Five reasons not to buy the Xbox One in China


The Xbox One is coming to China in September. But China’s gaming populace seems to be cooling on the device after it became clear it would be pretty thoroughly region-locked. Now, major Chinese gaming site Sina Games has posted an editorial titled “Five big reasons to refuse to buy the Xbox One”. The full article is lengthy, so I’m not going to translate the whole thing, but here’s a much shorter summary of Sina’s argument:

1. It’s too expensive

The Xbox One’s RMB 3699 ($600) price in China doesn’t, as it turns out, include the Kinect. And at that price point, it’s by far the most expensive Xbox One in the world. In fact, Xbox One consoles that do include the Kinect in other regions still cost less than the Kinect-less Xbox One in China, according to Sina’s price chart. Granted, the Chinese Xbox One games themselves will be a bit cheaper, but…

2. It’s totally region-locked

The games are region-locked so they can’t be played elsewhere. The system is region-locked so that it can’t play games from elsewhere. Microsoft’s Live services are region-locked so that users can’t get access to content on Live that hasn’t been officially approved in China.

(See: Chinese language options are coming to the Xbox One globally)

3. Games will be extremely delayed…

Because games released for the Chinese Xbox will need to get Ministry of Culture approval prior to release, they’ll almost never come out at the same time in China as elsewhere. And since the official Xbox One will also be region-locked, that means that global gamers (and Chinese gamers who bought gray-market imported consoles) will be playing all the latest and hottest games while Chinese gamers who have the official Xbox One have to wait around for the government to give the game the final OK. As the PC market has shown us, this can take months, or sometimes even years.

4. …and they’ll also be censored

The word that Sina Games uses, actually, is “castrated”. Although Microsoft name-checked a number of exciting games at its ChinaJoy press conference, it admitted in the Q&A session that some of those games haven’t yet met with the Ministry of Culture’s approval. And since they can’t be released in China until they do, that means there’s a good chance Chinese gamers will be getting censored versions of those games, just like they get censored versions of PC games like Diablo 3. And that’s no fun.

5. A customized system

From the beginning, promotional materials have suggested that Chinese gamers can get in on the Xbox One fun that other gamers around the world are having, but that isn’t truly the case. Again, because of China’s government regulations, the Xbox One’s OS and the apps it comes with and interacts with will be quite different in China. In some ways that’s a good thing—a Netflix app isn’t as useful to a Chinese gamer as an app that can play videos from a domestic streaming site. But at the same time, as Sina points out, Chinese gamers aren’t really getting the Xbox One experience. And that hurts given that they’re paying so much for the console to begin with.

What do you think? Personally, I’m inclined to agree with the Sina editors, but then again I’m a PC guy these days anyway…


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