Microsoft launched official sales of the Xbox One in China last fall, initially setting a September 23rd launch date, then delaying it a bit while the government restrictions were worked out. The company initially planned to sell some 5 million units in China, but sales so far have been slow, according to a report based on BesTV’s 2014 fiscal report.
While it isn’t clear exactly how many units have been sold, sales at launch, including pre-orders, only reached 100,000 units. The subsidiary to BesTV responsible for Xbox One sales reported losses of 17.24 million yuan (about $2.75 million US) for 2014, and e-commerce sales appear to be slow, with retailer TMall shipping less than 200 Xbox One units in the past month.
China, of course, remains an interesting market, and although the “gray market” for technology is substantial, traditionally console gaming has been a tiny part of technology sales, official or not. Coupled with the fact that China’s government has restricted the number and types of games available, and that games are region locked (meaning only official local copies of the games will work), the slow start isn’t that surprising, although Microsoft has had high hopes for the market, expecting to sell as many as 50 million Xbox One units over the next five years.
Things may change somewhat if and when the likes of Halo become available for Chinese console gamers. Microsoft Xbox China’s CEO Xie Enwei recently announced that “great effort” is being made to bring Halo: The Master Chief Collection to China, but without blockbuster games, most of which are deemed too violent for Chinese government approval, the future of console gaming in China remains clouded..Further reading: China, Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox One