Only 1 in 10 consumers who want an XBox 360 will get one in the United States this holiday season. In Japan, only 1 in 10 consumers who COULD purchase an XBox 360 have chosen to do so. This is a direct result of Microsoft’s poorly thought out global launch for the next generation console. The decision to take units that could have been sold domestically and ship them to a country that simply does not purchase foreign console games is one that will be scrutinized when it comes time to look at Q4 profit and loss statements for the entire gaming industry. Electronic Arts and Activision both were forced to tell stockholders that they lost money. Part of this is the fact that with the XBox 360, PS3, and Revolution on the way, consumers are not willing to purchase titles for the old and busted current consoles.
The Japanese Launch of the XBox 360 was completely unnecessary for at least 2 reasons. First, the console that will crush the 360 in sales in Japan, the Playstation 3, will not be ready for launch for at least 6 months, perhaps longer. Microsoft had time to replace the Asian units they could have sold in North America with future production. Second, several of the launch titles that were being counted on to drive 360 sales were delayed. Dead or Alive 4, and to some extent Elder Scrolls: Oblivion are just two of the games that are still being waited on. Microsoft had to have noticed, and certainly could have used this in conjunction with the first listed reason, to hold off and boost numbers here in the US. But, like the villain of the Dr. Suess classic, they have ruined Christmas for many children. You’re a mean one, indeed.