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Ex-Sony exec Mena Sato Kato joins Xbox to direct Japanese partnerships

Xbox may not have a strong presence in Japan, but its newest hire suggests it'll continue securing deals with Japanese studios to change that perception.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 31, 2023

1 Min Read
Logo for Microsoft's Xbox console.

Sony Interactive alum Mena Sato Kato has recently joined Xbox. Originally spotted by Windows Central, Kato will serve as the director of Japanese partnerships for Microsoft's games division. 

Kato operated as Sony's mobile VP from 2013-2021, and she wrote that her new position will see her "[lead] partnership efforts to support our Japanese partners globally. Opening up a new chapter, unlocking new experiences in the game industry."

Xbox in Japan

In the past, Japan (and Asia in general) has been a notable weak spot for Xbox, and consoles have often failed to move the needle in that part of the world. Things were apparently so dire that Microsoft considered acquiring both Square Enix and Sega as a way to boost its profile in the region. 

That said, Microsoft has made up for it by securing Game Pass-related partnerships with both aforementioned developers and Capcom. Remasters for several of Atlus' Persona games and a variety of Final Fantasy titles have shown up on Game Pass, and Capcom's Exoprimal from this past summer debuted on Game Pass at launch. 

Bringing Kato on board to lead more partnerships in Japan may lead to similar Game Pass deals down the line. It could even possibly lead to a smaller Japanese developer being acquired as an Xbox subsidiary.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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