It's been apparent for some time now that Microsoft are struggling to crack the Japanese market, with sales falling consistently year on year. But now some Japanese retailers are refusing to sell the machine at all. Microsoft's announcement that they had finally hit the '1.5 million units' mark this summer has apparently done little to quell the retailers' fears, and the American corporation now face losing their support altogether.
Microsoft's European boss Chris Lewis told Eurogamer that the company would categorically not be pulling out of the Japanese market:
It's a challenging market. We are up against very strong competition there. All of our competition is strong. We're very respectful of what Sony and Nintendo do and where they've come from and what they bring.
It's difficult to determine exactly why the Xbox is failing to make any real progress in Japan, but the loss of a whole slew of region-specific exclusives to Sony certainly hasn't helped matters, and Nintendo's recent 3DS price-cut has seen it outsell Microsoft's home console just six months after release.
Lewis and co are gearing themselves up for next month's Tokyo Game Show, where they will be reassuring Japanese consumers that Microsoft may be down, but they certainly aren't out.
Japan remains important to us. We're very committed to that market. The development community there is very important. Tokyo Game Show will be a notable element in the year as usual