China's first home grown console hit China late last month. But the console was incredibly hard to find. This wasn't because it was flying off shelves. It was because nobody had heard of it.
Originally known as the Ebox and the iSec, the now named CT510 from Eedoo felt very much like vaporware. In China, home consoles are banned, and the Kinect-like CT510 isn't classified as a home console, but an exercise machine.
It was coming out, but no stores seemed to carry it. Worse yet, no stores even had heard of it. It wasn't just me. Website Tech in Asia tried looking for it and couldn't find one.
Released during the May Labor Day holiday, there didn't seem to be a big launch for the CT510. There didn't seem to be much of anything.
Apparently, only one store in all of China carries the CT510—the Eedoo flagship store in the New Yansha Shopping Mall way in the outskirts of the west fourth ring road (that's like all the way out in Riverdale in NYC terms).
Before setting off for the flagship store, I figured I would try some domestic electronic stores such as Suning, GOME and Dazhong. There were a few near my offices, so I ventured out to each of them. When I arrived at Suning, I asked the greeter where their games section was.
I was led to the back of the store where they were showcasing TV's. I asked the bored young man in a blue vest if they sold the CT510 and I was given a blank stare.
"The what?" he said. (啥?)
"The CT150, you know the Ebox," I replied. ("就是那个国产的游戏机那个Ebox, CT150").
"Don't know, we don't have it," he replied. ("不知道，我们这里没有" )
His answers pretty much summed up my visit to the other two stores.
Moving on I decided to try my luck at the gray market. I came across a shop keeper selling PS Vitas, he was playing Kinect on the Xbox in the back of his shop when I approached. I ask him if he knew anyone selling the system, and he replied:
"Who would sell that? I didn't even know it came out," he said with an air of confusion.
Disheartened, tired, and out 120RMB (19 USD) for cab fare I returned to the office where a colleague of mine informed me that there as an "Experience" center for the Ebox.
Jotting down the details, I went out to the New Yansha Shopping Center this morning, and I finally found a CT150. Days after the console launched, this was apparently the only place in the country you could get China's first console. And when I arrived, it was just me and three bored employees.
Be sure to read Kotaku's impressions of the CT150.