China, the land where game consoles are currently still in a quasi-banned state, the console wars pretty much haven't started yet. Gray market imports of both PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones are slowly trickling in, but it seems that, after all, the scales might tip in Microsoft's favour.
According to an article published by one of China's largest tech sites Sohu IT, Luo Jiangchun, CEO of online video service Funshion, revealed that the Xbox One will be available in China in 2014 during a marketing and advertising strategy meeting last week . Luo stressed that for 2014, Funshion will work on the Chinese version of the Xbox One. He also said that the company will also be ready to take on more video games-related advertisers.
So, what gives Luo the authority to say such a thing? Well, Luo's company, an online on-demand video service much like Hulu and NetFlix, is majority owned by Chinese IPTV provider BesTV. Yes, that's the same BesTV that Microsoft launched a joint-venture with this past September.
Microsoft and BesTV have sunk a total of $79 million into the joint venture, which is based in the Shanghai Free Economic Zone. It's still unknown what fruit the partnership will bear, but in the same report by Sohu, there were rumors that Microsoft and BesTV were working on bringing over a watered-down version of the last-gen Xbox 360 to China. This China-fied 360 would have stronger online video capabilities and features while toning down the gaming aspects of the system.
China's had a semi-quasi ban on video game consoles since the year 2000. The ban was supposedly lifted earlier this year; however, we (mostly me) are skeptical the ban will be lifted completely as text within the government document detailing video games and video games culture in the Shanghai Free Economic Zone say that games will still be subject to the approval of relevant ministries before going on sale in China.
Kotaku has reached out to Microsoft for clarification on the subject and will update the post should new information come to light.
Update: A spokesperson with Microsoft responded with the following, "On Nov. 22, we launched Xbox One in 13 markets worldwide and our focus is on launching in more markets next year. Other than that, we have no further comment."
微软Xbox明年9月入华 强化视频服 [Sohu IT]
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian Internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @FatAsianTechie@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie.