Microsoft to launch Xbox One in China, the first console there in 10 years

30 Apr 2014

Microsoft will be launching its next-generation Xbox One console in China this September, making it the first gaming console to be released in the country since the Playstation 2 (PS2) in 2004.

The news marks an enormous step into one of the most lucrative markets on the planet. Chinese authorities had banned all gaming consoles in 2000, with the exception of the PS2, because of fears over the mental health of its younger population.

With the ban in place, companies involved in console gaming, such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, have had limited – if not zero – access to a market that has reportedly seen revenues of US$13bn in 2013, an increase of 38pc on the previous year.

Microsoft and the Chinese online TV company BesTV New Media have agreed to a deal to launch the Xbox One in China.

Up until now, PC gaming has dominated the Chinese market because of the console ban, something which could have contributed to its place as the largest medium for games worldwide, as well as poor sales of pirated versions of the most popular consoles.

However, the country’s strict censorship policy for games the central government deems as not suitable for its population, including ones that include drug-taking, excessive violence and sexual content, will remain in place.

The Chinese government has also recently banned games it deems to be critical of the Chinese government or showing it in a negative light. China, for example, banned popular first-person shooter Battlefield 4 for its depiction of the Chinese government as warmongers.

Xbox One demonstration image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic