Xbox One may see buy­ing rush in China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By JACK FREIFELDER in New York jack­freifelder@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

Mi­crosoft Corp’s sell­ing of its Xbox One flag­ship gam­ing con­sole in China later this year may see a rush of buy­ers, ac­cord­ing to an an­a­lyst.

“I ex­pect there will be a lot of in­ter­est,’’ said Ed Maguire, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Soft­ware Re­search team at bro­ker­age and in­vest­ment group Credit Ly­on­nais Se­cu­ri­ties Asia.

“What I would say about Xbox now is that they’re ad­dress­ing a mar­ket that has evolved around a lack of con­soles. It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult, but there’s a unique ex­pe­ri­ence that they bring to the ta­ble,” Maguire said Thurs­day in an in­ter­view with China Daily.

Due to govern­ment of­fi­cials’ con­cern over un­sa­vory con­tent, a mora­to­rium was placed on video game con­soles back in 2000, and Mi­crosoft, Nin­tendo Co and Sony Com­puter En­ter­tain­ment Inc — three of the world’s largest video game con­sole mak­ers — have since been left on the out­side look­ing in at China’s lu­cra­tive video game in­dus­try. China lifted the ban in Jan­uary,

Maguire said that Mi­crosoft has been “shut out of the Chi­nese mar­ket has been a chal­lenge for [the com­pany’s] broader busi­ness as­pi­ra­tions in China.”

“Over time, the chal­lenge for Mi­crosoft is go­ing to cen­ter on de­liv­ery of the con­tent and of­fer­ing a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to some of the on­line and mo­bile games that are at­tract­ing a lot of at­ten­tion from users,” he said.

Mi­crosoft an­nounced its con­sole roll­out for China at a joint press con­fer­ence with the BesTV New Me­dia Co in Shang­hai on Tues­day.

Maguire said part­ner­ing with for­eign com­pa­nies is an “ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity” for Mi­crosoft. He also said that pick­ing up mar­ket share in a coun­try where gam­ing con­soles have been vir­tu­ally nonex­is­tent is not go­ing to be easy.

“Gam­ing is based in a lot of habit and be­hav­ior, so there’s al­ways a learn­ing curve when you learn a new sys­tem,” Maguire said. “It’s go­ing to take time, but that said Mi­crosoft is a com­pany that has lots of pa­tience. They will not be dis­cour­aged if the uptick in the first year or two falls short of ex­pec­ta­tions, but they’ll be will­ing to stick with it.”

“Mi­crosoft wants to ad­vance their plat­form strat­egy, so this is part of a longer-term strat­egy to pro­lif­er­ate the plat­form and be able to sup­port it with the ser­vices,” he said. “The key for Mi­crosoft to be­come dif­fer­en­ti­ated is to en­cour­age a lo­cal in­dus­try of de­vel­op­ers who are cre­at­ing games on the Xbox plat­form.”

Mi­crosoft has not yet re­leased price points or sales es­ti­mates for the Xbox One in China.

Mi­crosoft, a world­wide leader in com­puter ser­vices, also man­u­fac­tures and sells a wide va­ri­ety of con­sumer elec­tron­ics and per­sonal com­put­ers. BesTV, a sub­sidiary of the Shang­hai Me­dia Group, op­er­ates its main busi­ness in In­ter­net-based tele­vi­sion ser­vices.

En­wei Xie, gen­eral man­ager of Xbox China, said in China “the op­por­tu­ni­ties are end­less” for Mi­crosoft’s Xbox One.

Yusuf Me­hdi, Mi­crosoft’s cor­po­rate vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and strat­egy for the De­vices and Stu­dios Group — which is re­spon­si­ble for most of the com­pany’s hard­ware prod­ucts, in­clud­ing the Xbox — said BesTV “is the ideal part­ner” to bring the Xbox to China.

China’s de­ci­sion in Jan­uary to lift its mora­to­rium on video game con­soles was ac­com­pa­nied with a re­quire­ment that gam­ing con­sole units sold do­mes­ti­cally need to be built in the Shang­hai pi­lot free trade zone (FTZ) that was launched in Septem­ber 2013.

A joint ven­ture be­tween Mi­crosoft and BesTV be­came the first com­pany reg­is­tered in the FTZ.

The video game in­dus­try in China, the ma­jor­ity of which is con­cen­trated on com­put­er­based gam­ing, gen­er­ated rev­enues of $13 bil­lion dol­lars last year, a 38 per­cent jump year-over-year, ac­cord­ing to the BBC News.

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