Microsoft - going big in Japan

Microsoft's pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference today started off with a stylish, big-screen video of a shirtless Asian man desperately spin-kicking a ring of Xbox 360s that floated tauntingly around him. Yes! Microsoft finally understands Japan! Now, if only we understood Microsoft.

While sales of the Xbox 360 have taken a serious beating in Japan - it's selling worse than the notoriously unpopular Xbox here - Microsoft hasn't given up on the country just yet. A slew of new accessories (including the HD-DVD drive) and Japanese-developed games are heading to the system by the end of the year, and Microsoft is pushing them hard.

As the video ended, Takashi Sensui, general manager of Microsoft's Japanese Xbox division, took the stage to outline the company's "do! do! do!" initiative. Aside from sounding hilarious when you say it out loud, it's about three concepts: "do! Choice," which in this case means releasing the stripped-down Core System package, previously unavailable in Japan; "do! Game," focusing on its 70 Japanese-developed games, 50 of which will be exclusive to Japan; and "do! Live," which unsurprisingly involves extending the reach of Xbox Live to PCs and mobile phones.

While we'd love to talk about Sensui's elaborations on what this would mean for the Japanese market, or Xbox chief Peter Moore's announcement that the 360 will soon launch in India, we'll instead cut straight to the stuff you actually care about. No, not Halo 3. That apparently didn't even merit a mention, although Microsoft had plenty of other cool stuff to show us.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.