So, the Xbox One's going to launch in China. Big whoop right? From Microsoft's press briefings, the system will launch in China with a fair amount of Western games, such as NBA 2K14 and Titanfall. But apart from these, the Windows company has got its hands on a few China exclusives as well!
Slated for release on September 23, the Xbox One will be China's first major gaming console since the PS2 was pulled in 2003. As the first foreign machine, there are hopes that it'll do well. Microsoft probably wants it to do well. I want it to do well. Some gamers polled at China Joy want it to do well. In the spirit of trying to cater to its potential Chinese customers, Microsoft has enlisted Chinese gaming giants such as Perfect World and Snail Games to help.
Perfect World, best known for its various MMORPGs, has signed a multi-year deal to release games onto the Xbox One; it's even one of the launch partners. The first of Perfect World's games to reach the Xbox One is an MMO called Neverwinter.
Snail Games, best known in the west for its Jet Li game Age of Wushu, is bringing that to the Xbox One. It will also release a MOBA game similar to League of Legends called King of Wushu!
Chinese internet giant Tencent's offerings for the Xbox were rather weak. Tencent will be porting over itss online "Landlord" and "Mahjong" games, as well as QQ music.
On top of the new games from Chinese studios, the classic Chinese online game Swords of Legends will be remade for Xbox One. This classic game is also now being made into a TV show. No clue if that'll be a Xbox One China media exclusive.
The Epic-backed Chinese gaming studio YingPei also offered up two games in conjunction with a Chinese publisher.
One is an MMORPG and the other is a futuristic multiplayer online shooter. In the footage shown of the shooter, gamers fight against giant laser-shooting robots that look like Metal Gear Rex.
On top of these games, Microsoft, in conjunction with their China joint-venture partner BesTV, will set up two development "research" centres in Beijing and Shanghai.
The Xbox One has snagged a few China indies as well. The Kickstarter-funded C-Wars will hit Xbox One China as an exclusive (only in China cause it'll be on other platforms). The folks over at Coconut Island will launch Naughty Kitties in China as an Xbox One exclusive too.
And finally, something that's not related to games: Xbox Fitness in China will launch with Tai Chi exercises! These Tai Chi exercises will be China exclusive for a short period of time before they'll be released around the whole world.
Microsoft seems to be focusing on locking down Chinese-made content for the Xbox One in China with its partnerships with domestic game makers and indie developers. So far there are no clues if any of these "exclusive" games will ever be released out west. A Microsoft spokesperson clarified to Kotaku that the availability of the games depends on the publishers themselves. She also said that Neverwinter is a timed exclusive for Xbox in China with an exclusivity time of six months after launch. Neverwinter will see a Western release some time in the future. Microsoft says it will announce more details in regards to Xbox Live and Chinese online games as Sept 23 draws nearer.
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Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @FatAsianTechie@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie