Former PlayStation exec looks to help Xbox grow in Japan

by Kareem


Kareem is a journalist from the bay area, now living in Florida. His passion for technology and content creation drives are unmatched, driving him to create well-researched articles… read more

Mena Kato - Microsoft Xbox Exec

Microsoft’s Xbox brand has historically struggled in eastern markets, and with Japanese audiences in particular, most of its gaming success coming from western markets, but a former PlayStation executive has a plan to change that.

According to a profile piece on Mena Kato, the former PlayStation executive turned director of Japan partnerships for Microsoft, is taking a different approach to broaching the two-console dominance of Nintendo and PlayStation in Japan.

Using local experience and a background of success with the PlayStation brand, Kato is looking to reverse the Xbox fortunes in Japan to “better bridge the gap between Japan and the rest of the world,” and doing so by teasing expansion to developers and studios.

Japanese publishers will definitely need us in expanding their business. It would be difficult to do that just with the PlayStation.

Mena Kato – Bloomberg

Dangling the prospect of more revenue and profits via an often overlooked third console option isn’t Kato’s only focus, she is also doing the little things that lost the Xbox brand trust amongst Japanese publishers such as successfully conveying concerns and feedback on documentation translation and broader global promotion campaigns of eastern titles, presumably akin to Xbox exclusives.

When the notion of the chicken and egg situation Microsoft finds its Xbox currently experiencing in Japan came up, where there aren’t enough consoles being sold to re-earn developer attention, UBS Securities analyst Kenki Fukuyama pivots to the billion plus audience of Windows.

Microsoft offers huge scalability to Japanese publishers as there’s virtually no country without Windows PCs. When it comes to access to game fans in emerging countries, Sony and Nintendo just can’t compete with Xbox.

UBS Securities Analyst Kenji Fukyuama

Fortunately, Microsoft has been intertwining its Windows and Xbox platforms into a more consolidate gaming experience with the revamped Xbox app on Windows at the same time Japanese publishers look to grow profits through rereleasing titles to PC in previously unexplored markets at minimal costs.

Who better to help expedite the transition for Japanese publishers into the PC market than the owner of both a gaming division and the leading gaming operating system on a computer, Microsoft.

Obviously, Microsoft will need to reverse course on a decade plus of miscues and missteps in its relationship with Japanese developers, but Kato and head of Xbox Phil Spencer seem committed and focused enough to wade through the tough negotiations ahead.

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