Despite trailing miles behind the PlayStation 5 and Switch, Xbox console sales in Japan throughout 2021 were the best they have been in a decade.
It’s no secret at this point that, historically, Xbox sales have not been kind to Microsoft with regards to the Japanese market. While Nintendo and Sony both still soar when it comes to their respective major consoles, Microsoft has always been trailing behind with the Xbox brand in Japan. In 2021, while still sitting far behind its competitors, Xbox has managed to turn its low numbers around, selling more Xbox Series X/S consoles in one year than what the Xbox One managed in four.
Sales figures for Xbox, PlayStation and Switch have just rolled in from Japan by way of GamesIndustry.biz and Famitsu with a report that the Xbox Series X/S consoles have sold 95,598 units in the past year. Coupled with the consoles sold at launch through the end of 2020, that puts Xbox at around 125,000 Xbox Series X/S’ sold in Japan to date. For a comparison, the Xbox One sold around 115,000 in its lifetime in Japan, meaning the Xbox Series X/S have already beaten the lifetime sales of their predecessor in just a year and some change.
While this number of units is not anything to write home about when compared to the millions already sold elsewhere around the world, this is a real milestone for the Xbox brand in Japan and only hints at future success for the American brand in the west. Hopefully this success means more cross-pollination between Japanese franchises and Xbox consoles to come, such as previously exclusive titles seen on Nintendo and Sony consoles.
However, it has to be said that while this is a win for the Xbox brand in Japan, it still sits miles behind its competitors as it was reported that the Nintendo Switch sold 5.3 million units in 2021, while the PlayStation 5 sold 942,798 units. Even the PlayStation 4 sold 103,786 units, besting the Xbox Series X/S by a small margin, which is not great considering the console is a little over 8 years old at this point.
Still, Microsoft and Xbox are making slow but steady headway back into the consciousness of Japanese gamers and that is always a good thing. The console market is already slow in Japan (aside from Nintendo success) so the numbers will likely never come close to what the Xbox brand achieves elsewhere around the world. However, this is progress in the Japanese space and that only means good things for gamers not just there, but everywhere.
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