XBox One's Launch in China Faces Delays

Microsoft adjusts its timetable for the Xbox One's arrival in China. It was originally set for this month.

Microsoft Xbox One

Microsoft's planned Sept. 23 launch of the Xbox One in China has hit a bit of a snag.

The Xbox one was to be "the first consoles approved for sale in China through the Shanghai Free Trade Zone" on Tuesday, stated to Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing for Microsoft Devices and Studios in July when the company revealed that it was working with partners to bring the console to the Chinese Market. Shanghai Free Trade Zone, enacted last year, lifted China's 14-year ban on video game consoles.

Now, prospective buyers in China will have to wait longer, perhaps months, before they can take an Xbox One home. The console is expected to sell for 3,699 RMB ($600 U.S.) or 4,299 RMB ($700 U.S.) for the Day One edition that includes the Kinect motion sensor.

Microsoft is now targeting a release date before the end of the year, according to a Reuters report.

In a statement published on the company's Chinese blog, Microsoft said that it needed the extra time to work on final preparations with its partners. The post also revealed that Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox One in 37 cities and 4,000 retail locations.

"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 company spokesperson in a statement sent to eWEEK. "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."

Microsoft teamed with BesTV, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, to deliver entertainment offerings based on the Xbox One's multimedia-friendly architecture. BesTV is an Internet protocol television (IPTV) provider with 16 million users. "We're dedicated to earning millions of fans in China by working with BesTV to deliver an all-in-one games and entertainment experience," said Mehdi in a July 30 statement.

Microsoft also partnered with 13 Chinese developers, including Perfect World, Gamebar, Yingpei Games, Snail Games, NetEase and Tencent. More than 25 developers are working on more than 70 games for China.

The Redmond, Wash.-based tech titan isn't the only company eyeing the Chinese market.

Sony announced that the electronics maker was setting up a joint venture with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group on May to bring its rival PlayStation platform to China. The PlayStation 4, which launched a week earlier than the Xbox One in the United States is currently leading the sales charts.

On Aug. 12, Sony announced that it had sold over 10 million PlayStation 4 consoles and 30 million copies of related software worldwide. Microsoft has remained mum on the Xbox One's sales performance, other than revealing that demand picked up after the company released a lower-priced version of the hardware ($399 vs. $499) in June that lacks the previously bundled Kinect sensor.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...