What's Behind Microsoft's Sudden Xbox One Delay In China?

Two days before the Xbox One was scheduled to launch in China, Microsoft unexpectedly pushed the console's rollout back to the end of the year.

What's Behind Microsoft's Sudden Xbox One Delay In China?

Less than two days away from its highly anticipated arrival, Microsoft has suddenly delayed the Xbox One's launch in China — and nobody's quite sure why.

The company's official statement to the press doesn't offer any solid explanation for the delay; it simply states the company needs "a bit more time to deliver the best experiences possible for our fans in China," and promises to launch the system by the end of the year.

The announcement comes just before the Xbox's planned launch date, Sept. 23. Back in July, Microsoft first announced it was partnering with media company BesTV to bring its latest game console into China, at about $600 per unit.

The console was on track to become the first new game system legally sold in China since the year 2000. The country recently relaxed a 13-year ban on video game systems, and being first into the Chinese market could give the Xbox One a much-needed leg up on its competition. 

The rollout seemed to be going according to plan: Shanghai's Dragon TV reported in August the console had fully cleared the approval process, and last week a Microsoft exec told state-run outlet Xinhua the launch was "more efficient than in any other country." So what went wrong?

A Forbes writer says the most likely explanation is an unforeseen legal setback, due to the company breaking new ground with the launch. "Still, it's strange that the delay was announced literally three days away from the supposed launch, meaning something rather big must have come up rather quickly."

The Inquisitr speculates the delay might be related to a Chinese antitrust crackdown which has been plaguing Microsoft. Chinese investigators have raided Microsoft's office twice in recent weeks, although those investigations aren't believed to be Xbox related.

It's also possible the delay had something to do with Microsoft's rumored plans to reintroduce strict DRM policies on Chinese Xbox consoles — policies that were roundly condemned when the console was first announced in 2013. (Video via IGN)

Despite the delay, Microsoft says it's still planning to go through with its big launch event on Tuesday, and will give out 100 Xbox One consoles to attendees. Chinese preorders for the console will still be honored, along with an unknown "added bonus" from the company.

This video contains images from Marco Verch / CC BY 2.0.