Sun setting on 360’s retail presence in Japan

Thursday, 18 August 2011 10:26 GMT By Stace Harman

Microsoft’s console has never set the Japanese charts alight, but six years after its launch falling sales are prompting some retailers to call time on Xbox 360.

An article by Edge, published on its NextGen website, suggests that with year on year sales of Xbox 360 down 46.7 percent and the console’s last high-profile Japanese exclusive, Idolmaster 2, being ported to PS3, Japanese retailers have seen enough and are starting to phase out the console from their stores.

A drop in sales is not limited to 360 – PS3 has also suffered a smaller 17.1 percent dip in the same period – but it’s the numbers that these dips equate to that hammers home the beleaguered sales performance of Xbox, with just 72,721 units sold for the year-to-date, compared to 735,637 PS3s.

This has led the nation’s largest specialist retailer, Geo, to scale back its 360 business yet further, while Edge reports that “staff at electronics retailer Yamada Denki in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, confirmed that the company is removing hardware and software from the majority of its stores nationwide, and is selling off its remaining stock at a heavy discount. It will still sell the console and games, but only in selected stores where the system continues to be sufficiently popular.”

Microsoft announced in June that it had sold around 1.5 million consoles in the region in the six years since launch – that’s comparable to the number of 3DS units sold in Japan since February this year.

Despite its lack of traction in Japan, the region remains important to the American company – it recently appointed Takashi Sensui as general manager for Xbox in Japan. The firm will also want to ensure that retailers are on-board when its next generation of Xbox hardware is launched, likely at some point in the next few years.

Thanks, Joystiq