While China has a brisk PC gaming business, the country has officially banned video game consoles for many years. Now that the country has lifted that ban, however, Microsoft is planning to step in. The company will begin selling the Xbox One in China this September, which could make it the first mainstream game console to go on sale in the country since the year 2000 — excepting a brief stint by Sony's PlayStation 2. Microsoft will sell the Xbox One console in partnership with the Chinese company BesTV, in order to comply with China's requirement that game consoles be produced in a designated free trade zone in the city of Shanghai. September is also when Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox One in Japan and 25 other countries.
The company was planning to announce the move at an event tomorrow, according to Bloomberg reporter Dina Bass, but a Recode scoop appears to have spoiled the surprise. VentureBeat even contributed an unlisted YouTube video of the announcement. According to Bass, the company doesn't plan to announce any games or content for the Chinese launch tomorrow, but the video suggests there will be a variety of content at some point. There, Microsoft exec Yusef Mehdi says the system will offer "an amazing array of experiences for gamers in China," including games, entertainment, fitness, and education software.
Though China has technically had video game consoles like the Eedoo CT510 and the Huawei Tron, they don't fit the typical image of the closed, curated gaming-centric TV ecosystems sponsored by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.