Kinect launched in Japan today while Europe and America was snug in its beds, and according to a liveblog of the event, between 150 and 200 people lined-up outside the the official launch center at Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara.
The store, which usually keeps games on the fifth floor, had Kinect sitting on the first floor so customers could get to it easily, according to Andriasang. Reading over the site’s liveblog, it seems the the main event was rather festive but much more subdued than the US and UK launches.
Celebrities at the launch included wrestler Keiji Mutou, and the pop star role was filled by SKE48’s Rena Matsui and Jurina Matsui. The gals are also official spokespersons for Kinect and their avatars were on commemorative shirts handed out at the event. We also heard they beat wrestler Mutou at boxing during a Kinect demonstration. Burn.
Microsoft home and entertainment head Takashi Sensui was present, and apparently even helped sell the first few Kinect’s at the register.
This was just the main launch event. Other electronics and toy stores started selling the device as well, but according to Kotaku, not many stores had Kinect displays in the windows and one in North Osaka only had Kinect pamphlets in the bottom row of the Kinect aisle in the store.
The consumer has to ask at the counter if Kinect is there, and clerks then had look in the stock room. According to Ashcraft, one clerk was so unsure if Kinect was there they had to ask a supervisor.
This is a bit sad, actually, because there are quite a few home-grown developers who have really interesting ideas for the device in the works; granted these titles are not available yet, but hopefully once released or more publicized, it may get retail to step things up a bit.
With games coming from the likes of Suda 51, Grounding Inc., Tetsuya Mizuguchi, and others – their efforts may eventually soften the bit of prejudice Japanese retailers have toward Microsoft.
Hopefully, Microsoft will ramp up publicity and advertisement more now Kinect has been released.