Microsoft's decision to bring Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi into the fold seems to be paying off as sales of the Xbox 360, which has traditionally failed in the Japanese market, have suddenly spiked there.
A 10,000 pre-order bundle of the console packed with Mistwalker's Blue Dragon, the first game for the console developed by Sakaguchi's new company, sold out quickly with a further 90,000 units selling rapidly, according to Next Generation. The bundle pack comes with several games, including Blue Dragon, as well as the core system for a reduced price of 29,800 yen (roughly $250).
Microsoft's strategy of reducing prices in Japan to drive sales follows a similar pattern by Sony which has announced a reduction of the price of its basic Playstation 3 system in that country.
The Xbox 360, much like its predecessor, has not, to this point, been successful breaking into the Japanese market, though Microsoft has been stubborn in its efforts to attend to that country's video gamers. The pedigree of Hironobu Sakaguchi, plus the buzz surrounding Blue Dragon, seems to have given Microsoft a foot in the door, and at an auspicious moment. Putting the 360 on the map in Japan makes the launch of Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PS3 that much more critical for those companies, though it remains to be seen whether the Xbox 360 can make any kind of long-term dent.