The weird pricing and policies of the Xbox One in China

2 min read

The Xbox One is apparently going to be the first official gaming console to be sold in China since consoles were banned back in 2000. There have been times when the Xbox 360 was allowed to be sold but only in certain areas and only for a short period of time.

But what strikes me as even stranger than China’s weird anti-gaming policy is some of the decisions that Microsoft have made in the lead up to the Xbox One launch in China next week.

First up the price of the console is a rather hefty $600, which is only moderately more than we pay but China is a much larger economy and the consoles are actually manufactured there so there are no customs or shipping charges. To put it in perspective the same Kinect less version in America only costs $399.

But China does get some relief as their games are reported to cost between $15 and $40 each which is a saving of between $20 and $40 over their American counterparts. At first look this seemed like a good deal but Microsoft just surprised everyone by also announcing that the Chinese Xbox One’s will be region locked and the games will require a one-time code to be activated, they will then not be able to be resold.

Read  The new Xbox One Dashboard is now open to everyone

Yes that same idiotic policy they tried to shove on the West didn’t die it just got benched until Microsoft could find the perfect country to abuse.  Microsoft has not commented on why they are bringing the policy back but you can be pretty sure it is directly related to the high instance of piracy in China.

The big worry for us as gamers though is if this works in China you can expect it to start sneaking into other countries with piracy problems and then into every region on the planet.  I guess the real question though is whether or not the Chinese are going to be interested in the Xbox One or if this is just another Asian market that Microsoft simply can’t get right. So far it’s not looking positive for them.

Last Updated: September 18, 2014

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • MakeItLegal

    I have to say my iOS hates the new website find it hard to navigate and open links , any body els using an overpriced iPhone to view the site ?

    • Admiral Chief Assassin

      Nope. Using proper device this side 😛

    • Jedi Consular Kromas

      Have you tried turning it off and on again?

      Alternatively buy an android phone.

      • MakeItLegal

        Yea I am thinking the same thing

    • Also get issues.

    • Anon A Mouse

      It’s because the website looks a lot like the windows home screen, it’s not apple compatible.

      • MakeItLegal


  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    China is a massive market, but is it really a massive market for Xbone sales when the majority of people are more concerned with feeding themselves & getting enough sleep before the next work shift?

  • Ryanza

    So they DRM’ed the Xbox One in China. That console is going to get chipped so fast in China.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      That’s why they want them to activate games online.

      • Ryanza

        I get that Microsoft needs to test out their online DRM on a mass scale. But if they want to combat piracy in China there shouldn’t be restricts on the device and games should be cheaper. It’s a catch 22 but in the long run you will combat piracy. But restrictions and no resales = piracy.

        • This Guy

          I think the region lock is in response to China’s strict control on content. Their government tries to control everything the people see and use including TV and internet and if the console weren’t region locked, people could use games from other countries not approved for Chinese consumption.

    • Hammersteyn

      Well it is made in China

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I bet a factory worker who spends his whole day soldering a transistor onto Xboxes can’t wait to get home & play with the rest of it.

        • Hammersteyn


  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Is that a Chinese Homer sitting on a doughnut holding a pretzel & ben wa balls?

    • alcatraz5953

      anal beads perhaps?

  • Hammersteyn
  • Hammersteyn

    Is that Pieter in the header? 😛

  • Spaffy

    So they manufacture the consoles in the country you are not allowed to own one?

    • Hammersteyn

      Sure you can, for $600

      • Weanerdog

        I am sure they have been selling cracked ripped off ones for months already at a fraction of the price.

      • Spaffy

        Yea, I was referring to “sold in China since consoles were banned back in 2000.”

  • Hammersteyn

    Speaking of cracking the Asian market, Does anything ever launch in North Korea. Last I heard not even their missiles launches properly

    • Admiral Chief Assassin

      Oh snap!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Now Mr Bongos can put his South African lingo to even more use: Howzit China!

  • Ryanza

    Can you only get one game per console.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      No, but family sharing is limited.

      • Hammersteyn

        This! I see what you did there.

      • Eish 0_O

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Just think how much money Ubisoft & the like can save by not having to appeal to a female gaming demographic, because there isn’t one. Some MBA is probably sitting there O_O 😀 😀 😀

          • So true! And they can advertise smoking too! Double win!

  • Oh man. That is such bullshit.

  • FoxOneZA

    If games are that cheap, people won’t complain. It’s the same philosophy as Steam.

    Why should the buck be pushed onto the consumer to initially pay twice the “real” price of a game just to cover piracy and secondhand sales whilst the consumer gets a shallow half-baked so called “AAA title” which in essence was more of a “AAA” marketing campaign than worth your money.

  • Jedi Consular Kromas

    Seriously?. Most of the old xbox and ps rooting instructions where “made in China”. Good Job MS. We will have hacked XBones within a week after launch.

    They really are getting dumber over there.

    Now let us see what Windows 9 is going to force on us during the reveal in 12 days time.My current bet is complete app domination with no more conventional software installs aka. the day MS loses half their stock value.

  • Sk3tz0

    Microsoft all like.. We gonna sell an Billion Consoles to every dam Chinese person and then finally be superior to Sony

  • FoxOneZA

    SIgh…this is just a rumor… moving along…

    • Xcalibersa

      Sad bot is sad

  • Curious Person

    Can someone please explain to me why everyone is giving MS
    so much grief about them implementing this one time activation codes… in my
    mind, this is exactly the same thing as CD-Keys that you ‘oh-so-glorious-master-race-gods’
    have been stuck with, since.. What….1996/1998 ? and I’m not talking about steam
    or origin or whatever, I am talking about retail games you buy that you install
    with a key

    In fact, I cannot think of any software that you can “legally”
    buy, second hand.

    Maybe I’m just ignorant, or an idiot but I feel that this is
    the internet ‘in thing’ currently, to burn on MS for every little thing they
    do, like insulting hipsters and iphone users…

    • I think it;s the fact that once you use the key, you cannot use that game on another console.

      • Curious Person

        Fair enough, but I can think of a bunch times were I “borrowed” a title from a buddy and ended up being frustrated that their key was already in use

      • This Guy

        Guess that’s where their original sharing idea would come into play. Any word on if they are bringing that back as well?

    • Johan du Preez

      You are living in the 90’s no cd keys for over a decade now on pc.

      I get it your a fanboy and butthurt because everyone deservingly points out flaws with MS. They fuck up so much its hard to ignore it.

      Do they deserve it ? Absolutely !!!

      But hey keep on sucking satans cock the rest of us prefer vaginas.

      • LowestoftheLow

        Wow. do you play a lot of COD? You should have finished him off with a power move by talking about his mom

      • Curious Person

        Yes, yes, I’m a fanboi, whup-de-duu…
        There is a very fine line between fucking up and having a genius breakthrough, unfortunately MS tried something that valve had major success in, which flopped and now every single little thing they do, gets so over-exaggerated.
        take your reply for example.
        I asked a simple question, and expected a strait forward answer, which is my fault, yes, but hey, I’m an optimist.
        Go buy a retail pc game right now, I am 100% confident it will have a cd key, apart from that, nothing else you stated had anything to do with my question what so ever. also, no – i don’t thing you are a CoD player, that sounds more like a DOTA player

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          In most cases the key you get with a retail copy is a Steam key, so it’s linked to your Steam account when you install it.

          • Curious Person

            Steam, Origin and whatever else that’s available, you still end up registering the game to an account. the fact is ALL retail games still have cd-keys and I would say.. about… 60% of them are lined to some sort of DRM.

            Which again points out that people are just burning on MS because its the “in thing” to do.

    • Jedi Consular Kromas

      I can give you my copy of Starcraft right now. The CD-Key is linked to the physical disc and therefore I can sell it to you. This is different to say a Steam game that is linked to your account. I can however still get you to log in with my account and play my games (as long as I am not logged in and playing myself).

      Now here is the thing. Xbone games linked this way will be completely linked to the Xbox hardware ID. So if your Xbone were to say break then you would lose all the games you bought along with the Xbone. The system is extremely flawed as it is right now.

      tl;dr Games are linked to hardware and no live account so it is bad.

      • Curious Person

        Yes, but now, will you give me access to your Steam account? and with that argument, what’s stopping me from giving you my xbox live account details ?

        And true, this is the case with old games, I can also give you a copy of my halo 3 (because im such a fanboi 😉 ) and you will be playing without issues, but this is not the case with new games… Starcraft 2, for that matter.

        The PC market is so used to this, they don’t see the problem.

        The big difference is, the pc market has the choice between DRM or DRM free, (witcher 3), and ironically, 90% of you will choose to buy Witcher 3 on steam ^^

        I am have allot of difficulty accepting the fact that xbox one games is linked to the hardware and not my live account to such a degree that if my console bricks, I loose the license to that title. I have not heard anything about this since launch there is no way, in this day and age, that this type of thing that won’t be reported on even, I personally have not anything like this on any game related sites, including this one, but if this is the case, then yes, I will understand why everybody is so “pitch fork, tar and feather” about the whole issue.

        • Jedi Consular Kromas

          Actually I can allow you to access my steam account via your steam account and as long as I am not playing a game you can play my games.

          also I refer you to this link

          This was retracted about 5 hours after the original E3 announcement but it still stands as the example.

          • Curious Person

            If you are referring to the Steam Family sharing, Yes, true, and Xbox may or may not have this down the line, but they probably wont.

            It was however something that would have happened, if they didn’t turn all 180 on us. Regarding the article you linked, nowhere does it state, specifically, that the games are linked to the actual hardware, just this:

            “What follows naturally from this is that each disc would have to be tied to a unique Xbox Live account, else you could take a single disc and pass it between everyone you know and copy the game over and over. Since this is clearly not going to happen, each disc must then only install for a single owner.

            Microsoft did say that if a disc was used with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc, which would then mean that the new account would also own the game and could play it without the disc.”

            Which does’t sound at all like its locked on hardware, but rather, linked to my Live ID.

  • Michael

    wow, a saving of between more than R220 and R440? I would take those activation codes any day to save that much on a game! Although until I win a console it will be PC Steam sales FTW 🙂

  • Anon A Mouse

    Wow racist tag is lacist…

  • HisDivineOrder

    Don’t worry. The Chinese will let MS test the waters of consoles, then begin banning different parts of their strategy as they build up to the launch of the Chinese government-funded company’s gaming console gets closer.

    By the time of its launch, China will have banned foreign consoles again, paving the way for the Chinese console “built specifically for the Chinese audience.”

  • Kelvin Roy Leek

    it $600 dollars when you convert local currency to American dollars try doing the same with say British pounds and its about $700 you cant just convert local currency to dollars and say it expensive it don’t work like that

  • I am fine with this. China is the only region locked system due to the strict government guidelines, so it makes sense that they would have a unique roll-out. Maybe they will get the benefits that we didn’t get with it also? You know… game sharing across your friends/family list.

  • DrKiller

    Only M$

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