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Sales figures show slow Xbox 360 launch in Japan

More than half of Japan's initial shipment of Xbox 360s remained on shelves after two days, fewer than one game sold per console.

Gaming

From a sellout at the Shibuya Tsutaya Shopping Centre Xbox 360 launch party to stacks of unwanted systems piled up behind store counters, anecdotal evidence of the success or failure of Microsoft's latest attempt to get a foothold in Japan was everywhere this weekend. Today some actual numbers are trickling in.

Famitsu publisher Enterbrain has released Xbox 360 sales figures gathered by its internal research firm over the system's first two days of release. According to the report's findings, sales of Microsoft's new console have been "slightly slow" so far.

Of an estimated 159,000 units shipped to retail, Enterbrain reports that 62,135 of them were sold to customers Saturday and Sunday. However, perhaps most surprising is that Enterbrain's research found a game-to-system tie ratio of only .91, meaning that a number of people bought the system with no game at all. These numbers are by no means final, however. Another report by Media Create cited only 41,817 units being sold in the system's first two days.

According to Enterbrain, the best-selling 360 game of the weekend was Namco's Ridge Racer 6, which sold 29,891 copies. The runners-up were lagging far behind, however -- Perfect Dark Zero came in second with 14,897 games sold, and Need for Speed Most Wanted took third place with 6,842 moved out the door.

Enterbrain cautions that the success of the 360 launch cannot be judged by these numbers alone, as key games developed with the Japanese market in mind, such as Dead or Alive 4 and Enchant Arm, have been delayed to later in the system's three-month "launch window." Dead or Alive 4 in particular could spur system sales; the Xbox-exclusive Dead or Alive 3 sold 217,149 units.

Comparing the 360's numbers with those of the original Xbox's 2002 launch in Japan, the 360 appears to be lagging a bit behind. In its first weekend, the Xbox reportedly sold 123,929 systems. While that's almost double the 360's numbers, that figure includes an extra day of sales; the Xbox launched on a Friday, while the 360 came out on a Saturday. Of more relevance is the tie ratio. The original Xbox managed to sell 1.45 games per Xbox console.

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