In an unusually direct statement from Nintendo of America’s vice president of corporate affairs, Perrin Kaplan, the NOA spokesperson has poured scorn on Microsoft’s likely success of winning over the Japanese games-buying public with the Xbox 360.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with consumer game website IGN, Kaplan claimed that: "Xbox has no recognition at all in Japan and very few people are aware of or anticipating Xbox 2 at this point. Microsoft has had no success in the Japan market and they were required to attract such developers in order to have a chance in the market. Further, those developers won't be making software for that system that are currently known and loved on other systems, such as Kirby
Interestingly, Kaplan also stressed that the PlayStation 2’s current stranglehold over the Japanese market was primarily due to its launch positioning, commenting that: "Their early launch date and marketing push along with a solid library of games gave them momentum that they still enjoy today." An emphasis on an early launch is usually a line favored largely by Microsoft, with Nintendo usually attributing relatively little importance to it – if only because their last two consoles have launched last in the cycle in North America.
Kaplan also seems to refute arguments about the Japanese games market in general, which some have suggested is still financially depressed, commenting that it "might make more sense is to say that it's changing", and that the portable gaming market remains particularly "vibrant" (a reference, no doubt, to the recent and continuing success of the Nintendo DS in Japan.)