Former PlayStation executive joins Xbox to lead Japanese partnerships

Former PlayStation executive joins Xbox to lead Japanese partnerships

Microsoft has hired former PlayStation executive Mena Sato Kato as its director of partnerships for Japan.

She wrote on LinkedIn, "I will be leading partnership efforts to support our Japanese partners globally. "Unlocking new possibilities for the video game industry. I'm hoping to see a lot of you at TGS.

Microsoft's head of gaming Phil Spencer tweeted in response to news coverage, "Glad to have Mena leading our work on Japanese partnerships for Team Xbox."

Mena Sato Kato worked at Sony from 1999 to 2021, including a seven-year stint as the head of business development for first-party PlayStation game development in Japan.

According to the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, Xbox will be an exhibitor at this year's Tokyo Game Show, which will be held from September 21-24 and will be the largest event in the annual trade fair's history.

Microsoft is increasing its efforts in Japan with the Xbox Series X/S. The consoles were released on the same day as other territories, and Xbox CEO Phil Spencer stated early on that this console generation would better cater to Japanese players.

Spencer acknowledged the demand for original Japanese games on Xbox in an interview with Game Watch at last year's Tokyo Game Show.

"It's not too much to hope for," he remarked. "We recently met with Kojima-san from Kojima Productions and numerous other game developers to discuss bringing different games to the Xbox.

"We recognize that many game fans desire this. We are also aware of the widespread desire for Japanese games. We are working on creating such titles, so please stay tuned."

In a separate interview with Famitsu at TGS, Spencer was asked about Xbox's relationship with Japanese gamers.

"I have a lot of acquaintances and friends who make games in Japan," he explained. "We've known many of them for a long time, and we've been asking, 'What do you need for our platform?'"

"We listened to and received feedback from Japanese game creators." I believe that our ability to improve has led to trust, which has resulted in games being released on Xbox. I believe that feedback loop will result in many more Japanese games in the future, and I am pleased with this trend."

Following a decade of PlayStation console exclusivity, Square Enix's Final Fantasy 14 will finally be released for Xbox consoles in 2024.

Spencer made an unexpected appearance at the Final Fantasy 14 Fan Festival in Las Vegas to make the Xbox Series X/S launch announcement alongside Square Enix CEO Takashi Kiryu and Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida.

Spencer refused to comment on whether other PlayStation exclusives like Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 16 will also be released on Xbox in an interview with IGN last week, but he did say that the Japanese publisher's commitment to Xbox was "really important."

I understand that when people purchase an Xbox, they want to be sure that the fantastic games they want to play are on the way, he said. Square is one of the top publishers if there is one where that hasn't been the case.

"Sarah Bond, the corporate vice president of Microsoft's Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem, and I fly to Tokyo to have discussions. We've also spent a lot of time with Square. Of course, there will be business matters and relationships that need to be resolved in some games.

"However, I'll say it was really great to have Square's CEO and Yoshi there just to talk about their commitment to Xbox." Because I can say things like, 'I'm the head of Xbox, blah blah blah,' but having the CEO of one of the third-party companies commit to the platform was a very important step in my point of view.

"So you'll be hearing more," he added. "I'm not going to put any pressure on them. They'll have to find their own rhythm. However, it was very important to me and, from what I've heard from the community to the community as a whole, to have them commit to Xbox. And 14 was a bigger commitment."

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