“It Was A Terrible Failure”: Creator of Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Reveals Xbox Launch in Japan

Creator Dead or alive and three-dimensional restart Ninja Gaiden Tomonobu Itagaki remembered the beginning of his cooperation with Microsoft in conversation with the publication Bloomberg and shared his own view of the situation with the debut Xbox in Japan.

According to the developer, Microsoft did not take into account all the specifics of the Japanese market, which led to dire consequences.

Itagaki noted that the studio Team Ninja and company Tecmo were very happy with the international sales of the fighting game Dead or Alive 3 on the first Microsoft console, but in Japan this game is associated with a sad episode in the fate of the Xbox. In any case, this is how Itagaki himself sees the situation.

“We sold over two million copies of Dead or Alive 3 worldwide on Xbox, which was above all our company’s predictions. But there was one problem: Japan.

Microsoft originally told us it would have 500,000 Xbox consoles ready for the Japanese launch, and we’ve collected 262,000 pre-orders for the game from retailers. I still clearly remember these numbers. And then, shortly before launch, Microsoft apologized and explained that it could only ship 250,000 consoles.

Wait, but this is even less than we printed discs … By that time, we couldn’t do anything, and the launch date had come. The console definitely sold out quickly, but not every player is interested in fighting games. As far as I remember, Dead or Alive 3 found 170-180 thousand buyers in Japan. In order to sell off the stock as quickly as possible, in just a month the stores reduced the cost of the game to 300 yen ($ 3). It gained notoriety as a “three dollar game,” and it made me very sad.

You know, when players walk into a store and see a mountain of 300 yen disks in the trailer, they think they have the worst games. It was unpleasant. And this has led many companies to turn their backs on the Xbox.

You see, Dead or Alive 3, which was perceived as the flagship of the Xbox, was selling for $ 3 just a month later. Japanese gaming companies tend to be passive and in no hurry to support something new until they see how others show themselves there. So they looked at it and distanced themselves from the Xbox, and with them the players lost interest in the Xbox, because there wasn’t much going on. If Microsoft could get more consoles ready for launch, things could be very different. The launch of the first Xbox was a huge flop in Japan, “Itagaki recalled.

According to Famitsu, a total of 218 thousand copies of Dead or Alive 3 were sold in Japan. At the same time, the Xbox console, after a good start, has sold in the region in all the years of its existence with a circulation of just over 500 thousand.

In preparation for launch Xbox 360 in the Japanese market, Microsoft also had high hopes for the Itagaki game, now Dead or Alive 4, but it hadn’t been completed by the time the console debuted, which resulted in the Xbox 360 starting even worse than the original Xbox.

The Xbox 360 ended up being the most successful Xbox in Japan, with sales of over 1.5 million units, as Microsoft worked actively with local developers and publishers to create exclusives. However, even so, the Xbox 360 could not come close to Japanese console sales. Nintendo and Sony

Itagaki recently set up a new studio and wants to work with Microsoft again

Read also: Ranked # 1 for 25 consecutive months: Nintendo Switch became the best-selling console in December and 2023 in the US

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