Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will launch in China this September.
It looks like it will be the first console from ‘the big three’ to arrive in the potentially lucrative territory since the Chinese government lifted its ban on foreign made game consoles.
BesTV New Media is the chosen local partner – a necessary move to appease the numerous and rigorous regulations governing the new business opportunity. Enwei Xie has been named as the general manager of Xbox China.
“This is a historic moment in our partnership as we work toward the first official Xbox launch in China. Xbox One will also be the first system of its kind to launch in China,” Xbox’s corporate VP or marketing, strategy and business Yusuf Mehdi said.
“The culture of games and entertainment is rapidly growing in China, with nearly half a billion people playing games – roughly a third of the country’s population and more than the entire population of North America. Gamers in China have shown they love gaming – mostly on PC, mobile and online - and game developers in China have been delivering innovative games for years. Creators and gamers alike have eagerly awaited a new generation of entertainment experiences in 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.”
However, analyst Piers Harding-Rolls has told VG247 that with 89 per cent of China’s $12.3bn video games spend in 2013 was on PC, Microsoft could be investing in a fruitless venture.
“Microsoft’s approach to bringing Xbox One to China appears meticulous,” he said. “It has partnered to bring local expertise and content into the venture, it has an established distribution network through its Windows business which it plans to leverage and its product positioning appears to be well blended and not overtly centred on traditional console games.
“Even with this approach, success is not guaranteed. What is clear is that, in a market where very few consumers game on consoles, success will not happen overnight. It will take significant time to educate the Chinese audience about the Xbox brand and Xbox One device – so strategic longevity, deep financial pockets and commercial staying power will all play a role in building towards success in the territory.
“As such, being early to the market gives Microsoft some worthwhile time advantage against its closest competitors.”