Back in September Microsoft became the first company to launch a videogame console (the Xbox One) in China since the country lifted a 14 year ban on the devices at the start of the year. It was expensive though. The Xbox One with Kinect cost the equivalent of about $700 (4,299 yuan) according to VentureBeat. That's $200 more than it costs in the US.
Last week Sony announced that they were following Microsoft. The Playstation 4 and the Playstation Vita will launch in China on January 11th, 2015. The prices are a little better than what Microsoft was able to offer. The PS4 will be 2,899 yuan (about $470) which is only $70 more than the US price of the machine. The Vita will be priced at 1,299 yuan (about $210). Here's the Sony press release with all the details.
Proving once again that competition is a good thing for consumers, Microsoft responded to the Sony news by announcing a price cut in China. According to Kotaku the price of both versions of the Xbox One (with and without Kinect bundled) have been lowered by 500 yuan, or about $80. So the Xbox One with Kinect is now selling for $613 and the Kinect-less version is $517.
The Playstation 4 will still launch in China at a price comfortably cheaper, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of impact this has on Xbox One sales. That Kotaku article discusses some of the struggles Microsoft is having in the Chinese market.
Here in the US, Microsoft has lowered the cost of the Xbox One to below that of the Playstation 4 and as a result the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in November, according to Microsoft. Ars Technica gathered data to indicate that the PS4 may have sold only two-thirds what the Xbox One did in November. The last time the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the US was December 2013.
So far Sony has resisted any kind of price cut, though they did offer some bundles on black Friday that got you a game almost for free. If Microsoft can repeat its success in December and beyond, Sony is going to have to figure out some way to stop the trend. In a race to the bottom it's hard to imagine that Sony could beat out Microsoft with its cash reserves. It's really a question of how badly Microsoft wants to be number one.