OCT. 6, 2014 • Including local preorders the Xbox One China sales reached 100,000 units in the first 24 hours after it launched in China on September 29. The disclosure was made by Shanghai Oriental Pearl Co., Ltd. director Zhang Dazhong in an interview with the Xinmin Evening News. The console’s original September 23 release date was pushed back due to delays in getting titles finalized for release. Zhang said two of the 10 launch titles were developed by Chinese studios but there were others that were still being debugged. Oriental Pearl is the state-owned parent of the Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group, which is partnering with both Microsoft Corp. and Sony Computer Entertainment to bring their latest consoles to the Chinese market via the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
Impact: Considering that no one really knew how many Chinese consumers would actually purchase an Xbox One, moving 100,000 in one day is an encouraging figure. There were even customers lining up at retailers to buy an Xbox One. The tally certainly dwarfs the system’s Japan introduction where units sold during its first week in release were a quarter less than those sold in China. The major concern in China is what games will pass government censors. The Xbox brand has a reputation for edgy and sometimes violent content in most of the world. That’s why it is somewhat amusing to see three of the 10 launch titles in China included Powerstar Golf, Zoo Tycoon and Naughty Kitties. That last game from the Coconut Island studio in Shanghai is a port of an iOS game. Not on the launch list were Call of Duty, Destiny, or Titanfall. Unless there is a domestic historical context, game violence tends to get flagged swiftly by government regulators in China. We have no doubt that games such as Titanfall will eventually make it as official releases in the country but the question is how long will it take and what compromises will have to be made in the process? That makes the Xbox One unattractive compared to grey-market purchases where none of these restrictions on content exist. That’s why Zhang’s comment on multiple Chinese developers working on Xbox One titles is critical. If western consoles are going to gain a foothold in China, compelling local content is the best shot at success.