Microsoft Delays Chinese Xbox One Launch21 Sep, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Video game console would have been first foreign-made device allowed to retail in communist country since 2000
China may be the market du jour for Hollywood movies. But tapping the world’s third-largest video game market ($14 billion in revenue) will have to wait a while longer for Microsoft’s Xbox One.
The software behemoth reportedly has scratched plans to bow the Xbox One in the communist country on Sept. 23 — delaying availability of the device until the end of the year. The company gave no reason for the delay, except to say it wanted more time to get the launch right, according to a statement.
“At Xbox, we pride ourselves on delivering first-rate gaming and entertainment experiences and to allow us to deliver on that promise we need to reschedule the launch of Xbox One,” Microsoft said, as reported by GeekWire.com. “We look forward to launching in China by the end of this year.”
China earlier this year lifted a 14-year-old ban on sales of foreign video games and hardware, which prompted Microsoft to partner with China-based BestTV New Media Co. Ltd. to roll out distribution of Xbox One, which is priced around $600 (3,699 yuan).
Yusuf Mehdi, head of Xbox business strategy and marketing at Microsoft, in a statement said Xbox One preorders in China have been “beyond our expectations.”
At the same time, the Beijing government is currently investigating Microsoft over alleged antitrust issues involving distribution of Windows and Microsoft Office software in the country, which may have played a role in the delay.
Meanwhile, Sony is readying a Chinese launch of PlayStation 4 after partnering with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Co. in May for manufacturing and distribution. PS4 continues to outsell Xbox One since their North American launches in the prior-year fourth quarter. No launch PS4 launch date in China has been announced.