At long last, after much speculation, many rumors, and numerous false-starts; change is coming to China with the official launch of the Xbox One today. It’s not democracy, but it’s a start.
The release by Microsoft is the first gaming console release after a 14-year ban in China (the Xbox was introduced in 2001) that was finally broken in an agreement made for the free trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai. The long-rumored release was originally scheduled for September 23, but waspushed back as Microsoft came under government investigation involving anti-trust violations with its products like the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office, according to Reuters.
Microsoft could use a strong launch in China as it lags behind in third place (out of three) in the newest console race. Microsoft has sold around 5.2 million Xbox One consoles, behind Sony’s Playstation 4 (10.3 million) and Nintendo’s Wii U (7.2 million). The Xbox One launch was particularly poor in Japan with barely 25,000 consoles sold in the first four days.
China is home to legions of “brain-damaged” gamer zombies that make it the third largest gaming market in the world with more than 517 million gamers, according to research firm EEDAR. But, the problem plaguing Microsoft’s landmark release is that Chinese censors don’t like fun and have yet to agree to important release titles like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and Destiny.
According to Microsoft’s online store, the Xbox One is selling at 4,299 RMB for the deluxe package including the Kinect and 3,699 RMB for a basic package with no Kinect.
This could be the start of something.
by Alex Linder
[Images via Microsoft & Flickr]