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The Microsoft Xbox One has finally launched in China, following a 14-year ban that prevented consumers from legally purchasing gaming consoles in the country. The Xbox One is now available in 37 different Chinese cities and in 4,000 retail locations, with continued rollout expected in the coming months.
The console was originally expected to launch in China on September 23, but a short delay pushed the console's release a few days. The Chinese government enacted a game console ban in 2000, just one year before the launch of the original Xbox in 2001.
"I think the Xbox One launch in Chia is a milestone event," said Brian Blau, Gartner market research analyst. "It represents the opening of a new type of market for the Chinese consumer, and if others followed suit this could be the start of a new gaming revolution in China."
Well, it looks like Microsoft isn't having the success it wanted to in Japan with the recent launch of its Xbox One console. In its first four days on sale, there were 25,674 consoles sold.
Comparing this to the number of Xbox 360 consoles sold when it launched in 2005, which sold over 60,000 consoles in just two days. On its second week on sale, there were just 3,015 Xbox One consoles sold in Japan. Comparing this to the homegrown Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, the PS3 sold twice as many, while eight times as many PS4s were sold.
Ubisoft plans to bring its instructional guitar game Rocksmith 2014 to the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4, with the title available starting on November 4. Using each console's video capture and streaming, gamers can play along with chords displayed on the screen, and includes 1080p graphics support. The game reportedly can help someone learn how to play a guitar in 60 days, using a Real Tone USB Cable that gives guitar owners the ability to connect to their console.
The virtual guitar assistance program was already available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC - but a refresh to make use of hardware strength of newer consoles was expected. Any DLC songs downloaded for the Xbox 360 and PS3 can be carried over to the next-generation console counterpart, according to Ubisoft.
Over the weekend we reported, as many others did, that Microsoft had delayed the launch of its Xbox One console in China, but the company has just announced that this is wrong. Microsoft has said that it is launching the Xbox One in China on September 29, just six days from now.
General Manager of Xbox China, Enwei Xie, said in an official release: "After receiving government approval for the first wave of games, we will launch with the first 10 games now and continue our work to bring more blockbuster games and a broad offering of entertainment and app experiences to the platform in the weeks and months to come. With extraordinary effort and seamless cooperation across parties, we are incredibly excited to deliver Xbox One to fans in China and we welcome them to the Xbox family".
Which ten games will be on offer for the Chinese launch of the Xbox One? We will see Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Powerstar Golf, Zoo Tycoon, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Dance Central Spotlight, Neverwinter Online, Rayman Legends Trials Fusion, and Naughty Kitties from Chinese developer Coconut Island released on September 29. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said: "This milestone is significant for both our partnership with China and our global expansion plan. Every new market launch is unique and we're grateful to our fans for their patience and enthusiasm throughout the process".
The Sony PlayStation TV set-top box will launch in the United States on October 14 with a $99.99 price tag. Dubbed the PS Vita TV internationally, users can also pay $140 for a bundle that includes a DualShock 3 controller, 8GB memory card, and a copy of The Lego Movie Videogame with their purchase.
Expect the PS TV lineup to "continue to expand" moving forward, with Minecraft and other popular game titles being added into the catalog. A special Wal-Mart exclusive PS TV bundle will cost $140 and include a DualShock 3 controller, 8GB memory card, along with a copy of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
Both Sony and Microsoft are not only fighting for game console supremacy, but want to try to dominate living room entertainment. For the time being, Sony's PlayStation 4 game console has dominated the Xbox One, but there could be a fierce fight for complementary products like the PS TV.
Just days before it was supposed to launch in China, Microsoft will delay releasing the Xbox One game console for Chinese consumers until later this year. The launch was originally expected for Tuesday, September 23 local time. Microsoft will host an Xbox One launch event at the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai sometime before the end of 2014.
Regardless of how it sells, this is a major milestone for Microsoft - the Xbox One will be the first game console to launch in China in the past 15 years - as the Chinese government continues to embrace western technologies. Companies are excited about the possibility of reaching millions of the consumers embracing consoles and other technologies for the first time.
Microsoft hopes a big launch in China will help give the company a much-needed sales boost, as the company continues to struggle against the Sony PlayStation 4. Not surprisingly, the Xbox One flopped heavily after launching in Japan, with domestic companies Sony and Nintendo setting the pace.
A Microsoft Xbox One geek turned his Xbox One console into a portable chassis complete with a 22-inch screen that can be placed in a backpack. Designed by hardware modder Ed Zarick, he used Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printers to create a new custom chassis, while leaving the hardware alone.
Trying to turn the Xbox One into a gaming laptop will be an expensive project: $1,400 without the Kinect or $1,500 with a Kinect. Interested modders will also have to pay more for an HDMI-out port. The Xbox laptop is a 500GB Xbox One that uses a 22-inch Vizio 1080p screen, vinyl casing, front slot-loading disc drive and cable connects left on the back of the unit.
The Sony PlayStation 4 has surpassed one million units sold in the United Kingdom, thanks to a sales surge because of the recent release of Destiny. It took less than 10 months to reach the 1 million unit mark, a faster tally than the PlayStation 2 or 3 in England.
"It's a fortuitous coincidence that the launch of Destiny will bring us over the million mark," said Fergal Gara, Sony Computer Entertainment UK managing director. "If you reflect back to last year, we announced PS4 and Destiny at the same time."
Even though global PS4 sales slowed in August, the console was still able to top the Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U. Each company is preparing for the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, with Microsoft expected to do everything possible to generate sales to better compete against Sony.
Microsoft has historically had a difficult time trying to sell its game consoles in Japan, where Sony's PlayStation platform has dominated. Not surprisingly, the Xbox One - which trails global sales behind the PlayStation 4 - and has fallen flat during Microsoft's first few days in Japan. Just 23,562 Xbox One units were sold in the first four days, with the Xbox and Xbox 360 both selling better during their launch weekends.
The PS4 sold 308,000 units as the Nintendo Wii U sold 322,000 during the first few days they were available in Japan. Microsoft launched the Xbox One in Japan on September 6 and included a game catalog of 29 different titles, hoping it would be enough to get Japanese consumers interested.
Microsoft hopes a lower price tag and console bundles will help increase sales - as all three companies prepare for what could become an extremely busy Christmas holiday shopping season this year.
If you have purchased a Microsoft Xbox One game console and think it is louder than it should be, Microsoft is willing to send out replacements. It's unknown how many customers have complained, but it reportedly is a "small number" of systems - with a growing number of Xbox fans complaining about it, especially after launching in new regions.
"We have heard that a small number of Xbox One owners in some situations may hear a noise from the console that is too loud,", a Microsoft spokesperson recently confirmed. "While this does not affect the safety or functionality of the system, we're asking customers who believe they are experience this issue to contact Xbox Support. At the request of our customers, we are exchanging those consoles for new systems."
The louder Xbox One doesn't help entice consumers to purchase the console, which has steadily trailed the Sony PlayStation 4. Both devices were released last November, and are preparing for what could be a very competitive Christmas holiday shopping season. In September, Microsoft launched the Xbox in Chile, Colombia, Japan and sixteen other countries - with scheduled launches in Israel, China and Russia scheduled for later this month.