updated 12:30 pm EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Chinese launch of Xbox One follows lifting of foreign game console ban
Microsoft is working with Shanghai Media Group's BesTV on bringing the Xbox One to China for the first time, with the game console set to launch on September 23rd. Timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, the console will launch with a number of games in tow, including Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, and Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood.
Localization efforts for the console have led to BesTV offering thousands of hours of movies, documentaries, and on-demand TV shows to the console. Twelve of the world's largest developers including EA and Ubisoft are said to be making their games available in the region, while thirteen Chinese development houses are working on new titles and IP. Microsoft has also launched the ID@Xbox program in the country, making it easier for independent Chinese developers to create for the console, while two innovation centers will be opening up to help support game development efforts.
The Xbox One will be offered from 3,699 yuan ($599), with games from 249 yuan ($40) and Xbox Live Gold subscriptions starting from 199 yuan ($32). A Day One edition of the console with Kinect is also being offered for pre-order, at 4,299 yuan ($700).
The console's arrival in the country comes after a ban of foreign game console sales was lifted in January of this year, one that was originally set in 2000. The ban on foreign consoles was put in place to try and protect the physical and mental development of children in the region, though an active gray market skirted the ban, and helped the gaming market in the country reach an estimated 83 billion yuan ($13 billion) in value in 2013.
Sony has already made an agreement with OPCD, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, to produce PlayStation 4 consoles in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone for Chinese sale.