China finally gets official PlayStations, minus some games

March 20, 2015
A man plays with a Sony PlayStation 4 in a shop in Shanghai, March 19, 2015

Japanese electronics giant Sony on Friday launched its PlayStation gaming console in China, where authorities impose strict controls on content, but some popular titles including "Grand Theft Auto" and "Call of Duty" were not available.

China last year authorised the domestic sale of through its first free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, ending a 2000 ban that authorities argued was aimed at protecting the country's youth.

The start of Sony's PlayStation 4 consoles, originally planned for January, makes it the second foreign company into the Chinese market after rival Microsoft, which launched its Xbox One in September.

Gaming consoles brought into mainland China through unofficial channels were already widely available online and at the country's many electronics markets.

At a Sony store in downtown Shanghai, around 50 people waited in line to enter by small groups and buy consoles, games and the hand-held PlayStation Vita.

"It's quite exciting that we can have this in China now," said Gu Chunhua, an engineer.

Sony is selling PlayStation 4 in China for 2,899 yuan ($471) and PlayStation Vita for 1,299 yuan ($211), said a store clerk.

But some customers showed disappointment over the small selection of games on offer initially.

"It is quite embarrassing that there are only a few titles available because of government censorship," Gu said.

Games must pass inspection by China's cultural authorities, according to FTZ rules, in line with government restrictions on content it deems to be obscene, violent or politically sensitive.

Only four PlayStation 4 titles were available at Sony's flagship Shanghai store on Friday: fantasy adventure "Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends", motorcycle racing game "Trials Fusion" and youth-oriented "Knack" and "Rayman Legends".

Analysts said a broader selection of games is the key to longer-term success in China's multi-billion-dollar market.

"Just having the console is only the first step, access to high-quality games remains the biggest driver for console sales," said Jack Chuang, associate partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants Greater China.

"For the average gamer, access to major titles with Chinese subtitles or dubbed in Mandarin will be vital," he said in a statement to media.

Explore further: Sony to launch PlayStation in China after delay

Related Stories

Sony to launch PlayStation in China after delay

March 11, 2015

Japanese electronics giant Sony will launch its PlayStation gaming console in China next week, it said after a more than two-month delay in officially selling its products to Chinese consumers.

Microsoft to launch Xbox One in China in days

September 23, 2014

US technology giant Microsoft will launch its Xbox One in China on September 29, becoming the first game console to enter the market in 14 years, it said Tuesday, in an apparent reversal of a delay announced just three days ...

Microsoft delays launch of Xbox in China

September 22, 2014

Microsoft, which was due to launch the Xbox One in China on Tuesday, has said it will put back the "historic" event to later this year, slowing what was billed as the first game console to enter the market after a 14-year ...

Recommended for you

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.