Kinect, the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history (and reason we’re all here in the first place) seems to be underperforming in Japan, Takashi Sensui has revealed. Sensui reportedly told Japanese website Impress Watch that Kinect hadn’t met the targets set by Microsoft, selling only 90,000 units as of the 2nd of January, compared to the almost double that Sony’s PlayStation Move sold (170,000 units). Personally, I can see only two big reasons (post below if you have any more) – neither which surprise me:
- Japan has always been Microsoft’s worst market sales-wise – this is because Microsoft is an American company, whereas Sony and Nintendo are both Japanese companies. Arguably, the PS3 and Xbox are both big sellers in the US, but unfortunately, that’s how the Japanese market works.
- Japan’s housing is not big enough for Kinect. I know many people may think that a strange reason – but believe me, especially in Tokyo, space is very tight in Japanese accommodation, and the luxury of Kinect and it’s 6-8ft of play space (probably) won’t be viable in most living spaces. Let’s not forget that at launch, Microsoft offered a free measuring tape to see if Japanese gamers could use Kinect without issues.
However, all hope is not lost just yet; as well as sales figures, Microsoft announced a major restructure in the company’s business plans, splitting Xbox off into it’s own seperate division. Sensui, who was previously the executive of the ‘Home and Entertainment’ division and dealt not just with Xbox, but also with Windows and Office software, is now the executive of the ‘Interactive Entertainment Division’, which now solely deals with Xbox 360 (and presumably Kinect). Hopefully the restructure will result in better sales in the region, or maybe more games from Japanese studios.
As for the space issues, Nyko may have found a solution to those issues with it’s new Kinect accessory, the Nyko Zoom, which is launching on August 23rd (at least, in the US) and reduces play space needed by upto 40%, without limiting Kinect capabilities.