China may have banned video game consoles in the past, but that has now changed.
Eyeing the big and lucrative Chinese market, Microsoft will be releasing the Xbox One in China on September 23, the first console to officially arrive in the country after 13 years. Partnering with BesTV New Media to release the Xbox One in the country. Microsoft aims to sell 50 million units in China in the next 5 years.
According to Microsoft’s research, there are almost half a billion people playing games in the country. Thus the official push makes sense.
Taiwan Gets the Xbox One, But Cheaper
On the same day that Microsoft launches the Xbox One in China, it will also be released in Taiwan. Political issues aside, netizens were quick to see the disparity between the pricing of Microsoft’s console in the two countries.
In China, the regular Xbox One will be priced at HK$4,700 and the Limited Edition with Kinect is at HK$5,420. While both editions comes with a free-to-play Neverwinter Online, it cannot beat the pricing in Taiwan, where both editions will be bundled with a critically acclaimed game – Titanfall. Additionally, the console will launch at HK$3,350 (regular) and HK$4,130 (Kinect with Dance Central Spotlight and Kinect Sports Rivals).
Talk about a big disparity! It should be noted, however, that import taxes in China are higher than in Taiwan. Also, the Chinese will get a special edition “China Day One” controller when they buy it on the launch date.
I wonder how the higher pricing in China will turn out for Microsoft, especially since there is a big grey market in the Mainland. If gamers can acquire US Xbox One consoles at a lower price than the Chinese version, it is possible they will choose that over the official release.
China, Ouya, and Mi!
You might not heard of the Ouya. It’s an alternative gaming console that is literally mobile gaming on your TV. It runs on its own version of Android and it’s cheaper. While it cannot bring in the cash that it hopes to in the saturated US market, signs show that they are looking elsewhere.
In a statement with Reuters, Ouya boss Julie Uhrman announced its interest in bringing the Ouya to China in a partnership with Xiaomi. Most of our Vulcan Post readers would know Xiaomi as the maker of high-end smartphones that were sold out almost immediately during its flash sales in every country it has launched in, such as India, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Singapore.
So how will this partnership go? Ouya will not release the Ouya console in China directly. Rather, it will bring its games on Xiaomi’s smart TV Sets – the MiBox and MiTV. Users will then be able to download games that are exclusive on the Ouya platform. Ouya and Xiaomi will be sharing the revenue, though details of that were not discussed.
The Xbox and the Ouya seem to be in the same boat, as both are US consoles aiming to target China, a market which had once banned video games. There is still no official release date in China, although Sony has released the PlayStation 4 in most of Asia, ahead of Microsoft and its Japanese neighbor Nintendo. Will the official coming of consoles eventually disrupt the budding grey market in the yellow kingdom? We will all know on September 23.