The burgeoning numbers of gamers in China will get finally get their hands on a new console come September when Microsoft’s Xbox One makes its China debut, according to an announcement on the official Xbox blog on Wednesday.
“Today marks a monumental day for Xbox, as together with our partner BesTV New Media Co., we announced we will bring Xbox One to China in September of this year,” said Corporate Vice President of Marketing Yusuf Mehdi in the blog. “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.”
The Xbox One is the first console to launch in China in more than a decade, as game consoles had been part of a government ban against various forms of entertainment until this past January.
“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,” Mehdi continued. “The gaming industry saw massive growth in the last year -- generating more than $13 billion in 2013, an increase of 38 percent in the last year alone. 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.”
Microsoft’s Xbox One launched on Nov. 22 last year in 13 countries, one week after the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4. Both consoles reportedly sold 1 million units within 24 hours of their shelf dates, but the PS4 currently seems to be outselling Microsoft’s device.
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“On behalf of the entire Xbox team, we are incredibly excited to bring Xbox One and the next generation of games, entertainment, online education and fitness to China,” Mehdi announced. “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. Enwei Xie will lead Xbox China as general manager, bringing years of Microsoft experience both in China and abroad.”
Last week, Microsoft also informed buyers the Xbox One will become available in Japan this September, though the price wasn’t revealed.
A smart ploy on Microsoft’s part to increase its sales? Probably. Will it work? Only time will tell. Currently, Sony appears to be winning the console war. PlayStation 4 sales have surpassed 7 million units worldwide as of April 6, according to a report on the official PlayStation blog.