Japan has always been a weak point in Microsoft’s strategy and has never really succeeded in resonating with consumers. Often selling poorly compared to its rivals, we’ve now learned that the Xbox Series S outsold the PlayStation 5 last week, which is a pretty big achievement for the Xbox brand.
Hardware sales from May 9-15 show Xbox Series S alone moved 6,120 units, while PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition only reached a combined total of 2,693 units (thanks, Weekly famitsu). The Xbox Series X didn’t even come close to touching either of those, selling just 105 units last week, though it still triumphed over the PS4 at 22 units.
It finally happened. The Xbox Series S alone topped PS5 sales in Japan last week (May 9-15).May 19, 2022
It’s a feat we have not seen since 2014, around the time the Xbox One was launched in Japan. However, this could be attributed to widespread PS5 stock issues, while Xbox Series S stock has improved noticeably in recent months.
Meanwhile, Nintendo’s three Switch models have outsold rivals Sony and Microsoft. You can find the full numbers below:
- OLED switch – 35,868
- Light switch – 20,443
- Toggle Lite – 9,011
- Xbox series S – 6,120
- PS5 – 2,240
- PS5 Digital Edition – 453
- New 2DS LL – 235
- Xbox series X – 105
- PS4 – 22
Xbox has always struggled in Japan
Microsoft has a long way to go if it ever hopes to be competitive in Japan. During Xbox’s 20th anniversary celebration in Japan in March, Weekly Famitsu confirmed that Microsoft had only sold 2.3 million Xbox consoles over the past two decades (as reported by GamesIndustry.biz). It never did well in the Asian market, but what’s really striking is that the Xbox 360 alone accounted for 1.6 million units of that figure.
Still, Microsoft seems optimistic that things are changing. Speaking in an interview last June, Xbox Asia Region Manager Jeremy Hinton said “there’s no doubt that demand is absolutely growing in Japan, and I see that in the data that I can see, we have a very high percentage of consoles purchased by people who have never owned Xbox consoles in the past.”
Part of this renewed strategy could involve Xbox Cloud Gaming, which launched in Japan after Microsoft’s presentation at Tokyo Game Show 2021. Mobile gaming has always been much more popular in Asia than in Europe or North America and Since Xbox Cloud Gaming supports both iOS and Android devices, this could help convince gamers to invest in Xbox consoles.
The form factor and price of the Xbox Series S should not be underestimated either, as it is the cheapest next-gen console available and the smallest Xbox ever made.