Culture and why it matters to your business

In 2003, an Xbox game received an extremely vocal and negative reaction due to religious content that was deemed offensive. Kakuto Chojin: Back Alley Brutal, developed by Dream Publishing and published by Microsoft Game Studios, contained verses from the Qur’an chanted in the background. Since the majority of Muslims believe the Qur’an should be handled with the utmost respect, as it is the literal word of God, there was considerable outrage among many groups for the perceived lack of deference afforded to the Qur’an in the Xbox game. As a result, the game was recalled and the companies involved alienated many potential customers and experienced a loss of sales – a loss that could certainly have been avoided.

Text by Huiping Iler


If Dream Publishing and Microsoft Game Studios had taken the time to conduct the necessary research and if they had understood the importance of culture when selling a product or service in foreign markets, it wouldn’t have come this far. The companies should have realized the importance of Islam to many people throughout the Middle East and should have been able to tailor the game when selling to that particular market.

What is culture?

Culture is comprised of many different elements that have been passed down for generations, including knowledge, beliefs, experiences, values, attitudes, religion, art, ideas, laws, morals, customs and ways of perceiving the world. Some aspects of culture are visible, such as the way people dress or the food that they eat, while other elements of culture are invisible, such as the importance of religion, beliefs surrounding the role of family in a ...