Could China become the 3rd largest console games market?

3 min read


The Xbox One is doing dismally in Japan. At last count, the system had only sold 1314 units in the last week for a total of around 31,116 units since launch. That’s terribly depressing, but you might put that down to nationalism. Japan’s always favoured homegrown systems. The truth though, is that the other systems – the ones from Japan – aren’t doing all that well at home either, each selling through fewer than ten thousand systems in the last week.

It’s a situation Microsoft’s obviously unhappy with .

“It’s not as though we’re satisfied with the current sales state,” Xbox Japan boss Takashi Sensui told Famitsu (via Kotaku). “We hope to continue through taking user feedback and improving [the Xbox One] and offering content that everyone can enjoy. We are also aware that reaching out to let more people know about the Xbox One is vital.

“However, the current console generation has become very long. We hope to lay out a long-term vision and to focus on publicity for our console. Taking the first step was very important, and as for how to permeate the market from here, we hope to continue to do our best.”

That doesn’t mean Asia has forsaken the great big game-playing VCR from Microsoft. It’s the first console to be officially available in China in 14 years. Government put a ban on the things a decade and a half ago to stem the tide of Chinese players becoming addicted to games – sending them to internet cafes and grind-laden MMO’s instead. That ban’s been relaxed a little, and people there are obviously aching for a little console gaming action: The Xbox One has sold through over 100 000 units on its first day of availability. And that’s despite the system selling for $600, with games that are seemingly crippled by DRM.

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You might say that it’s the novelty factor; but the truth is that despite the ban, consoles have never really not been available. Hong Kong is just a bridged, driveable ocean away, and consoles have always been available through grey distribution anyway. China though, is a newly rich country, filled with people who’ve got expendable income. There are all sorts of rules and regulation still in place, making China a less-than-desirable region to launch consoles and games in. In the end though, it seems to be worth it – and it certainly has been for Microsoft.

“We know there are millions of gamers there and lots of pent-up demand,” says Phil Spencer, the company’s Xbox head.

With that sort of success, I quite rightly see Nintendo and Sony paying attention despite the still on going tensions between Japan and China. And I think within a year or two, China will be usurp Japan’s position as the third most important market for games. In fact, given the country’s population, It could even grab the number two spot.

Last Updated: October 3, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief 0


    Well done Geoff, well done!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Uh huh. If I was a Chinese citizen I’d rush out to buy a console with a spy cam.

    • JJ of Meridian

      But remember it’s actually always off when the console is off and will only listen for the command “Xbox on” and nothing else.

      • Viking Of Science

        How would you say “Xbox On” in chinese?

        • Admiral Chief 0


          • JJ of Meridian

            That’s Japanese. Damn it man. Get it right.

          • Admiral Chief 0


        • JJ of Meridian

          I fear if I answer that I might be called racist. 😉

        • HvR

          “Comrade Xbox Activate”

    • Hammersteyn

      We hope to continue through taking user feedback and improving [the Communist way of life] and offering content that everyone can enjoy. We are also aware
      that reaching out to let more people know about the Xbox One is vital. – said Chinese Government

  • ReaperOfSquirrels

    LOL @ Tags… seriously on a roll already Geoff

    • Admiral Chief 0


      • Viking Of Science


        • Admiral Chief 0

          Either or, not both!

          • Viking Of Divinity

            Arways both! It’s the ignolant way!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    lol @ tags

  • JJ of Meridian

    LMAO always makes me think of a French cat. (refresh)

  • Hammersteyn

    VCR lol

  • oVg Definitive and Remastered

    Not if the Dalai Lama has anything to do with it.
    Tooo Sooon

    ANC = African National China

    • Matthew Holliday

      China pretty much owns Africa, too true.
      doesnt help that they bring in their own work force for every project. or that the work force are all Chinese prisoners/ex cons that never go back to China.

  • FoxOneZA

    The China is more Westernized than the Japanese think. Huawei, HiSense and Foxconn are but a few companies that have brought about the demise to Sony, Panasonic and Pioneer. The Chinese seem to be more embracing towards new technology, so much that inevitably one day we may see the return of another Golden China console if consoles become a hit again over there.

    • Matthew Holliday

      The China is strong, yeah.
      however, if Sony and similar companies disappear, then so will the China.
      Professional knockoff business plan.

  • Xcalibersa

    Shipped or sold?

    We all know that MS cant understand the difference (like resolution)

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