Tuesday, September 22

South African Gamers to Microsoft: Leave Japan, Come on Over

Being a gaming Journalist can be tough sometimes. You're constantly scouring the web, checking sources, shooting emails and making calls. It's a fast-pace news cycle, and we at Gamesthirst try to keep up. After all, you come for news, and we must deliver. Today is especially unique because while doing my normal news searching routine, I came across this website, which was reporting on a piece that we originally did. But what struck me, was the comments that I saw. Some users were complaining, expressing their disdain at the lack of support for their market. Others were less drastic, asking for only 10 percent of the amount Microsoft spends in Japan.

Going back to the original piece, we gave some numbers that displayed total life-to-date sales of four Xbox 360 Japan Exclusives, and later on, we updated the post to include Lost Odyssey. Even after the inclusion of Lost Odyssey, the total life-to-date sales did not reach 900,000 copies sold. Combined, the total is: 865,885, all of which at that point were exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox 360, and as you can see, with disappointing results. Having this data in their arsenal, the South African gamers were confused as to why would Microsoft keep beating a dead horse. In their opinion, SA would be a much better market to invest in while said market is still emerging.

We in the Americas, and Europe, get to enjoy Microsoft's revolutionary Online experience XBL, even if it comes at a price. The way they see it in SA is, they don't mind paying, just give the the darn service and support already. The South Africans contends, voicing that if Microsoft would just invest a fraction of what is being spent in Japan, then the company's long-term results could be extremely lucrative. With that I agree, but pulling out of Japan all together would be counter-productive. Let's look at the population of SA, it's 43,790,000 compared to Japan's 127,288,416. Add Japan's GDP which is $4.272 Trillion (purchasing power) then compare South Africa's $280 Billion (purchasing power), and the conclusion is clear. Microsoft should support SA now, and reap great benefits later; but even more important, is the market in the east. Japanese eat, sleep and drink games, Microsoft needs a strategy that works.

09/22/09 Ernice Gilbert

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