360 Launch In China? Maybe Not.

In October of last year, Microsoft announced that it was planning on marketing its Xbox 360 in China. The strategy was to start the manufacturing of the 360 in selected locations in Southern China, after the initial launch of the Xbox 360 in North America and Europe. In reference to software sales, Tim Chen, Chief Executive of Greater China operations for Microsoft said at that time, "Sales-wise, we’re improving. We had over 30 percent growth in our last fiscal year. This year [2005], hopefully, we can maintain similar growth." The Big M was hoping software sales would translate into 360 hardware sales. Microsoft was apparently counting its 360 sales before they hatched, as they now seem to be backtracking on their original plans of a China 360 launch. Alan Bowman, general manager for entertainment devices in Asia Pacific and China said, "It’s a very controlled environment. We’re going to make sure that we make the right moves, develop the right content, have the right partnerships in place. It’s not something you want to rush in and do." With China™s recent moves to ban teenagers from playing MMORPGs in internet cafes, setting policy to protect its citizens from harmful video game content, and requiring registration of individuals with the government to get accounts for online game activity, Microsoft is probably a little doubtful that games, such as its Halo franchise, will ever pass muster with officials in Beijing. Another fact may be just plain dollars and cents. The average income of a resident in China ranges from 1000-2500 USD a year. Let™s do a little math (I still hate math). If a prospective customer in China is thinking about buying a 360, the basic core console system will cost $299. Add a couple of games, a memory card, another controller for your gaming comrade, plus an accessory and we have a grand total approaching $600. To put this in perspective, this would be the equivalent of a U.S. citizen buying the 360 package for about $21,000-$50,000. Such a deal. Gimme two of those. Now that™s what we call an expensive next-gen game console. Please, lets all be civil about this. Please take a number and wait in line to buy your $50K Xbox 360. What? No takers? Unbelievable. It appears that someone in Microsoft forgot to crunch the numbers before they uttered the words launch date in China.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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