Xbox One readies for national debut [China Daily: Hong Kong Edition]
(China Daily: Hong Kong Edition Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Though Microsoft Corp's Xbox One gaming console has crossed the final hurdle for its entry in China, the road ahead may not be that smooth, industry experts said on Tuesday.
According to the official website of the China Quality Certification Center, Microsoft's Xbox One gained the China Compulsory Certification, a security requirement for products sold in the Chinese market, on June Friday. The 3C rating for Xbox One is valid till June 3, 2019.
The 3C mark also clears Xbox One's entry into the lucrative gaming market after gaming consoles were banned by the Chinese government 14 years ago amid concerns that they may damage the mental health of young people in the country due to the violent and inappropriate content in the video games.
Microsoft and the Shanghai-based electronic manufacturer BesTV New Media Co jointly announced in April that they will bring Xbox One to China in September this year, which is seen as a positive signal for all Western gaming consoles, such as Sony and Nintendo, which had been barred from entering the Chinese market in 2000.
The launch of Xbox One in China is expected to be a milestone for the Seattle-based company.
"The culture of games and entertainment is rapidly growing in China, with nearly half a billion people playing games - roughly a third of the country's population and more than the entire population of North America," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice-president of Marketing, strategy and business with Xbox in a press release in April.
The gaming industry in China saw massive growth last year, generating revenue of more than $13 billion in 2013, a 38 percent year-on-year growth, said Mehdi, adding the entire Xbox team was looking forward to launching Xbox One and the next generation of entertainment products in China.
Gu Haoyi, an analyst with Internet consultancy Analysys International, said the Xbox would find favor with hardcore game players in China if it is available at prices that are on par with the gaming consoles available through illegal channels.
"Gaining the 3C mark is a very positive signal, meaning that Xbox One's access to the Chinese market is cleared," he said.
According to Gu, the official launch of Xbox One in China is expected to bring other value-added services, such as better customer experiences.
"If the price is not set too high, it will certainly attract the attention of Chinese gamers who are already interested in the console," said Gu.
Xbox's press team at Edelman China Group, a public relations firm, told China Daily in an e-mail that the company doesn't disclose its pricing strategy and it will share more details in the coming months.
However, to nurture a new group of users in China's huge gaming market may not be that easy, said Gu. "China's gaming market is dominated by personal computer-based games and mobile device-based games.
"Most of the Chinese gamers are not familiar with gaming consoles. It will take time for Microsoft to educate the market," he said.
Apart from the gaming console itself, many gamers are also concerned about whether or not Xbox would sell its games in China and what would be its pricing strategy.
Yu Yi, an independent analyst who has been following the gaming sector in China for years, said that there are concerns that Xbox's games may get censored in China or may even be barred in the country.
(China Daily 07/02/2014 page15)
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