Xbox launches in Japan

[02.22.02] » The Xbox launches in Japan, and we have pictures of scantily-clad women to prove it.

   After a surprisingly strong launch in America last fall, the Xbox today went on sale in what could be Microsoft's most challenging market: Japan. The GIA went to our local Japanese Wanpaku, picked up our Limited Edition Xbox, and checked out the first-day scene. Sales were fairly brisk; the gamer in front of us in line was picking up an Xbox, as did the couple behind us. The level of activity seemed comparable to the previous GameCube launch last fall. The clerk told us that the system's top seller was definitely Dead or Alive 3, selling at a nearly 1:1 ratio with the hardware. Other popular games included Project Gotham and Jet Set Radio Future. Also, many of the customers picking up their systems on the first day opted for the Limited Edition, with its white box and translucent black casing. Microsoft provided special Xbox bags to game stores for the occasion, reinforcing both branding and the bag bottom. "It's heavy, so be careful," warned the clerk. And though the Xbox isn't prohibitively large, this is still the first time we've been warned when purchasing a console. Pictures of the bag, Limited Edition box, and Limited Edition box contents are below.

   In related news, Microsoft held an Xbox launch event in Tokyo and Osaka last weekend to celebrate the forthcoming system launch. This event was like a miniature tradeshow for the gaming public, complete with playable kiosks, game company representatives, and attractive-yet-clueless booth girls. GIA friend Joseph Holley attended the Osaka event and contributed some photographs.

   Though the Xbox's future in Japan is far from set, Microsoft appears to have successfully overcome the most common launch hurdles. The true test of the machine's acceptance, however, lies in the weeks and months to come.

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