Microsoft has announced that its game console, the Xbox One, will finally be reaching China in September of this year. Almost one year after the console originally launched, the world’s largest country will be receiving it, which should boost sales for Microsoft.
It took until January 2014 for China to open up Shanghai to game console companies like Microsoft and Nintendo. Prior to that, it was not possible to sell the devices within the country, given China’s incredibly strict laws. However, now that a free trade zone (FTZ) is setup in Shanghai, people within the country will finally have access to Western game consoles.
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China has 500 million video game players–that’s more than the US’ total population–so the decade-long ban on consoles was definitely something that Microsoft wanted to have overturned. However, even though sales will be permitted, there are lot of hoops to jump through and certain titles will still not be openly sold.
That being said, the ban had not prevented people in China from gaining access to the consoles nor will it prevent them from buying titles that the Chinese government doesn’t approve of. Officially, Microsoft will be working with a subsidiary of the state-owned Shanghai Media Group in order to launch Chinese-centric games. The subsidiary, BesTV, entered into a $237 million venture with Microsoft last year.
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After China released its rules regarding the sale of video games and their respective consoles, it was widely expected that Microsoft would become the first company to officially operate within those guidelines for a Chinese release. Now that the September launch data is official, it has been confirmed that Microsoft is indeed the first game console manufacturer to enter China since the ban was put in place 14 years ago.
Official sales numbers will likely change for Microsoft as a result of the Chinese release but the actual number of gamers may not change considering that the illegal market for consoles and games is already so large.
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Summary: Microsoft’s Xbox One will be released in China this September. The console will become the first one to launch in the country since a ban was put in place 14 years ago. Restrictions are still in place regarding the type of games that can be officially sold and marketed.
image credit: chinadaily