The Chinese Xbox One console launch has been pushed back six days, Microsoft announced today.
After Sept. 23 came and went without the hardware appearing on stores shelves, the company said that it was targeting a new date, Monday, Sept. 29. Statements made by Microsoft indicate that the company's regulatory troubles in the region are spreading to other parts of its business.
When questioned by Reuters about the reason for the delay, Microsoft replied that the company takes "great care to ensure that we meet or exceed regulatory standards."
"Despite strong and steady progress, we are going to need a bit more time to deliver the best experiences possible for our fans in China," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement sent to eWEEK yesterday.
"At Xbox, we pride ourselves on delivering first-rate gaming and entertainment experiences and to allow us to deliver on that promise, we need to reschedule the launch of Xbox One. Working with our partner, BesTV, we look forward to launching in China by the end of this year," continued the company representative. BesTV, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, is an Internet protocol television (IPTV) company with 16 million subscribers.
This summer, Microsoft's offices in China—along with those of its partner Accenture—were raided by government antitrust regulators investigating the software giant's use of activation codes in Windows and Office. Microsoft relies on activation codes to combat software piracy and fraud.
On Sept. 1, after two rounds of raids, the country's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) pressed Microsoft for answers on its business dealings in China. A company spokesperson told eWEEK at the time that Microsoft is "serious about complying with China's laws and committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns."
Comments from Enwei Xie, general manager for Xbox China, suggest that the Chinese government is keeping a close eye on Microsoft.
"After receiving government approval for the first wave of games, we've decided to launch with digital copies of the first 10 games now and will continue our work to bring more blockbuster games and a broad offering of entertainment and app experiences to the platform in the months to come," he said in a statement.
China, which lifted a 14-year ban on game consoles in 2013, represents a potentially lucrative market for Microsoft's Xbox unit. Nearly a half-billion people in the country play games, according to the company. The gaming industry generated $13 billion last year, a 20 percent year-on-year gain.
"This milestone is significant for both our partnership with China and our global expansion plan. Every new market launch is unique and we're grateful to our fans for their patience and enthusiasm throughout the process," Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division, said in a statement.