For those of us who thought the US Xbox 360 launch was missing a few key genres, just take a look at what the Japanese gamers are going to see on December 10th.
Dead or Alive 4 has been pushed back another week, now set for 12/17. Already known, Enchant Arm will not ship until mid January. So just as in the US, there will be no fighting or RPG gaming at launch.
Oddly enough, the original Xbox launch in Japan saw more software support. The Japanese 360 launch has been whittled down to only six games: Ridge Racer 6, Every Party, Perfect Dark Zero, FIFA 06, Tetris and Need for Speed Most Wanted.
Microsoft might have some major Japanese developers on board making games, but none of the major titles are ready for launch. This does not look good to Japanese gamers. It shows that even the developers are not excited about the launch of the 360.
As if Microsoft needs to be reminded, the Japanese love their RPG titles. In order to sell, the Xbox 360 needs a lot of them - having two or 15 at launch would have helped. Western RPG’s don’t count either. I refer to games such as: Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star, Dragon Quest, Xenosaga, Suikoden, Front Mission, etc. Enchant Arm looked to be the Japanese launch’s saving grace.
Backwards compatibility is also a sore subject for Japanese gamers. While we get over 200 titles in the US, only 12 will play on the 360 in Japan. Adding insult to injury, the only Japanese developer on the list is Tecmo.
We had 18 launch titles in the US. Japan gets six. Add the backwards compatible games, and they have 18 games at launch too. Although I do not think that is a good selling point.
Microsoft wants to be a major player in the Japanese gaming industry but they consistently make it impossible to be competitive in that market. There will be no one to blame, again, but Microsoft when the Xbox 360 does not sell in Japan.