Microsoft has announced the Xbox One will only go on sale in “select” Asian markets, and only at the end of 2014 – with Japan conspicuously absent from the list.
Microsoft told the Wall Street Journal its “staged approach” to introducing their console to the Asian natives will see it released only to “select” Asian markets – Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India – and only in late 2014.
Japan is not mentioned at all in their plans, but Microsoft did tell Famitsu a release in Japan is “planned,” with details to be announced “later at an appropriate juncture,” suggesting either that Microsoft’s command of geography leads it to place Japan outside of Asia, or, as seems rather likely given the overall “exiting the console market after this gen” tone of the launch, it has thrown in the towel but is saving face with some PR dissimulation.
Microsoft does mention that “we have deepened our relationship with Japanese publishers” and that “this is absolutely key to our business,” but this is some way from saying it will actually be releasing the console in Japan – and may just refer to some publishing deal with Square Enix or Konami.
Although Microsoft does not mention being butchered by Sony in the Asian markets as a reason for delaying the launch there, they do say Kinect will now actually work in the tiny apartments most Asians are assumed to live in – “We listened to the feedback, not everyone in Asia has living rooms… The field of vision required for Kinect is much smaller.”
As the console will not even function without Kinect being active (it apparently continuously records everything in the room so it can wake via spoken command, a prospect so disturbing that some have likened it to the perfect spying device for the US government), their inconveniently small homes presumably posed a technical obstacle to the release.
Their disdain for the outmoded notion that a game console’s main function is playing video games also shines through – problems securing Asian TV content for the Xbox One are mentioned as another impediment to the smooth release of the console, its main function in Microsoft’s eyes apparently being the all-American pastime of watching American football whilst guzzling Doritos and gulping down Dew.