Xbox Series X leaks reveal why the new Microsoft console will fail in Japan

Microsoft's console has always notoriously flopped in Japan, the Xbox Series X could too.

Microsoft pulled the curtain back on the Xbox Series X last month, but didn’t reveal what the back of its upcoming console will look like. Then AMD irritated console fans by appearing to show the rear at CES 2020, only to later admit that the imagery was a render “not sourced from Microsoft.” But images of an alleged prototype have surfaced online. Curious gamers have been itching to know which peripherals the Series X will be compatible.

Two pictures that appear to show the front, back, and all of the ports of the Xbox Series X were posted to gaming forum NeoGAF Tuesday. The hardware includes two USB-A ports, an optical audio port, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI port, and a power connection.

Microsoft didn’t verify the authenticity of these images. A company spokesperson told Inverse it had “nothing to announce at this time.” But Thurrott’s Sam Brad claims the long, rectangular port in the middle is for diagnostic reporting, which is strong evidence that what we’re looking it is a nearly finished Xbox. If that’s the case Xbox is, once again, doomed to fail in Japan.

Every iteration of Microsoft’s console has flopped in Japan. A report on 2018 console sales by weekly gaming magazine Famitsu said Xbox One was by far the worst selling system in Japan, behind even the PS Vita, widely seen as a monumental failure. The Series X could be headed for the same reception because of its stout size

Its square footprint was estimated to be as wide as an Xbox One controller, but it’ll be roughly three times as tall as Microsoft’s current consoles, reported Gamespot. That might be alright for certain living rooms but bulkiness has been known to repel Japanese consumers, according to Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat.

“[The original Xbox] was huge and Japanese homes were small,” he said in a CNBC video. “That was the first thing that made Japanese people wonder, ‘Does this company know what it’s doing?”

Compactness and portability seem to still resonate with Japanese gamers, the Nintendo Switch offers both of those features better than any other system and it was the best-selling console in the country back in June 2019.

How the Series X ends up selling in Japan will also be based on what Sony’s PlayStation 5 ends up looking like. But an Xbox that resembles a PC tower more than a traditional console might not go over well overseas if history has anything to say about it.

Microsoft given the Xbox Series X a holiday 2020 release date, so expect it sometime between October and December.

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