Xbox360 in Japan


My project is finally wrapping up so I decided to get an XBox 360 since I finally have some time to play games again. Living in Japan the question comes up do I get a Japan 360, an Asian 360 or a USA 360. Some games are region locked so if I get a USA 360 then I can generally only play USA versions of games. Since I live in Tokyo that means I have to play expensive import prices.

Well, a friend told me his local game store was blowing out their launch day 360s they still had left over for 29700yen. As of the day I bought it that translates to U.S $261 for a brand new un opened Xbox 360 premium pack. That was too good a deal to turn down. If you needed any proof 360 is not doing well in Japan, here it is.

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I got it home, it appears to have the Hitachi DVD drive which is supposed to be loud. I haven't purchased a game yet so I haven't been able to hear it going at high−speed yet but it was quiet with a regular DVD−Video so I'll cross my fingers I lucked out and got a quiet 360.

I had quite an issue setting it up though. I have a Japanese XBox Live account but according to my 360 owning friends I really want to be on USA XBox Live for the latest demos and games many of which are not available on Japan XBox Live.

Unfortunately the XBox Live signup forums require me to enter a State and Zipcode for my billing address. Because I live in Japan I changed my mailing addresses on my U.S. credit cards to Japan so there was no way to sign up for a new account. I even called them (India), hoping they could sign me up manually but they just verified that I was S.O.L.

First off, I understand this is not the normal experience because I live outside the U.S. but still, I'd argue Microsoft went out of their way to limit things needlessly. Microsoft is not alone, lots of companies do this kind of stupid stuff but most forward thinking net aware companies realize that people live all over the world and they'll lose sales if they don't allow exceptions.

Anyway after an hour or more of trying, calling customer service, chatting with customer service and even failing to find a U.S. credit card I haven't used in 4 years, I settled on signing up for a free silver account on USA XBox Live and just using a Japanese Live Gold Account. The next issue will be if I cancel my Japanese Live account will I still be able to play any games I bought from XBox Live Arcade.

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