75: The Little Red Yen

"After years of dominance by Japanese manufacturers, the arrival of Microsoft as a serious force in the games market has seen fanboy-ism take on a worrying new face - that of flag-waving, fist-pumping nationalism, an us-and-them mentality that is surely the exact opposite of what the international language of videogames should be inspiring.

"For American gamers who had happily bought Japanese consoles, the failure of the Xbox brand in Japan was a slap in the face. Is there really a racist element to the Xbox's lack of success? Or is it all down to software, and if it is, what is wrong with what the Xbox offers? Just what do the Japanese buy, and why?"

Gearoid Reidy chases the ghost of nationalism in Microsoft's quest for the "The Little, Red Yen."

The Little Red Yen

It looks like the 360 has a chance to get some sales this time around, with Blue Dragon. Although it's just hit the streets in Japan, people are already saying that MS is still underperforming in Japan. Getting huge sales RIGHT NOW isn't a realistic strategy or expection, but now that MS has tasted hither-to unknown success in Japan, someone needs to wake up and continue courting big name Japanese developers to take a chance on their hardware. Get Japanese developers to produce products for the Japanese market (which even to me, who is not a marketing ninja, is such a painfully obvious move), and not only will they move in Japan, but they'll also sell well in the US.

I really liked this piece. I think it made some really great points, while putting to rest an opinion that was unfounded (admittedly I held xenophobia to be the culprit the Microsoft's trouble as well).

One thing that I noticed was that after I read 'The Little Red Yen' I reviewed my own opinions of Microsoft's entry into the console arena. I never bought an Xbox, nor have I ever been interested in buying one. The 360 seemed like more of the same, and so again I could have cared less. After Microsoft announced Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey I found myself suddenly more interested. I realized that I never had a problem with the system (except of course the original launch controller, which was a disgusting display of clueless designers). The simple truth is that hardware capabilities and DVD playback were not enough. I love RPGs. Simply put: I never cared about the Xbox because it lacked games that interested me.

Halo was a huge deal. Halo 2 was, apparently, a capable update. However, to me, the console FPS is like running a race with a broken leg and crutches: NOTHING beats a mouse and keyboard when it comes to FPS game-play. I'd rather play the entirely outdated original build of C-S on my computer than play any FPS on a console. Fantastically popular, and equally solid, games of a genre I'm not interested in don't do anything for me.

Now that the 360 will be more than just a machine to shoot things on (I know I'm over simplifying) I will consider getting one. I WILL get one if they continue to put out solid RPG games, AND if they bring them to the western audiences as well. After reading this article I see the Microsoft platform growing into a very versatile game machine.


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