Developer American McGee has described Microsoft’s decision to release Xbox in China as a ‘blunder’.
China-based McGee, the creator of titles such as Alice: Madness Returns and Bad Day LA, is the second vocal critic of the strategy after analyst Piers Harding-Rolls said yesterday that “success was not guaranteed” in the region.
“It's a good thing Microsoft is rolling in cash, because they've just made announcement of a plan that's going to cost them dearly. Of course no one reporting on this is any wiser to the blunder than Microsoft,” McGee said on Facebook.
He claims that Xbox One and PS4 are already widely available in the region, regardless of any governmental bans and that the set-top box market – of the Android and streaming variety – is already saturated.
Then of course there’s piracy. Adds McGee: “If you've not seen piracy in China, you've not seen anything. It's massive, awe-inspiring, and will poke giant holes in even the best digital content plans.”
He also questioned Microsoft’s target demographic.
“The target market of kids/young-adults from middle-class/wealthy families don't have free time to spend on console games (or TV/movies),” he said. “Between the ages of 3~22 years of age they are heads-down with study, school, and extra-curricular activities that will increase their chances of competing successfully against others in the super-hot Chinese job market. Those that aren't studying don't have money to spend on a console.”
He also said that the Shanghai-governed censorship restrictions will put a tight squeeze on content, saying: “Any console shipped out of the Shanghai FTZ will be unable to play any games other than those approved by the Ministry of Culture (and other media oversight bureaus).
“That means content for the device will be limited and inferior to what could be had by purchasing a black-market console on Taobao. Chinese consumers are wise to hardware/software restrictions and prefer to purchase ‘rooted’ devices whenever such restrictions are put in place.”