The weird pricing and policies of the Xbox One in China

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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.

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

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