Xbox In JapanThree months after a triumphant North American launch, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates is taking the Xbox video game system into new territory, launching the future-generation console in Japan today.
Backed by Japanese game developers and an intense launch lineup, the most powerful video game system available — the one with the best graphics, sound and game experiences — can now be tapped into by game enthusiasts in Japan.
“Japanese gamers are among the most sophisticated in the world, and Xbox is the future-generation game system that matches their sophistication, fires their imagination and tests their skills,” Gates said, as he greeted the first gamers in Japan to buy Xbox.
“Today’s Xbox launch demonstrates our long-term commitment to Japanese video game players,” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer (CXO) at Microsoft. “Xbox is just getting started in Japan, and already the launch lineup of games is very strong. It’s amazing to see what many of the legendary Japanese game designers have been able to accomplish on Xbox.”
Xbox is on sale at thousands of Japanese retail outlets, and 12 titles are available. The launch lineup includes great titles from the top names in video games, such as Sega Corp., Konami Corp., Capcom Co. Ltd., Tecmo Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. A total of 22 titles are scheduled to be available in Japan by the end of March. Many of these Japanese games have global appeal and may be localized in various markets around the world.
“This is just the beginning for Xbox in Japan,” said Hirohisa Ohura, managing director and head of the Xbox Division at Microsoft Japan. “We are continuing to work with our incredible partners to develop unprecedented games that can only be created on Xbox.”
The Japanese Xbox game lineup includes the following:
• JSRF — Jet Set Radio Future™ (from Sega) is a graphical street-skating action-adventure game with the unique visual style of Japanese manga comics.
• GENMA ONIMUSHA™ (from Capcom) is a new interpretation of the war survival action series that garnered worldwide acclaim.
• SILENT HILL 2: Saigo no Uta (from Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo) is the hit adventure game that shook the world with its spine-tingling horror and real-world environment as can only be presented on Xbox.
• DOUBLE-S.T.E.A.L. (from Bunkasha) is a car action game modeled after the thrilling trademark car stunt scenes of Hong Kong cinema. (This title is also referred to as “WRECKLESS: The Yazuka Missions” as published by Activision Inc. in North America and Europe.)
• AIR FORCE DELTA II (from Konami) is an incredibly realistic 3-D shooting game that incorporates amazingly intense air battles using real-world fighter planes.
• HYPER SPORTS 2002 WINTER (from Konami) re-creates 10 sporting events in a realistic, easy-to-control manner. Gamers will appreciate the beautiful winter atmosphere and the attention to graphics, such as the view from the slopes, snow-capped mountains and skating rinks complete with reflections on the ice.
• ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding 2002 (from Konami) is a realistic snowboarding game modeled after the ESPN Winter X Games and based on comments and participation from world-class snowboarders.
• Nobunaga’s Ambition: Chronicles of Chaos (from Koei Corp.) is a historical simulation game in which powerful leaders do battle to become the victorious feudal lord who can bring warring factions together.
• Nezmix (from Microsoft) is a comical adventure in which players take on the role of a mouse that must recruit and lead a team of its fellow mice to defend their town against a band of enemy invaders.
• Tenku: Freestyle Snowboarding (from Microsoft) is a snowboarding game that focuses on freestyle riding, rather than traditional race-based games. (This title is also known as Amped™: Freestyle Snowboarding.)
• Project Gotham Racing™: World Street Racer (from Microsoft) features a unique Kudos System in which players earn rewards not only for being first at the finish line, but also for displaying skill, style and daring while driving.
• DEAD OR ALIVE 3 (from Tecmo) is the third title in Tecmo’s popular tournament fighting action game series.
Retail Registers Ready
Xbox is on sale at retail outlets throughout Japan at an estimated price of 34,800 yen (actual retail prices may vary). Microsoft has devised marketing strategies, including the exclusive-for-Japan Xbox Special Edition, that appeal to the Japanese audience. Only 50,000 of the greenish-black translucent consoles are available for purchase in Japan.