Every six months or so I like to log in to my Japanese Xbox Live account to see what’s up. This particular evening I wanted to see if the currently-Japan-exclusive Anarchy Reigns demo was available to Silver users yet (no, and it won’t be for at least a week), but in the process I decided to see what other weird stuff I could dig up.
Over the years there has been a dwindling amount of “stuff I could dig up”. At this point, the only thing Japan gets that America doesn’t are weirdo dating sims - and I don’t mean the “well I’m sure it has a good story if you’re in to that thing” kind, either. I mean ones where the screenshots they show on the dashboard are of ladies who, from the shoulders up, appear to be naked. And then the next screenshot is you buying underwear for them. And then you’re lying in bed with that same girl. Yeah.
But I digress.
I was about to give up hope when I saw Japan had a demo for Monster Hunter Frontier 3. For those who don’t know, this is the lone Monster Hunter game for the 360, and it’s a port of a very old PC version that apparently nobody actually plays very often. Unsurprisingly, it’s never coming to America, as far as I am aware. Much to my shock, the demo for Monster Hunter Frontier 3 was only 20mb, which I quickly learned meant there was nothing actually playable in it.
What you see above is what the “demo” loads in to, and if you can’t tell what it is, it’s a webpage. On the internet. Complete with a scrollbar and a mouse cursor. Why is this important? Despite the Wii and Playstation 3 having web browsers, the Xbox 360 does not, and according to Microsoft, never will. That’s because of their staunch refusal to develop one, in the same way they refused anyone to publish keyboards and mice for the original Xbox, because they don’t want their console getting confused with a PC for whatever reason.
And yet here we are. Capcom is loading and displaying a webpage on an Xbox 360, telling you that if you really want to demo Monster Hunter Frontier 3, you have to sign up for the beta. That’s all this 20mb download is - a web browser pointing you to a page with sign up instructions.
It’s BIZARRE. It’s also laggy as hell, too - I don’t know if it’s a font incompatibility or what, but this web browser page renders at about 2fps. Moving the mouse cursor across the screen is sluggish and choppy, and scrolling to the bottom of the page takes what feels like nearly a full minute.
If you’re curious, clicking the first big link there (with the “CLICK!” text) very, very slowly loads in to a page where you’re given your download key and 48 hours of Xbox Live Gold for your troubles. As expected, trying to punch this in on Xbox.com while logged in to my American account returns an error, and I don’t feel like logging back in to my Japanese account right now, so we’ll have to find out if it actually works some other time.