We wondered which game console manufacturer would be the first to jump into China now that the country has suspended its long-standing ban on game consoles. It appears today that Microsoft is the one most eager to take that plunge, announcing that it has partnered with BesTV to launch Xbox One in China in September.
Microsoft announced that BesTV will help provide entertainment content on the console. This will be the first Xbox to launch in the country, since the ban predated the launch of the very first Microsoft system. Enwei Xie will head up the Xbox China division as general manager.
The company boasts that nearly half a billion people in China play games, and Chinese gamers produced more than $13 billion in revenue last year. That means it could be a fertile market for Microsoft to grow its worldwide sales numbers, but it's a risky proposition. As reported when the ban was first lifted, Chinese gamers are accustomed to free-to-play games on devices they already own, like PCs and mobile devices. Buying an expensive console up-front will be unusual for the gaming culture in the country. Plus, one firm estimated that 70% of Chinese gamers only earn about $600 per month, making large game purchases a hard pill to swallow.