Xbox's Very Short Honeymoon

Back to Contents of Issue: May 2002

MICROSOFT'S XBOX WAS THE best-selling game console in Japan for the week of February 18-24, after its February 22 launch. Alas, that seems so long ago. Statistics from Nikkei BP/GfK SalesWeek 3200 for the following week (February 25-March 3) put Xbox in third place and Sony's PlayStation2 back in first. Sales of Xbox were down more than 25 percent week on week, while Sony's sales jumped almost 20 percent. Nintendo came in second with a 4.8 percent week-on-week rise.

Just as the honeymoon ended for Xbox, it got hit with more bad luck: False reports that it had recalled its Xbox machines in Japan began to circulate because of the apologetic tone of a statement on the Microsoft Web site. What happened, according to Microsoft, was that the company had a "small number of inquiries from customers reporting small scratches to the outside edge of some game disks after use in the Xbox consoles." Microsoft agreed to check out all the consoles that had damaged the disks and replace any that needed replacing and, in a fairly common step for companies in Japan, it issued an apologetic statement. That got the rumor mill going, and before Microsoft could stop it, the 'news' of an Xbox recall in Japan had spread across the Internet.

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