Final Fantasy XIII launched exclusively on PlayStation 3 in Japan last December, beating the multiplatform English release by just under three months, and the local Xbox 360 version by a year. The Japanese Xbox 360 game, dubbed Final Fantasy XIII Ultimate Hits International, arrived on December 16th, bringing with it an English voiceover track, an "Easy" mode and a bonus book. According to launch week sales figures, Square Enix's turnaround in supporting the Japanese 360 may have been overly optimistic.
Producer Yoshinori Kitase told Japanese mag Famitsu in September that the redesigned Xbox 360 hardware had revitalized interest in a local edition of Final Fantasy XIII. "We feel that there are ... a lot of people in Japan who own nothing but 360s," he said. "Thanks to the new system and such, the situation's a lot different than it was in July 2008."
In its first four days, Final Fantasy XIII sold fewer than 22,579 copies -- the cut-off point for that week's top 20 sales as tracked by Media Create -- and landed in the 39th spot. It's not an unsurprising outcome for a year-old title meeting a relatively small user base, but it raises an interesting question: Would Square have benefited more if it had launched its flagship property on both platforms last December, or was this tardy tradeoff its best shot at a small target?