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Microsoft Makes Inroads In Japan

| 9 Oct 2008 18:26
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The Xbox 360 is finally making some headway in Japan, and Microsoft may actually be facing a shortage of consoles in the country as a result.

Microsoft has traditionally been the weakest of the three console manufacturers in Japan, the home country of rivals Sony and Nintendo, but following price cuts to the Xbox 360 in September, Japanese sales levels were driven past the PlayStation 3 for the first time ever. The jump may have caught even Microsoft by surprise, as corporate vice president John Schappert said in an interview with Reuters that the company could be facing a supply crunch.

"We've done better than we forecast. We are finding that we have a shortage of hardware," he said, adding that Microsoft was revising its forecast upward, although he declined to give specific numbers. Last month, Microsoft sold 53,547 Xbox 360 consoles, according to figures compiled by Enterbrain, compared to sales of 33,071 PlayStation 3 systems.

A move away from console exclusivity among Japanese game developers has also been a boon for the Xbox 360, which will soon be offering titles from several major franchises that were previously exclusive to the PlayStation. It was announced at the Tokyo Game Show that Namco Bandai will be releasing the latest chapter in its Tekken fighting game next year for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, while Square Enix revealed in July that a 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is in development.

"Relationships we've formed over the eight years of doing business with our Japanese partners really are paying dividends now as we see legendary franchises coming and making their new home on the Xbox 360," Schappert said.

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