There’s finally some good news for Microsoft coming from Japan, as the initial batch of Xbox Series X & S pre-orders have sold out in the region (via VGC).
Pre-orders for the new consoles opened at midnight in Japan, with the more expensive Xbox Series X selling out in just 20 minutes. The more affordable Series S later sold out after an hour of being available to pre-order. Pre-orders at Japanese retailers such as Yodobashi, Softmap and BicCamera also sold out within hours, and the Microsoft store too is sold out in the region.
Of course, Microsoft has been historically unpopular in Japan, so stock was likely limited to begin with – but it’s nonetheless a promising sign for the company, who have recently started to become more popular in the region.
According to Xbox head Phil Spencer, speaking at Xbox’s Tokyo Game Show Showcase, Japan is now Xbox’s fastest-growing market.
Spencer points to Game Pass as the secret behind Microsoft’s growing Japanese success, which became available in Japan in April, and has seen “more players on Xbox devices, games, and services than at any time in our history in the market.”
Additionally, monthly active users for Japan’s Xbox Live grew 82 per cent y/y in Summer, though COVID-19 may also have boosted these numbers.
Spencer acknowledged Xbox’s historic unpopularity in the region.
“We learn from the past,” said Spencer. “And this year, we’re scaling our global vision with the goal to launch our products in Japan at the same time as the rest of the world, including our new console, which will launch day and date with our global markets.”
This is a change from the launch of the Xbox One, which launched in major markets in November 2013, but didn’t make it to Japan until September 2014.
However, while the new consoles are arriving in Japan at the same time as its major markets, Japanese users will have to wait for Microsoft’s streaming service, xCloud, which will arrive in Japan in the first half of next year.