Why does Xbox not have a local, regional corporate structure like PlayStation did and Nintendo does? Should they?

Jul 28, 2019
1,075
One of the most common sentiments I’ve seen in regards to SIE’s global consolidation is the fear or worry that the localized nature of the PlayStation brand, which allowed them to specifically cater to multiple different markets based on said markets’ sensibilities, may be gone with one place calling the shots for everyone.
I’m not going to speculate on what the future of Sony is on that front, but it got me thinking- why is Xbox, the brand that has the least global penetration of the three major platform holders, doing something like that? My understanding is Xbox already has a consolidated corporate structure based in the US, deciding the marketing, positioning, product development, messaging, and so on for every place, including the rest of the world. Clearly that has had repercussions including with the Xbox’s generally limited appeal in Asia and mainland Europe. Would it not be advisable for Xbox then to also have local corporate structures to help pitch it to each individual market and possibly gain better footholds there in the process?
 

efr

Member
Jun 19, 2019
762
My guess, is that Microsoft already has that setup and Xbox just uses the parent part of the company for that aspect. Since it doesnt sell very well worldwide, it doesnt need another useless corporate structure making excuses for their existence.
 
OP
OP
The One Who Knocks
Jul 28, 2019
1,075
My guess, is that Microsoft already has that setup and Xbox just uses the parent part of the company for that aspect. Since it doesnt sell very well worldwide, it doesnt need another useless corporate structure making excuses for their existence.
I think what I’m saying is that while piggybacking off of the MS global structure may have made sense at first, when it became apparent that the brand was having issues with global traction, they should have considered local corporate structures. Why are they not right now?
 

Nightengale

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,532
Malaysia
One would think highly of a disconnected regional structure when they're seen as successful like PlayStation.

Alternatively? SEGA today is the example of a messy disconnected organisation of three divisions doing their own thing.

A global structure is a good thing. What's important is being flexible about local needs on the marketplace, and that can be done via a global structure too.
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,832
This is s good question. It might make them more competitive world wide.

Like the post above says tho, it's like the chicken or the egg situation. They don't sell that good world wide, so is it needed?

But..would it help them sell better world wide....if they had that setup.
 
OP
OP
The One Who Knocks
Jul 28, 2019
1,075
One would think highly of a disconnected regional structure when they're seen as successful like PlayStation.

Alternatively? SEGA today is the example of a messy disconnected organisation of three divisions doing their own thing.

A global structure is a good thing. What's important is being flexible about local needs on the marketplace, and that can be done via a global structure too.
SEGA is the one and only example we have of local structures causing a mess. Sony and Nintendo have both had similar structures for decades without problems, and to great success, in fact. Conversely we see Microsoft with a global structure having issues with market traction in most of the world. Inasmuch as they actually care about the Xbox being successful on its own merits, this is something they should consider, that’s all I’m saying.
 

a11244

Member
Nov 9, 2017
676
The problem is Microsoft marketing on a worldwide scale. It's like they don't want to sell Xbox to me.
 

Waaghals

Member
Oct 27, 2017
374
Splitting the business into regional departments isn't always good.
With Microsoft you could always feel reasonably safe knowing whatever was annouced at E3 would be avaliable in your region about at the same time as it launched in the US. (The launch of the Xbox One notwithstanding).

With Sopny and Nintendo this was very much a crapshoot, though they have improved massively.

The flip side of this is that regional divisions can develop unique products that are well suited to their market, which is obviously a benefit.
 

Derachi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,054
It wasn’t an empowered division. It was basically a local outpost to liaise with retailers and developers.
There was a time in the mid 00's where Xbox, through it's Japanese division, was trying incredibly hard to court Japanese developers. It's how we got games like Phantom Dust and Metal Wolf Chaos, and later Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. I really don't think you have any idea what you're talking about.
 

Remeran

Member
Nov 27, 2018
298
There was absolutely a Japanese Xbox division a long time ago and it didn't help them move boxes there at all. So no, it won't.
So do you usually try things once and if it doesn’t work decide it’ll never work? It’s not black and white. There are many variables that make this a good/bad strategy. I’m not saying Xbox should do it, I’m just saying that to say it won’t work Because it hasn’t in the past is just plain ignorant.
 

Mass Effect

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,431
SEGA is the one and only example we have of local structures causing a mess. Sony and Nintendo have both had similar structures for decades without problems, and to great success, in fact. Conversely we see Microsoft with a global structure having issues with market traction in most of the world. Inasmuch as they actually care about the Xbox being successful on its own merits, this is something they should consider, that’s all I’m saying.
That wasn’t always the case for Nintendo though. During the Wii days things were pretty messy. NOE getting games but not NOA, NOA trying to do things but getting shut down by NOJ.

Things have gotten much better since then.
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,705
Microsoft has regional offices, and regional heads of marketing for different divisions around the world. The company has 150,000 employees, of which about 65,000 are outside of the US.
 

Peltz

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,462
Stucturing Corporations around sales of one product or even a large revenue pipeline isn't always the best thing for a multinational corporation. There are like a million other things that factor into it like taxes, IP ownership, corporate culture, other revenue pipelines of the corporation, appealing to shareholders, debt to equity ratios, etc.

Your question seems simple on the surface, but the financial factors at play are, alone, rather complex before you even get to all the additional less tangible variables. The answer is that we don't know why, but there are probably really good reasons why Microsoft is structured the way they are.

Although Xbox isn't as popular as PS and Nintendo, Microsoft as a whole is more successful than both.
 

Wereroku

Member
Oct 27, 2017
925
I mean Sony is currently in the process of consolidating some of their regional offices so clearly there are pros and cons to each method.
 

Windu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,385
I'm pretty sure they do. Just not as well known as a NoA. Probably more Microsoft offices than just Xbox though.
 

failgubbe

Member
Oct 27, 2017
65
Sweden
They do have an Xbox office in what i would assume is every country that they sell in, they share it with the local MS offices, like you have Xbox Sweden for instance that have it's own twitter and marketing teams.

Theyre not thaaaat active but they do events with retailers or special events for fans like one that i attended for Halo 4 where they had a rented concert hall with live choir etc playing Halo music and giving away swag
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,309
If anything Xbox has better local structure than Nintendo.
Microsoft has more offices around the world because of their other divisions that can also provide Xbox support.
Buying Nintendo in a smaller country often means being at the mercy of a private local importer that may or may not provide good support.
Neither of them are even on the same league as Sony though when it comes to local support.
 

crazillo

Member
Apr 5, 2018
1,766
Stuttgart, Germany
Xbox DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) streams games every day, they organize fan events like for the Gears 5 launch and have a big presence around Gamescom. They‘re not really much involved with strategic decisions or run separate campaigns or do their own videos, it seems. With Sony, apparently regional teams could prioritize things themselves before, but with recent changes, everything might become more centralized there.

Where I do see an issue sometimes is with the way ‚American‘ Xbox hypes their ‚biggest shows‘ yet, or when they make Inside Xbox a format targeted right at American breakfast TV viewers with those jokes. This can put off non-Americans, I think.
 
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rudeboyoslo

Member
Jan 5, 2018
44
There are Microsoft offices all around the world, and they handle Xbox stuff. Mostly local marketing, retail and so on. Some of those have quite limited resources though. Sony and Nintendo have their marketing people all around the world as well, even though in some countries that work is done by close partners.
 

gofreak

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,692
I'm not sure you can so easily correlate structure (international/global vs regional) with individual success at a regional level.

Independent regionals won't necessarily be effective or efficient in dealing with international partners, nor is a global/international core necessarily going to be out of touch with regional needs.

It depends on execution within either model more than the model itself I think.
 

Withnail

Member
Oct 26, 2017
146
US business culture is to control from the centre. This is true of other industries, not just videogames. I know people who work for a large US company in the UK and the level of central control is surprising.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just how it is.

Nintendo and Sony always knew that western success would require decentralised power, not control from Tokyo.
 

Komo

Member
Jan 3, 2019
3,296
Yes Microsoft has sites outside of just the main Xbox US, they've got Canada, BR, FR, UK, and a couple others.

Usually it's just large regions with their own local Xbox sites.
 

droog

Member
Oct 26, 2017
84
One of the most common sentiments I’ve seen in regards to SIE’s global consolidation is the fear or worry that the localized nature of the PlayStation brand, which allowed them to specifically cater to multiple different markets based on said markets’ sensibilities, may be gone with one place calling the shots for everyone.
I’m not going to speculate on what the future of Sony is on that front, but it got me thinking- why is Xbox, the brand that has the least global penetration of the three major platform holders, doing something like that? My understanding is Xbox already has a consolidated corporate structure based in the US, deciding the marketing, positioning, product development, messaging, and so on for every place, including the rest of the world. Clearly that has had repercussions including with the Xbox’s generally limited appeal in Asia and mainland Europe. Would it not be advisable for Xbox then to also have local corporate structures to help pitch it to each individual market and possibly gain better footholds there in the process?
They certainly used to during the Xbox 360 era - I worked as part of Xbox EMEA during that time. I left after the Xbox One was announced and I get the impression that a lot of centralisation happened around that time or just after (quite a few co-workers, both local and in Redmond, got laid off).
 

TheDoctor

Member
Oct 27, 2017
425
Yes Microsoft has sites outside of just the main Xbox US, they've got Canada, BR, FR, UK, and a couple others.

Usually it's just large regions with their own local Xbox sites.
Microsoft quietly closed down a number of smaller Xbox divisions about two-three years ago.

Xbox Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece, Singapore and a few others no longer exist. These markets are now being managed by teams in neighbouring countries (be it Germany, the Netherlands, Italy or Australia for Southeast Asia).
 

LukasHeinzel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
160
And after the recent layoffs at SCEE I wouldn't take Sony as a great structure either and and Nintendo is even worse.
 
Nov 6, 2017
44
They definitely handled local marketing as well
The guy they had handling marketing in Japan had spent his entire adult life working in the USA which lead to fuckups like him using the wrong term for "high definition" in all the xbox 360 adverts. Also Madden as the main 360 launch title (Wiki says that it didn't come out in Japan but that Condemned Criminal Origins was a launch title, which is wrong - I had to go into Akiba to pick up an import copy of that)
 

ps3ud0

Member
Oct 27, 2017
653
If Xbox had put anywhere near the effort into treating the world as if wasn't just America they would have done significantly better.

You have to realise that Sony developed a lot of (non-English) countries that were largely ignored by the likes of Nintendo and Atari ( just remember how different the home 'console' market was when the US one imploded) when it comes to localisations and catering to taste.

MS just made the same mistake other American companies have done before it and made such little effort by the time the XO came out. They killed their brand and market by never nurturing it.

With the Sony news I am straight away on edge as I'm afraid I just don't want to be treated like the average American.

ps3ud0 8)
 

Starlatine

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11,304
Not only they do have local offices and even local manufacturing, but nintendo is literally absemt from my country.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,981
Florida
I agree with you OP. What would make these divisions successful is if they each had their own budget to sign studios and talent. They are only used for Marketing and relationships today. Make them true unique divisions that contribute as a slice of the greater pie.

  • XBOX US & UK & CA Division
  • XBOX Europe
  • XBOX Asia
  • XBOX Americas (South and Central)
Put one person in charge of managing each division reporting to Matt Booty. Bonuses paid out for increased market penetration and profitability to incent performance.

  • Each division has a budget to sign studios & talent
  • Each division can localize marketing
  • Each division has their own customer experience team handling regional feedback and user experience.
Phil if you're listening I'm here to help and would love to help drive XBOX to greater success worldwide. There is a need to expand XBOX leadership beyond Seattle.