Xbox One will officially be released in China in September with Microsoft proudly trumpeting the affair as a “first of its kind” event in the world of consoles. With no confirmed date for Sony to bring their rival PlayStation 4 console to China Microsoft are so far taking the lead.
A ban on gaming consoles put in place in 2000 in order to protect Chinese youth from unwholesome content was lifted by the Chinese State Council in January opening the doors for competing console brands to break into the world’s most populous country,
Writing on the Xbox site MIcrosoft exec. Yusuf Mehdi said, “On behalf of the entire Xbox team, we are incredibly excited to bring Xbox One and the next generation of games, entertainment, online education and fitness to China. Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and for the industry, and it’s a step forward in our vision to deliver the best games and entertainment experiences to more fans around the world.”
Console vendors trying to break into the Chinese market will have a few obstacles to overcome. Game content will be heavily scrutinised by the Chinese ‘cultural authorities’ and under the ban a PC gaming community has already flourished in China centered around Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, (MMORPGs) a genre which consoles are only really starting to attempt. There’s also a thriving ‘grey market’ In China for consoles and competition from Chinese companies making their own games machines.
China nonetheless is a huge market to get into and Microsoft’s move will no doubt be spurring on Sony to get PS4 ready for the Chinese market.