The first mainstream video game console to launch in China in over 13 years has just been delayed. The Xbox One won't be sold in China starting tomorrow—instead, it'll be released sometime before the end of 2014.
In a statement put out on Microsoft China's official Sina Blog on Saturday, Microsoft China says that the launch of the Xbox One in the middle kingdom would be pushed back to sometime before the end of the year.
The following are translated excerpts from the official Microsoft Sina Blog.
The Xbox team are eagerly awaiting the official release of the Xbox One in China. Presently, Microsoft and all of our partners are working hard to bring the next generation of gaming and entertainment into everyone's living rooms and start this new page in history...
目前各项进展稳步推进，但为了确保中国玩家能够尽享Xbox One最佳的精彩游戏与娱乐体验，我们可能还需一些时间做最终准备。对于Xbox带来的一流游戏与娱乐体验，我们相当自豪，也正因如此，我们决定调整Xbox One国行版的推出时间，以更好地践行对玩家的承诺。我们正在与百视通共同努力，期待在年底前发售国行版的Xbox One。
Right now, everything is advancing steadily, but to ensure that Chinese gamers can enjoy Xbox One's advanced gaming and entertainment experience, we might need a bit more time to put in the finishing touches. Because Xbox brings together a top notch gaming and entertainment experience, we are very proud, and because of that we will adjust the release date of the Xbox One in China so that we may better fulfill our promise to Chinese gamers. We are currently working hard with BesTV, and expect to have a release of the Chinese Xbox One before the end of the year.
The Xbox One was originally slated to be released in China tomorrow on September 23. Now its release date is TBA.
The rest of the Xbox statement talks about numbers and statistics. Microsoft is working with 25 different sales partners within China, with about 4000 physical outlets. The system will launch with about 70 different games.
Microsoft has yet to release a list of what titles will be available for the Xbox One in China on release.
Interestingly enough, the statement still mentions the planned Xbox One launch party that takes place tonight. Previously, Microsoft had announced a party in Shanghai to celebrate the release of the Xbox One in China. The party is supposed to continue as a show of support for Chinese gamers interested in the Xbox. An Xbox spokesperson told Kotaku that due to inclement weather, the party might be rescheduled to a later date.
There is currently a yellow-level weather alert in Shanghai. Typhoon Fung-wong, which has already resulted in deaths in Taiwan and the Philippines, is expected to hit landfall in Shanghai tonight.
The statement also makes mention of Xbox One preorders in China. Supposedly, Microsoft is pleased with the number of pre-sales that have already taken place in China. Interested gamers can still purchase the Xbox One online. When they purchase or pre-order the system, they will be greeted with a screen that says the system will ship before the end of 2014.
This sudden change to Microsoft's plans comes at a time when things are "weird" in China. Microsoft had planned to launch the console on the day after the one year anniversary of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. The head of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone was removed from his position early last week. Microsoft has also been in trouble with Chinese anti-monopoly regulators, their offices in Beijing were raided last month.
All of that said, despite the delay, at least China will one day get a system. On top of that, Microsoft's own Sina Weibo blog posted that gamers who have already preordered the Xbox One will receive two free games when the system does release. So there's that too.
Kotaku has also reached out to Sony on its plans for the PS4 in China in relation to the Xbox One delay. Sony did not provide a comment.
Xbox One 国行版发售最新进展 [Microsoft Official Sina Blog]
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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