Xbox aims for role-playing fans
The Xbox 360 is doing just fine in most of the world, but Japanese gamers — known to prefer homegrown products — have remained resistant to Microsoft's machine. "Obviously it's a challenging market with well entrenched competitors," Microsoft vice president Shane Kim told the GamesIndustry.biz Web site.
The company's strategy involves nailing down Xbox exclusives from well-known Japanese developers like Hironobu Sakaguchi ("Lost Odyssey") and Tomonobu Itagaki ("Ninja Gaiden II"). Moreover, Microsoft wants the 360 to become the go-to machine for role-playing adventures, the most popular genre in Japan.
Microsoft mounted an event in Tokyo to demonstrate its commitment to the RPG, focusing on three forthcoming entries from Japan's Square Enix. They include "Infinite Undiscovery" and "The Last Remnant," coming this year, and the newly announced "Star Ocean: The Last Hope," a long-awaited return to a much-loved sci-fi saga. Also due in 2008 is Namco Bandai's "Tales of Vesperia."
"Infinite Undiscovery" and "Tales of Vesperia" are Xbox exclusives, and the others will come to Microsoft's platform first. For a certain breed of gamer — those of us who like 100-hour-plus epics — the 360 is dominating the competition.