Xbox Role-Playing Games Eyed for Japan

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 12, 2007; 1:48 PM

TOKYO -- Microsoft Corp., whose Xbox 360 game console is struggling in Japan against offerings from Nintendo and Sony, is promising more role-playing games to attract fans.

Takashi Sensui, who heads Xbox operations in Japan, said Japanese prefer role-playing games, and Microsoft will offer more of them, including "Infinite Undiscovery" by Square Enix Co. and "Lost Odyssey" from Mistwalker Inc.

"We are going all out in a year-end competition against rivals," Sensui told reporters Wednesday.

The Xbox 360 has been plagued with problems in recent months. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., said in July it would spend more than $1 billion to repair hardware problems. Last month, it promised to replace parts of its Wireless Racing Wheel video game controllers after 50 reports of overheating.

Even before such problems, the Xbox 360 has struggled in Japan since going on sale in December 2005, initially losing out to PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 from Sony Corp., and more recently to the hit Wii from Nintendo Co. Recent monthly sales of the Xbox 360 have lagged behind the Wii in the United States as well.

To offer games that are attractive to Japanese, signing deals with popular game designers _ big stars in the industry here _ is widely viewed as key to success. And Nintendo and Sony, both Japanese companies, seem to generally do better at wooing the Japanese game stars.

© 2007 The Associated Press