Business

Xbox One Launches In China, Gets Leg Up On PS4

Sales of Microsoft's Xbox One have been consistently behind Sony's PlayStation 4, but now Microsoft could narrow the gap by beating Sony to China.

Xbox One Launches In China, Gets Leg Up On PS4
Getty Images / Andrew Burton
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It had been 14 years since a gaming console had been legally sold in China, but all that changed Monday with the launch of Microsoft's Xbox One.

Gaming consoles were banned in China back in 2000 over fears of potential harm to children's physical and mental development. That ban was finally lifted last year.

That's not to say consoles haven't been sold in China. It's widely known a black market for illegal consoles has been thriving for years.

This launch was initially scheduled for last week but was pushed back with no explanation as to why. It's hard to say just how well the console is doing so far, but there's huge potential in the market that Microsoft desperately needs to take advantage of. (Video via Microsoft Game Studios)

Sony's PS4 has been crushing the Xbox One in worldwide sales since both consoles launched last year. ExtremeTech reported in August that the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One 3 to 1.

But being the first console available in China will likely be a huge boon to business. GameSpot writes the total number of gamers in China surpasses the population of the United States.

Just because gaming consoles were illegal doesn't mean people weren't playing mobile and PC games in China.

Free-to-play smartphone games have been especially popular in China recently, and CNET notes that creates another challenge for Microsoft. It now has to convince people to pay the high cost of console hardware as well as the added cost of games, which they're used to playing for free.

And it's a pretty hefty price tag, too. The Xbox One bundled with Kinect is going for about $700 in China. That's $200 more than the current U.S. price.

With the ban now lifted, Bloomberg writes Chinese officials are very concerned about the amount of violence in video games. 

Because of that, some of the Xbox One's most popular titles like "Destiny," "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare," and "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" can't even be sold in China.

But a big help for Microsoft will likely be its recent purchase of "Minecraft" developer Mojang. The block-building game is hugely popular where it's already being sold and is likely to make it past Chinese regulators with no problem because of its educational value.

Sony and Microsoft's other rival, Nintendo — two companies based in regional rival Japan — have both stated they want to start selling consoles in China, but there's no word yet on when that could happen.

This video includes images from Getty Images.