Microsoft has brought in Mena Sato Kato, a former female executive from the Japanese side of PlayStation, to serve as the Director of Partnerships Japan for Xbox, representing the company to game studios in Japan.
What makes this interesting is that Kato has been a Sony loyalist since 1999, working primarily in the business side of the company. Her last position was Vice President of Mobile Business at JAPAN Studio, one of Sony’s game studios in Japan that recently closed down in 2021. She then moved on to work for the well-known business consultancy firm, EY Japan, for a short period of 1 year and 7 months before deciding to join Microsoft. In her LinkedIn post, Kato stated that her mission is to support Japanese game studios in expanding their global market and that she will be attending the Tokyo Game Show 2023 in September.
Phil Spencer, the Head of Xbox, previously admitted that their relationship with game studios in Japan was not strong and needed improvement. Since then, Microsoft has successfully negotiated with several Japanese game companies, such as Atlus, Capcom, and Square Enix (FF14), to bring their games to Xbox. Having someone like Kato, with direct experience in the Japanese game industry, to oversee these partnerships is a significant step forward for Xbox in Japan.