Microsoft is dropping the price of the Xbox One in both Japan and China in an attempt to help boost sales in both countries according to a post from Tech in Asia.
Japanese Xbox One units will be discounted by ¥5,000 (around US$41 at time of post) from the original launch prices of ¥49,980 (US$412) for the full system and ¥39,980 (US$329) for the console without Kinect. This discount will be part of a promotional campaign for the launch of the Xbox One exclusive title, Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness in Japan on the 28th of May which is based on the popular anime series, Psycho-Pass. While this discount may not be permanent, it’s worth noting that several popular online retailers in Japan already sell their Xbox One consoles and games at a discount. Amazon Japan for example is currently selling a Kinectless version of the Xbox One console with Halo The Master Chief Collection for a ¥7000 discount at ¥36,168 (US$298).
Microsoft’s Xbox consoles have always had a hard time selling in Japan, mostly due to a lack of brand awareness. I was living in Japan during the launch of the Xbox One and the console received next to no promotion of any kind on TV, billboards, or even in stores. While there are some passionate Xbox supporters in Japan, they’re definitely in the minority and the average Japanese person has never even seen a system in someone’s home. This stands in sharp contrast to Nintendo’s Wii which became a common sight in homes during its lifespan and Sony’s PlayStation 3 and 4 which thrive due to their reputation as “the nerd consoles” and massive library of games targeted at the hard core Japanese gamer and anime fan.
Over in China, the market is very different and has only really begun to experience video game consoles in the mainstream market with the launch of the Xbox One in September 2014 after the change in laws that had previously banned them. Despite being the first major console launch in China in a while, the Xbox One has still struggled to be the hit that many had hoped due to the country’s censorship laws which prevented the sale of several major titles like Call of Duty, Destiny, and Halo and the high price for the console at launch; RMB 4,299 (US$694) with Kinect and RMB 3,699 (US$600) Kinectless. Not only is this much higher than in the U.S. (almost double!), but for the average Chinese consumer this price makes the Xbox One practically unobtainable.
The price reductions for the Chinese Xbox One console, which appear to be permanent, are long overdue. From this week, the console with Kinect will sell for RMB 3,799 (US$614) and without, RMB 3,199 ($517). Both prices are still rather expensive for the region but with an almost US$100 price decrease, it could be the motivation potential customers need.
Back in the U.S. things are looking much more positive for Microsoft with the Xbox One outselling the previously dominant PlayStation 4 in April and an impressive library of games that continues to grow.
What are your thoughts on the Xbox One’s international distribution? Share with us in the comments below.Further reading: Asia, China, Japan, Microsoft, Xbox One