Microsoft’s Xbox One console is now available to buy in China for 4,299 yuan ($699). It is the first major console to become available in the country since a ban on consoles was lifted in January. The Xbox One was originally due to launch last week but unspecified problems delayed the release until today. The move will give Microsoft a major advantage over rival Sony, who have plans to release the PlayStation 4 in the country, in terms of sales as China has a large market available for video game hardware.
Both Microsoft and Sony will have their walk cut out if they want to become a success in this new Asian market. Although consoles were banned in China there was a large black market operating which makes hardware available at knockdown prices and provides access to huge numbers of pirated games.
Selling the Xbox One in China may boost sales significantly, something that is much needed as the successor to the Xbox 360 is currently struggling to keep pace with the PlayStation 4. Sony’s home console has outperformed it in Europe, the US, Japan and other key markets since releasing last year.
Only 10 titles are currently available to buy in China, though Microsoft have announced that they are looking to bring a total of 70 games to the region in the future. However, they face a major obstacle in bringing violent games such as Call of Duty, Halo and Destiny to the market due to China’s strict regulatory roles.
Analyst Piers Harding-Rolls told the BBC that the tech giant may look to bring titles such as Minecraft to China as they would not fall foul of the rules against violent games. “I don’t think Minecraft has been heavily exposed to the Chinese market,” Mr Harding-Rolls said. It ticks all the boxes for regulatory requirements in China. It’s educational, it’s not heavily violent.”