Japan has always been a weak spot in Microsoft's strategy and has never quite managed to resonate 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 the Xbox Series S shifted 6,120 units alone, while the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition only hit 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 a mere 105 units last week, though it still triumphed over PS4 at 22 units.
It finally happened. Xbox Series S by itself outsold the PS5 in Japan last week (May 9-15).Xbox Series S - 6,120Xbox Series X - 105PlayStation 5 (Disc+Digital) - 2,963https://t.co/UkBOIwNghUMay 19, 2022
It's a feat we've not seen since 2014 (opens in new tab), back when Xbox One launched in Japan. However, this could be attributed to widespread PS5 stock issues, while Xbox Series S stock has noticeably improved in recent months.
Meanwhile, all three of Nintendo's Switch models outsold their Sony and Microsoft rivals. You can find the full figures below:
- Switch OLED – 35,868
- Switch – 20,443
- Switch 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 lot of ground to cover if they ever hope to be competitive in Japan. Upon celebrating Xbox's 20th anniversary in Japan this March, Weekly Famitsu confirmed Microsoft had only sold 2.3 million Xbox consoles in the last two decades (as reported by GamesIndustry.biz). It's never done well in the Asian market, but what's really striking is that Xbox 360 made up 1.6 million units of that figure alone.
Still, Microsoft appears optimistic that things are changing. Speaking in an interview last June, Xbox’s head of the Asia region, Jeremy Hinton, claimed "there is no doubt that the demand is absolutely growing in Japan, and I see that in the data that I can see, we have a really high percentage of consoles being bought 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 following Microsoft's Tokyo Game Show 2021 presentation. Mobile gaming has historically been much more popular across Asia than Europe or North America and considering Xbox Cloud Gaming supports iOS and Android devices, that could help convince players to invest in Xbox consoles.
The form factor and price of the Xbox Series S also shouldn't be understated, as it's the cheapest next-gen console available and the smallest Xbox ever made.