PlatinumGames’ founders Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya addressed the issue of Microsoft, trying to explain the reason behind the brand’s continual flops in the Asian country, compared to that of Sony.
Xbox has had a hard time in Japan historically, and even if Microsoft has been struggling lately, it doesn’t seem that this will change against Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 once the Xbox Series X is launched. Recently, in an interview with VGC, Hideki Kamiya and Atsushi Inaba of PlatinumGames have talked about the problems of Microsoft, trying to give an explanation behind the continuous flops of the brand in Japan, and why Sony’s localization is “very easy to grasp.”
Due to the cancellation of Scalebound by Microsoft, it might be possible that PlatinumGames had a troubled relationship with the Redmond Giant at the beginning of the Xbox One gen. Kamiya explains that “Ever ever since the Xbox has been introduced to the Japanese market it’s always felt like something foreign and far away.” The executive then provided a concrete example of his concept behind the failure of Xbox in Japan comparing that with Sony:
It [Xbox] reminds me of the NES and Super NES days when I had to go to these really niche game stores to get foreign games you could only get through import. They weren’t localised to Japan or anything, they were just imports that you were kind of buying just to have this rare token as a gamer.
I think that Microsoft Japan could do more to market towards actual Japanese gamers’ tastes for their console. If you want a concrete example, when you unlock an Achievement it says ‘Achievement unlocked’ and in Japanese, this phrase is translated extremely literally. Compare that with Sony’s Trophies: that idea is very easy to grasp and even in Japanese the word ‘trophy’ is the same as in English. There’s no awkward translation and it’s easy to understand.
It is certainly an interesting theory which, while sinking its roots in a rather simple example, makes the idea of the complicated relationship between the Japanese and Microsoft. In recent news, the boss of PlatinumGames says that the next-gen consoles won’t be as “ground breaking” as Nintendo Switch was.
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