Business / Technology

Microsoft's Xbox gets hit by Monday blues

By GAO YUAN/SHI JING (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-23 07:36

Microsoft's Xbox gets hit by Monday blues

A gamer plays Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on an Xbox One console during a trade show in Cologne, Germany. WOLFGANG RATTAY/REUTERS

Launch postponed indefinitely as company says it needs more time to iron out glitches

Monday was not a great day for Microsoft Corp's Xbox One game console in the Chinese mainland.

The launch, set for that day, was postponed without a new one being set. And a meeting with prospective users had to be called off as a typhoon struck Shanghai.

In an announcement on Saturday, Microsoft said that it might need "some more time" to make last-minute preparations to provide the best gaming and entertainment experience for Chinese users.

The United States-based software company said that the Chinese version of the Xbox One, which is being co-launched with Shanghai-based BesTV Network Technology Development Co Ltd, will hit the market "by the end of this year".

Microsoft's Xbox gets hit by Monday blues 
Microsoft delays launch of its Xbox One in China
Microsoft's Xbox gets hit by Monday blues 
Xbox One to provide a perfect world for China's 400m game players
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate vice-president for devices and studios, said that it is working with 25 game developers in China and overseas to provide more than 70 games for users in China. Microsoft is also working with more than 4,000 distribution centers in 37 Chinese cities to ensure that the initial offerings of the game consoles can meet demand.

So far, pre-orders have exceeded Microsoft's expectations, Mehdi said.

Xie Enwei, general manger of Xbox China, said that it will provide gifts with the consoles to the consumers who made pre-orders once the Xbox One is officially released.

However, Gu Haoyi, an analyst at consultancy Analysys International, said that the launch delay will hurt Xbox's China sales and requests for refunds are set to increase.

"Some rumors say that the Ministry of Culture is considering a video game rating mechanism, meaning all games have to go through a classification process before entering the Chinese market," he said.

He added that such a system would be good news for the Chinese gaming industry in the long run.

"The console is not likely to be launched before the end of this year if the government is involved. Months will be spent to draw up new regulations for the industry," said Gu.

China Daily was unable to confirm possible government involvement as of Monday evening.

"There are no signs of a last-minute strategy shift by Microsoft for the Xbox unit. The available clues point to a sudden government policy change," said Gu. The delay will help Sony Corp's PlayStation to catch up with the pace of the Xbox, he said.

Sony announced in late May that it would set up two joint ventures in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone with A-share listed Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group) Co Ltd, for the production, sale, research and development of Sony's best-selling PlayStation consoles. But no date for the console's release in China has been announced.

The Shanghai Customs District cleared the first shipment of Xbox One devices on Aug 29, with the total value amounting to $2.3 million.

Since Sony released its PS4 devices in November, about 10 million have been sold globally. According to statistics released by Microsoft in April this year, global shipments of Xbox One consoles stood at about 5 million.

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