Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) launched the Xbox One in 37 cities throughout China on Monday. Gamers and entertainment buffs can now purchase the device and appropriate accessories in over 4,000 outlets. Microsoft paired up with BesTV, a Chinese internet television company.
Microsoft’s plan for success in China
The new game console retails for $4,299 with Kinect, or 3,699 yuan (or $601 in U.S. dollars) without Kinect. The Xbox One debut actually coincides with the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone anniversary launch and joint venture FTZ between BesTV and Microsoft. This joint venture project helped Microsoft manufacture and sell Xbox game consoles in China alongside business partner.
Back in the year 2000, the China Ministry of Culture teamed up with seven other ministries and banned manufacturers from making and selling products in their country. Microsoft’s Xbox One is the first game console to be legally sold in China. Sony now has an eye on the Chinese market. The Japanese-based tech company will team up with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to start two joint ventures in Shanghai which include production and sale of PlayStation game consoles.
A few roadblocks may affect Xbox One’s success in China
Despite the big win for China’s game market, many major game titles such as Call of Duty will be banned. Right now, only 10 games for the Xbox One will be released, however Microsoft said 70 more game titles were in the pipeline. It is crucial for Microsoft to find a way to beat rivals such as Sony, which is currently crushing the competition with PlayStation 4.
IHS analyst Piers Harding-Rolls explained BBC, “There’s advantages and disadvantages in being first. There’s obviously potential. Overcoming the issues of piracy, overcoming the issues of pricing, having the right content to connect with the local audience – those are all big issues.”
The game console industry’s biggest obstacle may be the mobile game industry, which already enjoys an immense amount of popularity.