Microsoft – Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, is facing a tough challenge.
„Great to be back in Japan with the team talking and listening to amazing studios and publishers about 2020 and beyond. Really strong energy and excitement here about gaming’s future,” Spencer wrote on Twitter. It’s not the first time he’s there! In March, he took a tour to South Korea and Japan, and while we don’t know what he achieved, he likely had success: the Yakuza series showed up in the Xbox Game Pass, but we could also mention the Kingdom Hearts games.
The former is SEGA’s, the latter is Square Enix’ work, respectively. Both are Japanese companies, and their respective series were PlayStation-oriented until now. (Okay, Yakuza: Like A Dragon is PlayStation 4-exclusive. The game is already out in Japan as Ryu Ga Gotoku 7; the localization happens later this year.) Dr Serkan Toto, an analyst at Kantan Games, added the following: „Rare week in which the head of Xbox and president of Nintendo of America (Doug Bowser) are in Japan at the same time.”
History might repeat itself. When Microsoft entered the console market with the first Xbox in 2001 (we’re getting old, aren’t we?), they tried something similar (they wanted involvement from the Japanese studios, which was tough as Nintendo and Sony both were local), but they quickly slid down to the last place in the sales. The Xbox One barely got anywhere in Japan, and the cancellation of Scalebound in early 2017 didn’t help either. It was being developed by PlatinumGames, with Hideki Kamiya (Resident Evil 2, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, Bayonetta, The Wonderful 101…) as its director.
If Spencer’s tour is about acquiring a few Japanese studios, who could join Xbox Game Studios? We might find out the answer at E3 in June.
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