It’s no secret to anyone that the Xbox One hasn’t been doing well in Japan, a country where its own hardware from Sony and Nintendo reign supreme. It is seen in Microsoft’s unwillingness to pursue more Japanese-developed exclusive titles, contrary to the Xbox 360 era.
In that time, we saw Microsoft publish or acquire exclusivity for various titles from known AAA companies like Square Enix to smaller teams. We witnessed the release of numerous Japanese-centric titles from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Lost Odyssey to Square Enix’s Infinite Undiscovery that were exclusive to the platform.
Fast forward to today, and the signs are much different. Very few Japanese-developed games have been exclusive to the Xbox One, outside of the partially Japanese-made ReCore and Platinum Games’ sadly cancelled Scalebound. Business is business and the numbers have spoken for themselves, most likely leading to a more reserved Microsoft.
However, two recent interviews with MCV have revealed that Microsoft is not only straying away from Japanese titles, but is in fact “not supportive” of any Japanese games or publishers at all. Though certain games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Code Vein were featured heavily at Microsoft’s E3 conference earlier this year, NIS America says that it doesn’t accurately reflect Microsoft’s “approach” to Japanese games.
NIS America, best known for the Danganronpa and Disgaea series, came forward to speak on the matter. President and CEO Takuro Yamashita stated:
Honestly speaking, Microsoft’s approach to Japanese games hasn’t been very supportive. Microsoft, you know, for Japanese games, there’s still a very niche element to them, no matter what it might be.
He goes on to note that NIS America isn’t against publishing games on Xbox One, but it’s really the case of a “chicken and egg problem.” In another interview with publisher Nihon Falcom, President Toshihiro Kondo agreed with NIS America. The developer of The Legend of Heroes and Ys series also takes a reserved approach with Xbox One, preferring a “if things improve” position, regarding the popularity of Xbox One even in the West as well as Japan.