Today Xbox division head Phil Spencer appeared on episode 1,000 of Gamertag Radio and he had interesting insight to share the positioning of Xbox in the Japanese market.
We know that Spencer often goes to Japan to talk with local developers and publishers, and he explained his reasoning for that kind of dedication.
On top of that, he also pledged to do better with the launch of Xbox Series X compared to the delayed release of Xbox One.
“When I got into this job, the thing I was seeing was third-parties skipping Xbox One and not even shipping on the platform.
To be fair there will still be examples of that and every one of them causes me pain, but the number one thing I wanted to do when I started in this role was to get back on the ground a couple of times a year playing with the studio heads, playing their games, and just making them know that I had a commitment to their global success.
I think one of the outputs of that was just the number of Japanese-published games that we were able to show at E3, and I’ve been really proud of the way that we’ve built a partnership with almost all of the publishers there and had really great showing on our E3 stages… and yes those games are shipping on all platforms, but the fact that games that have never been on our stage were on our stage, then we started seeing games that have never been on our platform not only coming to the platform but being highlighted on our stage… That’s the journey that I’ve started.
When I’m over there – I’ll tell you – the number one piece of feedback I get from the studio heads – I’ve been around for a long time and I know a lot of them incredibly well – is they say “the people on our studio love working with you guys. They just wish they saw more Xboxes in the stores around here.” You want to be working on a game and have a platform that is going to be seen in your own country. You want your friends to play and all this.
So our market in Japan for Xbox is important to us. Obviously Sony and Nintendo both strong Japanese companies have done a great job… I don’t know that we’re winning in Japan any time soon, but the position that we have in Japan today for a platform is unacceptable to me.
We’re gonna do a much better job with this next upcoming launch of not waiting ten months to launch in Japan like we did last time. We’re gonna make sure that our services like Game Pass and xCloud are there so people have access to them.
I think what you’re asking about is can we have more home-grown first-party content that’s developed there. I’ll just say I think we can. I’m not announcing anything, but I think the Japanese market is specifically important because of the creative community there, because of the gamer community there, and I want Xbox to mean more there than it does today.
That means working across a bunch of different fronts to make that possible, and it takes time. As I said, I’m still gonna see some things getting announced that aren’t on our platform, and I’ll cringe every time that happens, but relative to four-five years ago, I feel good about our progress, and I definitely know that we’re in this for the long run in that market. In all the markets, and we want to continue to increase the relevance and the importance of Xbox to people.
Incidentally, speaking of Japanese games, spencer recently promised to help bring Final Fantasy XIV to Xbox.
If you want to learn more, you can check out Spencer’s previous comments on the topic, and more from our semi-recent interview with Xbox games marketing head Aaron Greenberg.