There’s always that rumour that Xbox is on the hunt to acquire a Japanese studio to help with their lacklustre sales in Japan. Rumour always has it that Xbox is eyeing Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, SEGA etc but would it actually help them?
It’s interesting, as a lot of the top or best games we’ve gotten in recent memories have always had a Japanse studio behind it, so I can understand why Microsoft would think this way if rumours are to be believed. Now acquiring just any Japanese game studio does not guarantee that they’ll sell mad consoles in Japan or in the west in general. Playstation has long established themselves as the place to go to play Japanse games, so even if Xbox manages to acquire one Japanse game studio, Playstation has a plethora more studios, first and third-party loyal to the brand. They’d have to reveal something crazy to even convince fans to take that risk and convert to the Xbox side. Now, I’m focusing on those that can only afford one console as not everyone has that fund.
Not to mention that after the whole Scalebound drama, they’ve shown to the world of Japanese studios that they’ll intervene and meddle with the process of any game, which can cause issues in the long-run. I’m not saying they’ll do it with every studio but we know that some are already seen alteration to their original vision. There’s a reason why many fans flock to Japanese games and if Microsoft wants a Japanese studio under their wing, they’ll have to loosen their grip and allow them to do their thing. Truth be told, I do hope that Xbox does pick up a Japanese studio. If anything, it will bolster their competitiveness and in turn force Playstation to continue to step up. Although, we gotta see what they’ve done with their already acquired 15 studios. If the mess that up, they can forget about acquiring a Japanese studio, because that won’t even save them.
Still, Spencer has continuously talked about his interesting in Japan, vowing to do better with the Xbox Series X:
On top of that, he also pledged to do better with the launch of Xbox Series X compared to the delayed release of Xbox One.
“When I got into this job, the thing I was seeing was third-parties skipping Xbox One and not even shipping on the platform.
To be fair there will still be examples of that and every one of them causes me pain, but the number one thing I wanted to do when I started in this role was to get back on the ground a couple of times a year playing with the studio heads, playing their games, and just making them know that I had a commitment to their global success.
I think one of the outputs of that was just the number of Japanese-published games that we were able to show at E3, and I’ve been really proud of the way that we’ve built a partnership with almost all of the publishers there and had really great showing on our E3 stages… and yes those games are shipping on all platforms, but the fact that games that have never been on our stage were on our stage, then we started seeing games that have never been on our platform not only coming to the platform but being highlighted on our stage… That’s the journey that I’ve started.
When I’m over there – I’ll tell you – the number one piece of feedback I get from the studio heads – I’ve been around for a long time and I know a lot of them incredibly well – is they say “the people on our studio love working with you guys. They just wish they saw more Xboxes in the stores around here.” You want to be working on a game and have a platform that is going to be seen in your own country. You want your friends to play and all this.
So our market in Japan for Xbox is important to us. Obviously Sony and Nintendo both strong Japanese companies have done a great job… I don’t know that we’re winning in Japan any time soon, but the position that we have in Japan today for a platform is unacceptable to me.
We’re gonna do a much better job with this next upcoming launch of not waiting ten months to launch in Japan like we did last time. We’re gonna make sure that our services like Game Pass and xCloud are there so people have access to them.”
I think what you’re asking about is can we have more home-grown first-party content that’s developed there. I’ll just say I think we can. I’m not announcing anything, but I think the Japanese market is specifically important because of the creative community there, because of the gamer community there, and I want Xbox to mean more there than it does today.
That means working across a bunch of different fronts to make that possible, and it takes time. As I said, I’m still gonna see some things getting announced that aren’t on our platform, and I’ll cringe every time that happens, but relative to four-five years ago, I feel good about our progress, and I definitely know that we’re in this for the long run in that market. In all the markets, and we want to continue to increase the relevance and the importance of Xbox to people.”
So even if Xbox doesn’t acquire a Japanese studio, that does not mean that they’re giving up. They’ll do their best to entice them to make games on their platform, and if they can, exclusivity too. It all depends on how well they’ll do with Series X. Heck, if Nintendo can bring back third-party support, Xbox can too.