Officials from Microsoft have announced the appointment of a new head of the Japanese Xbox division, only ten weeks after the unsuccessful launch of the Xbox 360 in Japan. Takashi Sensui, 31, will replace Yoshihiro Maruyama, who will remain at Microsoft in a new but unspecified “strategic position” within the entertainment and devices unit.
Sensui joined Microsoft in 2002 as director of marketing for Xbox in Japan, where he worked with Maruyama to try to secure third party publisher support for the format in Japan. This included the deal to bring Square Enix’s Final Fantasy IX Online
to the Xbox 360.
Previous to this, he was managing director of the Japanese subsidary of U.S. equity investment company Internet Capital Group. Until 2000, he served as vice president of Marketing and Alliances at SAP Japan.
"We acknowledge that achieving success in Japan will not come easily or quickly for Xbox," Sensui said. "But we are confident that because Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best content for Japanese gamers, enabled by the online capability of Xbox Live, we will earn more of their business moving forward. I am excited and honored to take on this role."
Sensui’s task may not necessarily prove an easy one, with less than 100,000 Xbox 360 consoles sold in Japan to date, compared to an estimated 750,000 to 1 million in North America. The console sold just 1,288 units in the last week – its worst performance yet and once again below that of the GameCube.
With titles such as Dead or Alive 4
and [eM] -eNCHANT arM-
having had little effect on the format’s performance, Microsoft’s hopes for a turnaround in fortunes currently rest with Japanese-centric games like Q Entertainment and Phantagram’s Ninety Nine Nights
, and particularly with Mistwalker titles such as Lost Odyssey
and Blue Dragon