Game consoles return to China with Xbox One launch

The Xbox One has launched in China.

If you're not a student of video games this may not seem like a big deal, but China has banned video game consoles for 14 years. The ban actually lifted last January but Microsoft is the first company to get its hardware on sale in the country. Sony has stated they'll be bringing the PS4 to China as well, but no date for that launch has been announced.

Over at Xbox Wire Microsoft seems justifiably proud of the launch. The post includes the obligatory pictures of happy gamers lining up to buy a console.

Of course the ban doesn't mean no one has been playing games in China; PC and mobile gaming are both alive and well in the country. It'll be interesting to see how well a dedicated console will sell. Beating Sony to market should be a major win for the Xbox and personally I've always felt that Xbox games tended to be more similar to PC games than Playstation games are (though I'll also admit that's a gross generalization) so Chinese gamers may feel more comfortable with Xbox games than they will with Playstation games when they arrive. If any console is going to do well in China I'd think it would be the Xbox One, but we'll see.

Meanwhile the situation in Japan is not improving for Microsoft. As we mentioned earlier this month the Xbox One launched in Japan on September 4th but sold only 23,562 in the first four days of being on sale, making it the weakest console launch in recent history.

From there things went from bad to worse, according to Forbes. In the second week the Xbox One sold 3,015 units, and the week after that just 1,314. As a comparison the PS4 sold 300,000 units in its first two days of being on sale. It's not clear what, if anything, Microsoft is doing to try to fix the Japanese launch.

To end on a brighter note, today marks the launch of one of only a handful of AAA console exclusives for this year and it's on the Xbox One: Forza Horizon 2. I've got it pre-purchased and pre-downloaded and I'll be racing around the streets of southern Europe as soon as I'm done with work for today.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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