SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp will launch its Xbox One gaming console in China on September 23, making it the first foreign company to start selling consoles in the world’s third-biggest gaming market after a ban on the devices was lifted this year.
Yusuf Mehdi, head of marketing and strategy for Microsoft’s Xbox group, announced the launch date at an event in Shanghai. The console will cost 3,699 yuan ($600) without the Kinect motion detection system and 4,299 yuan ($700) with Kinect.
In the United States, the Xbox One with Kinect costs $499 and without it is $399, a difference of more than $200 compared with the respective prices in China.
In September last year, Microsoft reached a deal with Chinese internet TV set-top box maker BesTV New Media Co Ltd to form a joint venture to manufacture the consoles in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone.
Zhang Dazhong, a senior vice president at Shanghai Media Group, the parent of BesTV New Media, said at the event the Xbox launch had been approved by the government.
Microsoft is forging ahead with the launch despite Tuesday’s government announcement that the U.S. software giant is the subject of an anti-monopoly investigation.
China is the world’s third-biggest gaming market, where revenues grew by more than a third from 2012 to nearly $14 billion last year, but piracy and the dominance of PC and mobile gaming may leave little room for legitimate console and game sales.
This year, the government lifted a 2000 ban on gaming consoles.
In May, Sony Corp said it would set up a joint-venture with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to bring the PlayStation games console to China.
($1 = 6.1712 Chinese Yuan)
Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Mark Potter