virtually no existant elsewhere in Asia.

iPods have the advantage of being easy to use and very fashionable. And given how much disposable income Japanese have, buying an iPod is nothing to them. That, however, doesn't stop Japanese companies from trying to make an iPod rival, or a rival for anything foreign. And they often try to prove that their products are superior, whether they are or not.

Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It just shows that they've got pride in what they do. Not just the manager, or the engineer, but the guy working on the factory floor, when it isn't a robot doing the job also cares about his job. It isn't like the US, and most western nations where workers are out for themselves and could care less what happens to the company.

And it's not Japanese corporations that foster this attitude, it's the culture itself, because managment generally treat their workers like crap. They do so in ways that would be considered illegal in the US. Japanese managers are known to be abusive with employees. It doesn't happen everywhere, but it's common enough.

Japanese generally don't treat foreigners well. They avoid sitting next to foreigners on trains, I think mainly to avoid being stuck in some potential uncomfortable situation. For a society who's young people have been drawn to hip hop they still manage to gawk at black guys. I've had numerous friends who've been rejected apartments for no reason other than being a foreigner, and the landlord was very direct about the reason. It's common to walk into a store and have the employees stare at you. Some Japanese just think foreigners buy weird stuff and are compelled to follow them around the store. They also like making sweeping generalizations about foreigners, usually based on what they see in movies.

Then there are all the laws that generally give foreigners a hard time. And unlike the US where the government is excessively easy, even on illegal immigrants, in Japan even a minor infraction can be enough to get a foreigner deported.

It's true, you encounter this sort of thing all over the world. But the reality is that Japan is especially bad. In Taiwan, by contrast, they're far more comfortable with foreigners, being very open towards them. It may just all boil down to what my friend said that in Japan the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. Foreigners certainly stick out. And it doesn't help that US soldiers on bases there have been known for some questionable antics, that sure doesn't help.

Despite all this, Micrsoft really blew it. They brought this on themselves. They have no one to blame but their own arrogance and ignorance. The fact that they didn't rename the xbox for the Japanese market just shows how little they understand. Even in the US the use of the letter "x" has become quite lame, in my opinion.

Re:Japan and the Xbox360 (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414712)

I wouldn't say it's xenophobic, necessarily. That's just how they are. They still have nationalistic pride I suppose, something Americans are sorely lacking.

Uhhh... Have you ever been to America? Or even heard of it? Most non-Americans consider Americans overy jingoistic.

The Japanese, and Europeans, are xenophobic. In Old World nations, you can be born there, live your entire life, die there, and yet always be considered an outsider. It's really sad. Where as New World nations were built on immigration. Don't get me wrong, there's always a "the previous batch of immigrants was okay, but THESE immigrants are different." In America, it was Irish, then the Germans, then the eastern europeans, then the asians, and now its hispanics. Eventually the new immigrants are assimilated and in a twist of irony, they end up talking about the threat of the other.

Back in 1999 or 2000, NPR ran a story about an international conference on world population. They pointed out that an unforseen development at the conference. The discussions turned to the fact that Europe and Japan have extensive and expensive social programs, yet have a shrinking population. This situation could lead to a economic meltdown -- similar to the US's potential Social Security crisis, only 10 times worse. The New World nations like the US, Canada, Australia and the like suggested increasing the population by encouraging immigration, and they were promptly shouted down. France is for the French! And French aren't muslim!" "Swiss aren't black!" "They can work the Netherlands, but they'll never be Dutch!" The New World nations provided their own histories as convincing counter evidence, but to no avail.

Not saying much (2, Interesting)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410724)

If all you need to do to appeal to the Japanese consumer is throw some teriyaki on it and fry some shrimp. I think McDonald's is a little patronizing or stereotypical to offer those choices on the menu.

But true, Microsoft has failed again to wow the Japanese market which continues the entire lackluster roll out of the Xbox360. They aren't wowing North American audiences with their overheating and locking up problems either.

The question is, why is this Microsoft's fault? Where are the Japanese game developers and why aren't they developing more Japan specific titles? Microsoft is releasing the hardware, they have offered an Xbox360 development kit for over a year now, so why can't the dedicated game houses in Japan pick up the ball and start making the Xbox360 an attractive game console for their own markets? Do they have to wait for Microsoft to ask them to make a game?

Anyways, I think Xbox360 failures is just because MS rushed it out the door. Both Quality Control and title support were lacking in all markets, MS could have waited for a few more months for more RPG's to hit the market and they really should have beta tested the platform better. But I mean, MS isn't the only software vendor for the Xbox platform, so the lack of interest in Japan isn't entirely all their fault.

Re:Not saying much (2, Insightful)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410876)

Are you seriously blaming the japanese game developers for the XBOX360 sucking?

That's insane.

Of course there are no games from Japanese developers when they know there is going to be no demand for the system. There is more money to be had from developing games for the gamecube and ps2.

Now it is true that the lack of developed games for the Japanese market is a large part of the xbox failure, but this is entirely Microsoft's fault. Either subsidising or completely funding some Japanese games may have created a market for the XBOX360, but "Generic FPS 3:The Return of the Main Character, Again" with upscaled graphics certainly isn't an intelligent launch plan for a gaming culture like Japan's.

Re:Not saying much (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411130)

..."Generic FPS 3:The Return of the Main Character, Again" with upscaled graphics certainly isn't an intelligent launch plan for a gaming culture like Japan's.

Certainly not. "Generic RPG 20:The Return of Guy Who Looks Like a Girl" is far more compelling in Japan's gaming culture.

Re:Not saying much (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411146)

Actually, what you're looking for is 'rehashed stealth action game with convoluted plot 4: now with slightly different ways of hiding in shadows! Nukes are very bad!'

Re:Not saying much (1)

darkhadden (941003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411224)

"We have Nada:3!" Dig it!

Microsoft has the last laugh (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410898)

They knew they didn't have a shot at competing with Nintendo/Sony in Japan, so they didn't try.

Only a few games are actually in Japanese, there was absolutely 0 marketing, and very few consoles shipped over there. The Xbox trying to conquer Japan is like Hitler invading Russia. Just 'aint gonna happen and Billy boy knew it.

Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold. PS2 sold 200,000 in the first 3 months as a comparison.

Re:Microsoft has the last laugh (2, Informative)

dtfarmer (548183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412495)

Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold. PS2 sold 200,000 in the first 3 months as a comparison.

Please, stop making up statistics - it sounds like you're even starting to believe them and that will really fuck up your perception of reality. The PS2 sold nearly 1.5 million units combined [wikipedia.org] between the Japanese launch weekend (980k) and the first 24 hours of sales in the US (510k). I have no idea which launch you were referring to when you said 200k in 3 months, but as you can see you are wrong either way - and I would imagine the European launch numbers for the PS2 exceeded your stat handily as well, but can't find a good source for that info.

Re:Microsoft has the last laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14413857)

Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold. PS2 sold 200,000 in the first 3 months as a comparison.

Complete BS, as has been already pointed out.

Microsoft has the last laugh

This idiot is a known Microsoft astroturfer. He makes up this sort of crap all the time -- check his post history for examples.

Re:Microsoft has the last laugh (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414337)

Meanwhile you still can't find a 360 in America after over a million have been sold.

Come to the local Bestbuy (#431). They've got 30 sitting in stock for over a week now.

Apparently the rush is over in this neck of the woods.

Teriyaki burger (2, Insightful)

clambake (37702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411187)

That was is SO ironic considering teriyaki is something that Japanese resturants, almost exclusively, do not serve. It exists, it's a real Japanese word, but you won't find Teriyaki ANYTHING *except* at McDonalds.

Um, go to any movie theater in Japan (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411394)

and tell me that there is a lot of "Japanese nationalism" there. If you find ONE Japanese movie that is almost considered odd. American films through and through.
It could just be that the XBOX doesn't appeal to Japanese tastes. End of story.

Homophones (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411546)

Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. [google.com]

I didn't know there was anything that made Japanese pallets any different from American ones. Maybe you meant palate? [google.com]

There's a simpler explanation. (1)

dstone (191334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411564)

I don't think you can conclude much from the McDonalds example.

From the article: Along with the standard Big Macs and fries they also have Teriyaki burgers, fried shrimp burgers, and other things for the Japanese pallet. They didn't force the American tastes on the Japanese and thus, they thrived.

Well I'm happy for McDonalds, but take another example: Starbucks. It does very well in Japan (every location I've seen in Tokyo is equally busy as locations in the U.S. and Canada). And Starbucks did not alter its menu. There are no Japanese beverages, no Japanese dessert squares or mochi balls, no decent quality Japanese loose-leaf teas -- only the same stuff that's served in North America. Everything down to the model of tables, chairs, wall murals, signage, shelving are identical.

So the simpler and more intuitive explanation I offer is that McDonalds didn't change to become any less American or any more Japanese: McDonalds had to change to just suck less in general. (I'm sure their Japanese fare would be well received in North America also.)

Extending this reasoning to Microsoft's experience in Japan is left as an exercise to the reader.

Re:There's a simpler explanation. (2, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411935)

Starbucks. It does very well in Japan (every location I've seen in Tokyo is equally busy as locations in the U.S. and Canada). And Starbucks did not alter its menu.

Starbucks Japan doesn't have a dramatically different menu than SB USA, but they've clearly changed it over time to better suit Japanese tastes. This is especially true of food; e.g. sandwiches 5 years ago were more "US style" and they have slowly become um, more "Japanese style" (i.e., they now suck; Japanese are not good at sandwiches), and the biscotti were changed from SB's half-way decent biscotti to some sort of bizarre biscotti-shaped butter cookie.

[and of course there's the size issue: SB Japan actually offers small drinks that are somewhat small; ordering a small in the US gets you puzzled looks and the smallest available size is roughly the size of a 55-gallon drum.]

This isn't surprising of course, if something doesn't sell well you'd be nuts to keep selling it unchanged...

Author missed something important (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14411927)

While it's true that the XBox 360 launch in Japan has been dismal, the idea that Microsoft isn't trying to cater to Japanese tastes is totally false. In fact, MS has been trying to do just that ever since the original XBox came out, and they're finally beginning to succeed. The 360 is going to finally get some exclusive Eastern RPGs from a noted developer. There's going to be a port of Final Fantasy XI. They have significantly better Japanese third-party support in general than they did before.

Now, is the XBox 360 going to be a huge success in Japan once these games come out? Probably not. But the weakness of the launch lineup has nothing to do with ignoring Japanese trends and everything to do with simply not getting the slated Japanese games published in time.

Rob

Re:Author missed something important (1)

CrocketAndTubbs (855888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414915)

Not to mention DOA4 which was delayed but just released. Also delayed was ninety nine nights, Enchant arm and Frame City Killers.

Author missed important point (0, Redundant)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412051)

While it's true that the XBox 360 launch has been dismal in Japan, the idea that Microsoft has not been trying to cater to Japanese tastes is totally false. In fact, MS has been trying to do just that ever since the original XBox came out, and they're finally beginning to succeed. There are finally going to be exclusive Eastern RPGs from a noted developer. There's a port of Final Fantasy XI coming out. There is significantly greater Japanese third-party support in general than there was before.

Now will the XBox 360 be a huge success in Japan when these games come out? Probably not. But what's going on right now has nothing to do with not following Japanese trends and everything to do with these games not being published in time for launch.

Rob

Re:Author missed important point (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412404)

/. is responsible for this double post, in case anyone cares.

Rob

Microsoft... (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412149)

Microsoft kept asking 'Where do you want to go today?'

Apparently they never bothered listening.

Wait for the Games... (1)

Benedick (737361) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412714)

The article is correct that it's all about the games. But it's not like Microsoft isn't trying. Please remember that MS has many new agreements with Japanese development houses. Those games aren't out yet. It's not Microsoft's fault they aren't out yet. Don't attribute to malice or neglect what is simply bad luck or poor planning.

Microsoft rushed the 360 out the door. Many of the games, as most of us know, were still undergoing certification as they were being manufactured. And that's from MS and other American publishers. The Japanese publishers have a longer learning curve and are taking longer to get their product out the door. But DOA4 has been released and others are coming quickly.

I'm not an MS fanboy. I own neither an XBox nor a 360. I think MS just over-reached. They should have kept the launch in US and Europe and waited on Japan until they had more appealing Japanese games. That would have given them better numbers and more positive press. Now, will the 360 ever dominate the the Japanese market or compete on an even foting with PS3 over there? I don't think so. But I do think it will do much better than the original XBox. (Can't do much worse...)

Remember the MS rule of three. First version stinks. Second version competes. Third verion dominates. Sony is tough competition and know the Japanese market much better than MS and it's no foregone conclusion who will win. But don't count the 360 out just yet in Japan.

GM vs Toyota (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14412750)

Unfortunately this echos the GM vs Toyota war a bit too much. I'm neither Japanese nor American, but I acknowledge that the Toyota and the Playstation are both superior products. They both have a very strong foothold in N. America mainly for their quality. Meanwhile GM cars and the Xbox are being force-fed to Japan for Americans to feel the 'me too' factor. Microsoft being the 'me too' guy in case of Xbox.

Maybe we shouldnt check the products being sold in America or Japan, but rather watch a third country pick up these products.

Famitsu and the Xbox (1)

jdubois79 (227349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14414549)

Ok, granted, I haven't read the article, so take this for what it's worth.

I was reading weekly famitsu (largest gaming magazing in Japan) the other week, and they had a new years special about the next gen, and what people were looking for. From their website poll, the thing that ranked second on everyone's minds was the Xbox 360. People are interested in this console. Then why the lukewarm reception?

In the reader comments sections, some of the issues were
* Didn't give a crap about HD
* No good games at startup (but wants to wait and see)
* The commericals don't show screenshots. They have no idea what the next gen games look like.

However, everyone expressed hope that the Xbox would get some good games out. People are not looking to hate this console because it has an X on it, or because it's made by america, or some other sort of nationalism. They just don't have a compelling reason to buy one. As for it not selling out, I tons of DSs and PSPs on the shelves two days after launch -- it may just be my experience, but I don't notice wide-spread shortages of new products like in America.

I still wonder at all these people shouting racism about the Japanese culture. I think there are few countries in the world that are more forgiving to foreigns (at least western foreigners). I wonder if these people are coming from an informed (live in Japan & can speak Japanese) perspective, or something that they heard from people who went to Japan 30 years ago.

Microsoft needs to buy some japanese game makers (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14415139)

Microsoft needs to buy some companies who are making and selling the kind of games that are popular in japan.
Most of those companies are either loyal to Sony or are platform neutral. If microsoft could buy up some japanese developers and make their games 360 exclusive, japanese gamers (especially fans of whatever games/companies are now 360 exclusive) would start buying.
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