Fourteen years ago, China enacted a console ban as the Ministry of Culture derided both the political and violent content in many games. Sure, black market console sales skyrocketed–but it was technically illegal to sell consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3 in China.
Last September, the country officially lifted the ban. Game consoles are now allowed to be sold in a free-trade zone in Shanghai, upon first being pre-approved by the Ministry.
And now, we know which console will be the first of its kind to enter the trade.
Microsoft has announced a deal with BesTV, a Shanghai Media Group subsidiary, to bring the Xbox One to China. The two companies' joint venture, E-Home Entertainment, was the first to be approved and registered inside the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
“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,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, marketing and strategy, Devices and Studios, Microsoft. “BesTV has a rich history of delivering innovative entertainment content. It is the ideal partner with which to bring the Xbox business to China.”
China has a pretty solid PC (online) and mobile gaming culture, as Microsoft says that half a billion Chinese gamers are now active. Of course, Microsoft wants to tap into that in a big way by offering their new console up to what they hope will be console-hungry gamers.
“The launch of Xbox One here will bring distinction as the first-ever game console with OTT functionality in China,” said Dazhong Zhang, senior vice president, Shanghai Media Group, and chairman, E-Home Entertainment Development Company Ltd. “The launch of Xbox is a milestone for our company in the family entertainment market and will create profit growth opportunities. Furthermore, we will continue our investment and support into research and development for gaming content together with Microsoft. Via our cooperation with the world’s leading team, we will continue to develop video games fused with Chinese culture and provide further distribution support for locally produced Chinese video game content to the world.”
Microsoft says that pricing and availability details are forthcoming.
Image via Microsoft Xbox, YouTube