A report from an independent retailer describes tepid sales for the Kinect since it launched this weekend in Japan.
Kinect became available in Japan on November 20th and some fans lined up to purchase one as soon as they could. Writing for the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, a merchandiser for the major retail chain Tsutaya, described the sales reception as less than that of the PlayStation Move. Taketo Matsuo also said that Kinect was mostly being purchased by people who already had an Xbox 360.
Matsuo wrote that Kinect is “off to a pretty rough start.” Despite it being marketed towards “light users,” the innovative motion control system was mostly being purchased by “existing owners.” He also said that the Kinect unit was selling about “one-fourth” as well as the PlayStation Move was.
Sales for accessories in Japan are not publicized separately from hardware sales, so there is not likely going to be any official numbers of how Kinect is selling there. Anecdotal evidence from retailers like Matsuo is probably the best information that we are going to get for a while.
That is, unless Matsuo is completely wrong and Microsoft releases sales numbers that prove Kinect is a massive success in Japan. Given the traditional track record of Microsoft game products in Japan as compared to natives like Nintendo and Sony, I don’t foresee that happening.
Plus, that 6-8 feet of space the Kinect needs to function is worth a fortune in Japan. That can’t help its sales there.