China’s awkward, black-market-promoting ban on video game consoles seems to be coming to a close: Microsoft has reportedly joined with a Chinese company to bring the new Xbox One to China, with units slated to begin passing through Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone in September. The Free Trade Zone may not have given us the political freedoms we were hoping for, but it’s giving us Xbox and that’s pretty close.
TechInAsia has the scoop, and reports:
Microsoft and Shanghai-based electronics manufacturer BesTV sunk US$237 million into a joint venture to make an entertainment device for the Chinese market. Later on in December, the CEO of Funshion – in which BesTV owns a majority stake – mentioned the Xbox One would be released on the Chinese mainland this September. […]
Furthermore, it will require a huge effort to localize Western console games for the local market. Each game must be vetted and approved by the Shanghai government’s culture department, as the joint venture is based in the city’s free trade zone.
We’ve had a few false alarms about China lifting its console ban (most recently a lot of rumors last October that failed to pan out) but now, with Microsoft’s blessing and the guidance (see: censorship) of Shanghai’s FTZ authorities, the day has finally arrived.