Xbox Japan chief steps down after poor sales of games consoles

This file picture taken on Nov 20, 2010 shows Microsoft Japan Interactive Entertainment Business general manager Takashi Sensui (left) delivering the company's Xbox 360 Kinect to a Japanese customer (right) at a shop in the electronic goods district
This file picture taken on Nov 20, 2010 shows Microsoft Japan Interactive Entertainment Business general manager Takashi Sensui (left) delivering the company's Xbox 360 Kinect to a Japanese customer (right) at a shop in the electronic goods district of Akihabara in Tokyo. The head of Microsoft's Xbox business in Japan has stepped down, but the company said the move was not linked to years of poor sales of the games consoles. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The head of Microsoft's Xbox business in Japan has stepped down, but the company said the move was not linked to years of poor sales of the games consoles.

Mr Takashi Sensui resigned on Sunday as "interactive entertainment business general manager" at Microsoft Japan, but he will keep working in the games business at the United States head office, the company said.

Microsoft said Mr Sensui's position would not be replaced, and added that his transfer was unrelated to sagging Xbox sales. It was "part of a global reorganisation of the Xbox business", a Tokyo-based Microsoft spokesman said.

Mr Sensui was promoted to head Japan's Xbox division in 2006 but sales have badly trailed those of Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Wii consoles. The September launch in Japan of a new model, Xbox One, fell flat with no enthusiastic crowds seen on sales floors despite a good reception in the United States.

Some game fans have attributed the unpopularity to a lingering bad impression over earlier technical glitches, as well as the console's design and game choice.

Xbox One sales in Japan totalled just 40,387 units from its Sept 4 launch to November 23, according to an estimate by leading game magazine Famitsu.

By contrast, Sony's PlayStation 4 has racked up sales of 784,638 units since its late February launch, the survey showed.

Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are aimed at hardcore gamers, strategies the companies hope will insulate them from the challenge posed by free or cheap smartphone downloads popular among casual players.