After a bold move made last year, by Microsoft, to sell its Xbox One devices in the Chinese domestic market, console watchers have been keeping a hawk like eye on Xbox’ sales figures in order to assess and gauge the Chinese console hardware market size. However, the sales figures that have returned from the East Asian behemoth have not been very encouraging for Microsoft.
The Chinese government until very recently, i.e., till late last year, strictly enforced a 14 year old law that banned all foreign consoles and devices. The Chinese ban rested on the ploy that these devices could be used to display or communicate anti-national or anti-government content, a big concern for the Chinese government that leaves no stone unturned to maintain its iron grip on the Chinese populace. The Chinese government, although ostensibly allowed foreign consoles to be imported; at the same time, it implemented several restrictive rules and regulations.
Microsoft’s expected sales figures of 5 million units for the Xbox took a severe hit and only 100,000 units have been reported as sold. This problem was further compounded by the restriction imposed by the Chinese government, on games developed by foreign entities. Therefore, for its popularity, Xbox had to rely entirely on the domestic gaming content which did not create strong incentive pulls for the average Chinese gamer.
However, the same is set to change, especially after the Chinese government announced in the first week of this month that rules and regulations governing the gaming consoles would be relaxed. This meant that along with the above-mentioned restrictions, several other restrictions regarding manufacturing and selling locations that severely affected console sales will now be removed. This may have an immediate positive effect on the sales figures for the Xbox as well as for Playstation too. Currently, only the Shanghai Free Trade Economic zone is the only place from which the consoles can be manufactured or sold in China.
The same may turn out to be music to the ears of Sony, which had earlier planned a January 11, 2015 release for the PS4. Sony, however, had postponed that event to a future date after claiming that the on-going negotiations with Chinese government officials may have played a part in the launch delay of the PS4 in China. Perhaps, Sony must have been instructed by the Chinese government to hold the launch date by the time the government relaxed the rules and regulations governing the sales of consoles in China.