Xbox One Hits China Today Following 14-Year Console Ban
Microsoft launches console in potentially lucrative market; launch titles include Forza 5 and Dance Central Spotlight.
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For the first time in 14 years, gamers in China have a chance to (legally) buy a gaming console, as Microsoft launched the Xbox One in the country today. China banned game consoles in 2000, citing potential harm to the physical and mental development of children. This ban was lifted in September 2013.
The Xbox One was originally expected to go on sale in China on September 23, but a last-minute delay pushed the console's release to September 29.
With more gamers in China than the total United States population, China is a potentially lucrative market for Microsoft. The company also has a first-mover advantage, as neither Sony nor Nintendo consoles are officially sold yet in the country.
Xbox One fans in China can choose from 10 games today, including Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Powerstar Golf, Zoo Tycoon, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Dance Central Spotlight, Neverwinter Online, Rayman Legends, Trials Fusion, and Naughty Kitties.
Console games in China must receive approval from Shanghai's local culture department, which will examine titles to make sure they do not harm China's culture and traditions or promote violence or drugs. This could be the reason why games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Titanfall, and Grand Theft Auto V are not available in China.
In China, the Xbox One costs RMB 3,699 ($602) without Kinect and RMB 4,299 ($700) with Kinect. Microsoft is no doubt hoping the Xbox One in China gets off to a faster start than the console did in Japan, where first-week numbers were weak.
September has been a major growth month for the Xbox One. With the console now released in China, the Xbox One has launched in 28 new markets this month alone.
Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch