Can't think outside the XBox


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Been reading the gaming news lately? If so, you're probably familiar with the recent rift within the Microsoft XBox subsidiary in Japan over layoffs. Seems that severely poor sales of XBox hardware and software in the land of the rising sun has lead to a 17% reduction in staff at the company. Sounds like everyday news? Guess again.

Only recently has the concept of company jobs being temporary been introduced in Japan, it's been customary and tradition to have a company job for life. So you need to imagine what it must feel like for someone in Japan to suddenly find themself without a job. As many Americans can agree, the feeling of being laid-off is nothing short of devastating. The misery-loves-company comfort in knowing so many others have gone through the same thing is a 'luxury' the Japanese do not share.

Adding insult to injury would best describe what subsequently happened to those unfortunate XBox employees: once informed of their termination they were not allowed to speak to the other employees, and were escorted off the premises. Ouch!

And though this does not seem unusual behavior to our Western society, it has caused quite a stir in Japan and has tarnished the already languishing image of the XBox there. The business-as-usual tactics of Microsoft will not soon win over Japanese culture. Furthermore, will our Western culture ever realize that treating people poorly and without respect is bad karma? Are we all too desensitized to worry about nurturing our souls? Or is there truth in the saying "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger?"

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