China, according to PC World, is a potential video game market with its more than 338 million online gamers. It is becoming a new target for video game companies, namely Microsoft and just recently Sony, ever since it lifted its fourteen-year console ban. China had implemented the ban on video game consoles in 2000, according to BBC. China blamed the console market for its adverse effect on the mental health of its youth.
China's first game console will be the Microsoft Xbox One, reports The Verge. Microsoft was the first to confirm in April, that it will be releasing its Microsoft Xbox One console in China in September 2014. Microsoft will be selling their consoles through a partnership with BesTV to comply with China's rule, that all video game consoles must be produced in a designated trade free zone in Shanghai.
China's Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co Ltd, its tourism and culture firm, will also partner with Sony, according to New Strait Times. Sony will set up two joint ventures with the company; one will hold a 49 per cent stake in one venture and a 70 per cent stake on the other, so it can market Playstation consoles and related software in China. This venture complies with Shanghai's Free Trade Zone rule detailed by China for all video game console manufacturers. The rule states that one joint venture will handle the hardware aspect of manufacturing, while the other will focus on the software. Sony plans to sell their highly successful Playstation 4 (PS4) game console to China, including the portable video game system the Sony PS Vita.
China's game market will be a big challenge for Sony to penetrate, and sell its Playstation 4 (PS4) console and PS Vita handheld. Sony would have to factor in the price of its game systems in relation to the spending power of the local consumer market. According to New Strait Times, Chinese consumers are unlikely to spend on high prices of foreign consoles. Another concern would be the content of the video games. China states that authorities must regulate all video game content for censorship on violent, obscene and politically sensitive content, before the game gets released into the market. Lastly, Sony has to consider localising existing games and creating new local content to appeal to the Chinese market.
Sony has yet to confirm a target date on its Playstation 4 (PS4) and PS Vita release in China.